They didn’t sing?
Pope Benedict XVI startled the world a few years ago with his claims that angels never sang at Jesus’ birth. His perceived anti-angel-caroling revelation, along with other claims of false nativity customs, quickly earned him the nickname “killjoy.” He was really just trying to say that the angels spoke, rather than sang.
Recently, this past October, Pope Francis spoke candidly about angels. In his daily mass homily at the Vatican, Francis’ pro-angels message was perceived to be in stark contrast to his predecessor’s beliefs. I don’t know if that’s really fair; you can decide for yourself:
“The doctrine of angels is not fantasist. No, it’s reality… According to church tradition we all have an angel with us, who protects us and helps us understand things… How often have we heard, ‘I should do this, I should not do this, that’s not right, be careful…’ So often! It is the voice of our traveling companion. [Ask yourself] How is my relationship with my guardian angel? Do I listen to him? Do I say good morning to him? Do I ask him to watch over me when I sleep? No one journeys alone and no one should think that they are alone.”
Currently, belief in guardian angels is widespread and traditionally accepted, but it wasn’t always the case. Christianity was hundreds of years old before the initial idea surfaced. Recently, I addressed the origins of this popular belief in my latest book. The following is an excerpt from BEYOND THE RABBIT EARS:
The idea of “guardian angels” didn’t come about until the fourth-century. It was first popularized among European monks concerned about the morality of their new recruits. The brothers stressed, as a sign of moral success, worthy persons would receive their very own angel. This new guardian would teach and protect the monk, and assist him as he labored to meet the demands of monastic life. Martin Luther once wrote, when he was a monk his daily rations consisted of one pale of beer, one jug of wine, and a loaf of bread. It seems to me, this would have been enough to assist anyone with life’s daily demands—no angel assistance necessary.
As the belief in guardian angels grew in popularity and spread beyond the monastery walls, local parishioners began to complain that they wanted their own guardian angels too. The bishops, desiring to keep their congregations happy, assured congregants that everyone is born with their own guardian angel—no special monastic ascetics required. This didn’t go over very well with the monks who had given up every luxury, not to mention sex, for the sake of obtaining their own angelic life coach. They pushed back against the bishop’s new revelations with new revelations of their own. They claimed that even though you may have your own guardian angel, this doesn’t mean you automatically reap the benefits. For this, you must communicate with them! And of course, only the monks knew how to do just that. From their mystical teachings, various angel communication techniques have evolved through the centuries to include the following: angel cards, angel numbers, special prayers, medallions, herbs, candles, figurines and more. Hey, nowadays you can even get a daily email from your guardian angel!
Outside of Europe, some Egyptian bishops were addressing the drama by suggesting that the…
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