2. The Visible and Invisible World
- The Symbol of Faith points to two different dimensions of the world created by God, the visible and the invisible. Saint Maximus the Confessor teaches about the union of everything visible and invisible in creation. Basing himself on the words of Saint Paul that everything was created by Christ and for Christ (see Col 1:16-17), Maximus under-stands the word everything to mean the earthly visible and the heavenly invisible, the human visible and the angelic invisible. Having become incarnate, Christ has inseparably united himself with creation in the “body and blood” of his human nature(See Maximus the Confessor, Questions to Thalassios, 35: PG 90, 104). All creation, visible and invis-ible, exists not by virtue of its own nature, but by virtue of the action of God’s Son.
- Angels, the heavenly incorporeal beings (spirits)(Prayerbook Прийдіте поклонімся[Come, Let Us Bow in Worship], Prayers for Every Day, Sunday: Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity (translated from Ukrainian) “have their being by the will of the Father, [they] are brought into being by the work of the Son, and are perfected by the presence of the Spirit”(Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, 16, 38: PG 32, 136). God, as the highest Intelligence, fashioned the angelic intellects. He made them partakers of his inexpressible glory and formed their incorruptible essence. The angels are beacons, who reflect the Light of God. Since they have received eternal life from the Origin of Life, and because they contemplate the eternal Glory and Wisdom, they are like mirrors filled with light(See Octoechos, Tone 1, Monday Matins Canon, Troparia for Canticles 7, 8).
- The existence of the invisible angelic realm attests to the wealth and diversity of the world created by God. Both the visible and invisible belong to one creation, which God looks upon as good. Human beings and angels, as persons, have the opportunity to build personal and spiritual relationships with God and with one another: “Today things above keep feast with things below, and things below commune with things above”(Trebnyk, Rite of the Great Blessing of Water for the Feast of Theophany, Second Prayer).
- The Anaphora of the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great mentions nine angelic orders. We read: “Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Authorities, Powers, and the many-eyed Cherubim praise you; around you stand the Seraphim.” The angelic orders are called “choirs” because of their communion with God and with one another. Unceasingly, the angels offer “praise to God” as they abide in the light of God’s glory.
- In Holy Scripture, angels manifest the presence of God in the world, announcing to human beings the will of God. Holy Scripture refers to some of them by name: Michael (see Rev 12:7; Jude 1:9), Raphael (see Tob 12:15), Gabriel (see Lk 1:19, 26). Angels assist human beings in their spiritual growth (see Heb 1:14). The Tradition of the Church teaches that God grants every human being a guardian angel: “You appointed angels as guardians”(Liturgicon, The Divine Liturgy of our Holy Father Basil the Great, Anaphora). The unity of the visible and invis-ible creation—human beings and angels—becomes manifest in the Divine Liturgy, where the earthly expresses the heavenly, and humans serve together with angels: “Let us who mystically represent the cher-ubim and sing the Thrice-holy Hymn to the life giving Trinity...” and “Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Sabbaoth, heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”(Liturgicon, The Divine Liturgy of our Holy Father John Chrysostom, Cherubic Hymn, Anaphora).
From Christ Our Pascha,
the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church