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The Angels & the Apostles Peter & Paul

Hugh O’Reilly

In view of today's chaotic times in which we increasingly need help from Heaven, I thought it good to remind TIA readers about the action of the Angels.

I am selecting some texts from a book by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan about the Angels in which he presents in his own language two narratives of the Acts of the Apostles. He focuses on how the Angels came to help the Apostles Peter and Paul in answer to fervent prayer. Thus, from the earliest days of the Church, we have record of the action of the Angels coming to the aid of men in times of dire need.

We should follow those two glorious examples and pray for the help of the Angels in the needs that are becoming more and more frequent, caused by the increasing aggression of civil governments against Catholic doctrine and those who are still fully loyal to our Holy Faith.
After King Herod Agrippa put the Apostle St. James to death, he saw that this pleased the Jews. Therefore, he had St. Peter arrested likewise. Casting him into a loathsome dungeon, he set four companies of soldiers to guard him, intending to take his life after the feast of the Pasch. In the meantime, the faithful of the early Church offered up unceasing prayers for his deliverance.

St Peter in chains

St. Peter in Chains in Rome, also known as Basilica Eudoxiana,  displays the chain that bound St. Peter

Their prayers were heard. One night the Apostle's prison was suddenly filled with a bright light, and an Angel appeared to him. Peter, who was fastened with chains, was sleeping surrounded by soldiers. The Angel, touching his side, awoke him and bade him arise. The chains that bound his hand fell off.

"Gird thyself and put on thy sandals and follow me," said the Angel. Peter followed and issued from the prison. After passing the first and second guardhouses, they came to the iron gate that opened to the city. It flew open of its own accord and the two went out. The Angel disappeared as soon as they reached the top of the street.

Realizing that his escape was complete, Peter exclaimed, "I see now that the Lord has sent His Angel, who has delivered me out of Herod's hands." He went immediately to the house where his brethren were assembled in prayer for his delivery.

An Angel appears to St. Paul

On St. Paul’s third missionary journey to Jerusalem, he was accused by the Jews, who were his declared enemies after his conversion. He was arrested and imprisoned in Caesarea for two years. There, he appealed to Caesar by his right as a Roman citizen.

Malta Shipwreck Church

The Church of St. Paul's Shipwreck in Malta commemorates St. Paul's stay there

He, along with many other prisoners and several merchants, were put on board a vessel bound for Rome, where he would stand trial for his alleged crimes. All were under the charge of Julius, a centurion who paid marked respect to the Apostle. The passengers numbered 276 in all.

During the voyage a dreadful storm arose, and for several days neither the sun nor the stars were visible. All seemed lost, so that the cargo was thrown into the sea in the hope of lessening the danger. But in vain. It seemed certain that all would perish, and the Apostle prayed fervently for deliverance.

In answer to his prayers, a glorious Angel appeared to him and assured him of his safety and that of his fellow passengers. Thereupon, St. Paul addressed all on board with these words: "Be of good courage. None of ye shall perish, for the Angel of the Lord whom I serve has appeared to me this night."

The ship was wrecked on the island of Melita (Malta) in what is now called St. Paul's Bay but everybody escaped safe to land. On the island St. Paul worked many miracles and healed many persons during their three-month stay.

malta feast day st paul's shipwreck

February 10 is a holiday in Malta, celebrating
the Feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck to their island

(Adapted from All About the Angels by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan,
TAN books reprint, 1999, pp. 74-75)
 Posted May 30, 2015


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