Most people do not know that I actually lost a sister. My sister Kimberly died when she was not quite 3 months old. I was 2 1/2 years old at the time. Although my parents took the loss hard (as would be expected), there is one thing they never did. My parents never told me that Kimberly became an angel.
I know to believe that a loved one who has died has become an angel comforts many people, but it drives me nuts! Humans and angels are two totally different beings. One can not become the other. (That is one reason I never saw the movie “City of Angels”). Angels are pure spirits. Humans, on the other hand, are composite beings. We have both a body and a soul.
If helps, though, humans do have a close relationship with the angels in heaven. It is generally believed that there are nine choirs of angels. Each choir of angels has a different function, and decreasing levels of intelligence and power.
The highest choir of angels is the Seraphim. Their function is to stand constantly in the presence of God and worship Him. This doesn’t mean the Seraphim never fulfill other functions. Worshiping before God’s throne is their main function, however. These are the most powerful and most intelligent of the angels.
The lowest choir is known simply as Angels. Their primary function is to deliver messages from God to men, and serve as guardian angels.
It is believed by some (present writer included) that when we die – assuming we go to Heaven – we will join an angelic choir. The holier we were in life, the higher choir of angel we enter. Is there any proof for this?
In John 14:2 Jesus says His Father’s house has many mansions (rooms). We do not know if Heaven is an actual place as we tend to think of such a concept, or a state of being. In either case, it would seem that Heaven is experienced somewhat differently by different people. The holier you are in life, the happier you are in Heaven.
It isn’t that anyone is unhappy in Heaven. Everyone is completely happy in Heaven. It is simply that the holier you were in life, the greater your capacity for happiness in Heaven. It makes sense. There are different choirs of angels. Why not different “choirs” of people?
I do not normally site apparitions as proof of a belief. Yet I understand the grueling process that such cases undergo before they receive Church approval, or are denied by the Church. One such example is the case of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi.
St. Mary’s son preceded her in death. Sometime later he appeared to her and revealed that he had been released from Purgatory, and was now in Heaven. He then revealed to his mother that he was placed in a choir above that of mere angels. His holiness of life allowed this honor. Thus he was more intelligent and powerful than some angels.
As I said, humans are humans. We are composite beings. Angels are pure spirit. We are different creatures, but we share a heavenly relationship. Both angels and men are meant to serve God. We are each individuals with different talents, likes, dislikes, and points of emphasis. Yet, we all work for the same goal. Angels are not indifferent to the plight of men. It stands to reason that we would share in the angels’ gifts in Heaven, and cooperate with them in trying to save every soul we can.
Peace in Christ,
David J. Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity