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23 Principles on Angels: Summary of a Class Presentation

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

MATERIAL FROM EARLY DICTATION

1. You need not bow down to angels or to any created thing. You were created above the angels, since they were created to protect you.

Before your loveliness the stars stand transfixed and bow to the power of your will….You were created above the angels because your role involves creation as well as protection. You who are in the image of the Father need bow only to Him. (From Helen’s original notes)

2. You need not be afraid of demon possession. “No one can be ‘taken over’ unless he wills to be.” Possession really means being taken over by your own earthbound thoughts.

3. Fallen angels are the symbol for humanity, for they are still angels, still holy. Atonement is the knowledge that angels—and humans—cannot really fall.

Possession really means “Not under Christ-Control”, thus making him (the mind?) vulnerable to projection. The reference to the earth-bound entering bodies really refer to the “taking over” by their own earth-bound “thoughts”. This IS Demon Possession. After all, Lucifer fell, but he was still an angel. He is thus the symbol for man. [?] Atonement is the knowledge that the belief that angels can fall is false. It is true that mind can create projections as well as miracles, but it’s NOT true that projections are REAL.

(Tell B. when he is afraid of Possession, he need only remember that error cannot really threaten Truth, which ALWAYS can withstand its assaults. Only the error is really vulnerable.) The “Princes of this World” are princes only because they are really angels. But they are free to establish their kingdom where they see fit. If you will remember that ALL princes INHERIT their power from the Father, the right choice becomes inevitable. (Urtext)

4. When we separated, the angels came to help as an early expression of the Atonement, “but their projection was not enough, because the Separated ones were not interested in peace.” This is why the defense of the Atonement had to be introduced.

Many Souls offered their efforts on behalf of the Separated Ones but they could not withstand the strength of the attack, and had to be brought back.

Angels came, too, but their protection was not enough, because the Separated ones were not interested in peace….

They cannot believe that a defense which CANNOT attack also IS the best defense. Except for this misperception, the angels COULD have helped them. (Urtext)

FROM THE COURSE

5. Angels play the role of nursemaid to the infant Christ in you.

The infancy of salvation is carefully guarded by love, preserved from every thought that would attack it, and quietly made ready to fulfill the mighty task for which it was given you. Your newborn purpose is nursed by angels, cherished by the Holy Spirit and protected by God Himself. It needs not your protection; it is yours. (T 19.IV(C).9:3 5)

This newborn purpose, analogous to the Christ child, has various forms of divine protection and sustenance. It is guarded, preserved, and protected. It is readied for its task and nursed. It is cherished. In other words, all the functions of parenting are carried out by the Divine in various forms. Its parent is not us, but the Divine (angels, God, Holy Spirit, love).

6. “Angels hover lovingly” to protect the light of love in you once it has entered in.

Around you angels hover lovingly, to keep away all darkened thoughts of sin, and keep the light where it has entered in. (T 26.IX.7:1)

These angels are guardians of the birth of love in us. They are protecting this birth, making sure no darkened thoughts can endanger it. They are hovering, implying wings, and “around” us, an image which shows up elsewhere.

7. Angels light your way as you travel deep in your mind to the real world.

Put out your hand, and see how easily the door swings open with your one intent to go beyond it. Angels light the way, so that all darkness vanishes, and you are standing in a light so bright and clear that you can understand all things you see. (W pI.131.13:1 2)

This door is the door in your mind, beyond which is the real world. It is the passageway to the real world. Angels light the way into the real world, suggesting that they, in a sense, usher us into it, welcome us into it, make plain our way into it.

8. Angels love you, God’s Son, as the light of Heaven.

This do the body’s eyes behold in one whom Heaven cherishes, the angels love and God created perfect. (W pI.161.9:1)

I see in this passage a sense of the angels loving the Son of God, adoring him in the way that angels traditionally adore God. If you take all three phrases together—Heaven cherishes, the angels love, God created perfect—you get the sense of the Son of God as the wonder of Heaven, the perfect handiwork of God, who is adored by all who live in Heaven.

9. While you meditate on God, angels surround you, sing to you, and spread their wings to protect you from wandering thoughts.

