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51. Angels and Bodies

1. Angels have no bodies. An intellectual nature (that is, a substantial essence equipped for understanding and willing) does not require a body. In man, because the body is substantially united with the spiritual soul, intellectual activities(understanding and willing) presuppose the body and its senses. But an intellect in itself, or as such, requires nothing bodily for its activity. The angels are pure spirits without a body, and their intellectual operations of understanding and willing depend in no way at all upon material substance.

2. That the angels sometimes assume bodies is known from Holy Scripture. Angels appeared in bodily form to Abraham and his household; the angel Raphael came in the guise of a young man to be the companion of the younger Tobias.

3. In bodies thus assumed, angels do not actually exercise the functions of true bodily life. When an angel in human form walks and talks, he exercises angelic power and uses the bodily organs as instruments. But he does not make the body live, or make it his own body.

"The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"It is well to choose some one good devotion, and to stick to it, and never to abandon it."
St Philip Neri

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