In the Company of Angels
The grande dame of angel authors talks about how to get to know your guardian angel.
BY: Interview by Wendy Schuman
This interview originally appeared on Beliefnet in 2002.
Few writers today know angels better than Joan Wester Anderson, whose "Where Angels Walk" was one of the earliest and most successful angel books of the 1990s. A practicing Catholic, Anderson's books about angels and miracles were inspired by apersonal experience of angelic intervention
that occurred in her own life. Her latest book,Guardian Angels: True Stories of Answered Prayers
is available September 2006. Here, Anderson gives candid answers to our questions.
What in your view are angels? What is their essence? Do you have a kind of working definition?
It's almost more important to state what angels are not--they are not the spirits of people who have died. So often we hear someone say, "My baby died, and now she's our little angel in heaven." It's an understandable sentiment, but not accurate. Angels are a separate creation, perhaps the first God ever made. All faiths that accept the existence of angels--and that's all Western religions and many of the Eastern--see them in the same way: spirit beings without bodies, but able to take on a human form--or any form--if God requires it to carry out His plan. Human beings will become like angels after death, spirits according to most religions, but they will be saints, not angels.
Are angels really necessary as intercessors--why can't we communicate directly with God?
We should, can and most of the time do communicate with God directly. To my knowledge, angels are not necessary for anything. But God's creation is abundant, and asking “Why angels?” would be like asking why there are thousands of varieties of trees or stars, when we could get along with so much less. God Himself told us many times that He was sending angels to love and care for us, so He is the one who brought them into our lives. Therefore, even if we don't understand their entire purpose, I vote that we pay attention to them.
Can anyone who wants to have an angelic experience or encounter?
There are people who profess being able to bring on an angel experience for themselves or others. I am willing to keep an open mind on this, but I believe that angels are God's servants, not ours, and they do not show up or perform miraculous deeds on our timetables. Since God doesn't change, and the angels we meet in Scripture do not spend hours or days interacting with humans, I have to assume that angels haven’t changed either, and do the same things they did way back when.