Say His Name, and you invite the angels to surround the ground on which you stand, and sing to you as they spread out their wings to keep you safe, and shelter you from every worldly thought that would intrude upon your holiness. (W pI.183.2:2)

Just like in “For They Have Come,” the following elements are present:

• You have had some spiritual event occur inside you
• in response, the angels come to you
• the angels are surrounding you
• they have wings
• they are protecting you from the thoughts that would compromise what has happened in you, the light that has turned on inside you

Here, however, they are also singing to you, and specifically spreading out their wings to keep you safe. What a lovely image.

10. Angels come to watch the birth of Christ in you, drawn by the magnificence and holiness of the event.

Watch with me, angels, watch with me today. Let all God’s holy Thoughts surround me, and be still with me while Heaven’s Son is born. Let earthly sounds be quiet, and the sights to which I am accustomed disappear. Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home. (W-pII.303.1:1-4)

Here again the angels are attending a birth in you, the birth of the Christ in you. Again they are surrounding you. Here, though, rather than protecting you, they are divine witnesses to a holy event. The sense you get is that the event is of such significance to Heaven (the birth of Heaven’s Son) that Heaven’s angels are naturally drawn to it to witness this great event. This reminds me of what I said about the angels reference in Lesson 161, that their love for us sounded like their love for us as the wonder of Heaven, the perfect handiwork of God.

This opens up to me a major theme: In the Course, angels are there to love, protect, serve, and adore God’s Son. All of the passages contain that theme.

11. Angels guard the treasure house in your mind, to make sure that the gifts stored there (gifts of love between you and others) are not lost but only added to.

My treasure house is full, and angels watch its open doors that not one gift is lost, and only more are added. (W pII.316.1:4)

Angels here are servants of my abundance. They stand watch over my treasure house, to make sure that none of my treasures are lost (this does not mean stolen—just lost) and only more are brought in. They watch over this treasure house until I am ready to move into it.

12. “Angels hover near and all about,” ensuring that you are never alone on your journey to God.

You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless. (W E.6:6 8)

Again the angels are hovering all around us. This is the second time they have been said to “hover.” Here’s how my dictionary defines “hover”: 1a: to hang fluttering in the air or on the wing b: to remain suspended over a place or object. To hover over or around us means that an angel is intentionally keeping itself stationary in the air above us. This to me suggests great caring. If you had wings, to constantly hover above a particular person would imply that that person held the greatest significance for you.

Getting back to this passage, the angels (which, interestingly, are always plural in the Course—we never have a mention of an angel in the sense of only one) are companions/helpers who (along with God and Jesus) make sure that we are never left on our own, alone and helpless.

13. If you truly open your mind to what forgiveness really is, Christ will send His angels down to answer you.

Rest a while in this; do not attempt to judge forgiveness, nor to set it in an earthly frame. Let it arise to Christ, Who welcomes it as gift to Him. He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name. (S 2.III.7:3 5)

If we let forgiveness arise to Christ—if, rather than trying to fit it into our framework, we let it be a lofty concept from outside our framework—then Christ will accept it as a gift and send His angels down as His emissaries to answer us. Here, again, the presence of angels is linked to Christ (or Jesus) not leaving us comfortless, but offering us continuing companionship, solace and aid.

Here it is clear, as it should already be from traditional concepts of angels, that they are not acting on their own, but as emissaries of God or Christ. In this case, they are agents of His response to an act on our part, an act which constitutes an invitation.

SPECIAL MESSAGES

14. If you pray to see your brother with vision rather than judgment, all God’s angels will respond.

Your brother will not learn it from your words or from the judgments you have laid on him. You need not even speak a word to him. You cannot ask, “What shall I say to him?” and hear God’s answer. Rather ask instead, “Help me to see this brother through the eyes of truth and not of judgment,” and the help of God and all His angels will respond. (Special Message to Helen, October 5, 1975)

HELEN’S POEMS

15. The angels shower their gifts of love before you on the path, so that your brothers can follow you and receive those gifts, thereby increasing the angels’ gifts to you.

