Angels are heavenly creatures; they are spirits without earthly bodies. There are three levels of angels; in descending order, they are:
1. seraphim, cherubim, and thrones
2. dominations, virtues, powers
3. principalities, archangels, and angels
A reference to seraphim can be found in Isaiah 6:2: “Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” Cherubim are referenced in Genesis 3:24: “He drove out the man; and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Thrones are mentioned in Psalm 9:4: “For thou hast maintained my just cause; thou hast sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.” Archangels are mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet.” The other choirs of angels do not have biblical references; rather, they are mentioned in apocryphal sources or from the Talmud (scriptural commentaries from Jewish rabbis and scholars).
Each angel’s name means something. Michael’s name means “Who is like God.” Raphael’s name means “God has healed.” Gabriel’s name means “the power of God.” Three named Archangels appear in the Sacred Scriptures. Saint Michael is referenced in Daniel 10:13: “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”
We hear about Saint Gabriel in Luke 1:19: “And the angel answered him, ‘I am Gabriel who stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you good news.'” Saint Raphael emerges in Tobit 12:15: “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.” (Tobit is one of the seven deuterocanonical books in the Catholic Bible.)
The primary ministry of angels is to give greater honor and glory to God their Creator. The lower choirs also serve in a second ministry.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent states in Section IV paragraph 9, “By God’s providence angels have been entrusted with the office of guarding the human race and of accompanying every human being in order to preserve him from any serious dangers…our heavenly Father has placed over each of us an angel under whose protection and vigilance we may be enabled to escape the snares secretly prepared by our enemy, repel the dreadful attacks he makes on us, and under his guiding hand keep to the right road, and thus be secure against all false steps which the wiles of the evil one might cause us to make in order to draw us aside from the path that leads to heaven.”