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52. Angels and Place

1. A body is naturally in a place according to its dimensions, that is, according to its measurable bodily quantity. A body is said to be in a place circumscriptively. But an angel has no bodily quantity or dimensions. Hence an angel is not in a place in the same way as a body is in a place. Still, an angel can be in a place, not as contained by the place, but rather, in a way, as containing the place. We might make a comparison (very distant and very imperfect) between angelic presence and the bodily presence of daylight in a room. The daylight is not contained by the room; we cannot suddenly close and shutter the room and imprison the daylight. It is more accurate to say that the room is in daylight than that daylight is in the room.

2. To be in a place means different things according to what is placed. God is in a place because He is everywhere. A body is in a place by its quantity or dimensions. An angel is in a place in so far as it exercises its powers there and not elsewhere. God is present ubiquitously; a body is located circumscriptively; an angel is in a place definitively. An angel cannot be in several places at once, since, as we have seen, definitive presence means presence here and not elsewhere.

3. Nor can more than one angel be in the same place at once. This is not because of the size of the place, for an angel is spiritual and has no size; size is a matter of quantity, and quantity is a property of bodies. An angel is the complete cause of the effect exercised in its place, and there cannot be more than one complete cause of the same effect. Just as it is impossible for more than one soul to be in the same human body, so it is impossible for more than one angel to be in the same place.

"Lord, here burn, here cut, and dry up in me all that hinders me from going to You, that You may spare me in eternity."
St Louis Bertrand

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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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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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