Heaven’s Messengers

Love is the angels’ gift, received from God.
They hover over you and lay their gifts
Gently before your feet, and shower them
Along your path whichever way you go,
Paving the road with silver, so your steps
Leave shining footprints, marking out the way
You go to God. Who follows on this path
The angels bless with gifts, along with you.
And everyone who stores their gifts as his,
Adds what he has received to what you gave
And what you have received. For angels’ gifts
Increase with giving. They return to God
Your treasure house, and then come back to you
With all His gratitude. For those who walk
With you become God’s angels here on earth,
And he to whom you pointed out the way,
Becomes the messenger from God to you.

16. You can rest secure and serene, “unmindful of the world,” knowing the angels are watching over you, “and fixed in their determination to maintain your mind at rest within the peace of God.”

Benediction

Angels are Thoughts that come from God to you.
Secure in their protection may you rest;
Quiet in certainty that comes from them,
At peace in mind and heart and holiness;
Unmindful of the world, and sure that they
Are with you, watching over you, and fixed
In their determination to maintain
Your mind at rest within the peace of God

17. The peace of God is “a silence and a certainty apart from time,” “surrounded by a thousand angels’ wings.” This peace is for you and everyone.

The Will of God

There is a silence and a certainty
Apart from time; a peace and quietness
Surrounded by a thousand angels’ wings,
And kept inviolate in God’s Own Hand.
It is for everyone.

18. There is a song that holds up the world and seeps into all twisted thoughts to set them straight. The angels sing this song with joy and offer it to you, “for it is yours.”

The Singing

There is a singing underneath the world
That holds it up, and enters in behind
All twisted thoughts, and comes to set them straight.
There is an ancient melody that still
Abides in every mind and sings of peace,
Eternity, and all the quiet things
That God created. Angels sing with joy,
and offer you their song, for it is yours.
You sing as ceaselessly.

19. Because you are “supported by angels,” you can fail in nothing.

The Mirror of Forgiveness

I cannot fail in anything. I am
Supported by angels, led by God
Unto Himself.

20. You have “passed by a thousand waiting angels,” rushing along vain detours. Yet you will certainly return, for whatever you do, the “angels and the holy hosts will wait.”

They Wait

I did not know Your Voice. And what I heard
I did not understand. There was a Word
In which was everything. Yet all I found
In its immensity was but the sound
Of meaningless contention. I passed by
A thousand waiting angels. And as I
Rushed along vain detours I did not see
The hosts of holiness surrounding me.
Yet I will certainly return. For You
Have promised that whatever I may do,
Angels and holy hosts will wait, the Word
Will hover over me till it is heard.

21. When your blind eyes finally begin to see, you will see the angel standing by the tomb “in shining hopefulness,” sending you on to your resurrected future.

Transformation

…Eyes that were blind begin to see, and ears
Long deaf to melody begin to hear.
Into the sudden stillness is reborn
The ancient singing of creation’s song,
Long silenced but remembered. By the tomb
The angel stands in shining hopefulness
To give salvation’s message: “Be you free,
And stay not here. Go on to Galilee.”

22. When something appears to be taken from you, “angels join their wings and close the space so rapidly it seems to be illusion; unoccurred, undone.”

Heaven’s Gift

No one can rob infinity. For when
Something is taken, angels join their wings
And close the space so rapidly it seems
to be illusion; unoccurred, undone….
Heaven can only give. This is the sign
That losing is impossible. It seemed
That it was gone. Yet angels quickly came
And promised they would bring it back to you.

23. When you give a year to God, the angels will preserve the months as a jeweled crown, your gift to God. It will wait in Heaven for your return, “polished carefully by angels’ wings, and kept immaculate against the time I [God] give it back to you.”

Anniversary

A year is short. Yet given unto Me
It lasts forever. Every minute is
Encased in silver; every hour in gold.
The months are splashed with stars, and they become
A diadem the angels will preserve
In shining brightness as your gift to Me.
It gains in glory every day it waits
For your returning. And the love in which
You gave it waits as well. My gratitude
Shines on its star points, polished carefully<
By angels’ wings, and kept immaculate
Against the time I give it back to you.