John Esposito, Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, sent me a list of questions he would like to ask me when he interviewed me in New York at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on March 14. Dr. Esposito has had to go Kuwait for an urgent meeting (see details of the event and the new moderator below), but I decided I should take the opportunity to answer some of his questions here.
Are all angels created at the beginning of time, or are they still being born or created?
Angels are creatures created by God.
People will frequently refer to a loved one who is dead such as a grandmother as their guardian angel, but the truth is their grandmother is more than any angel: Each and every human being has a soul, but no angel has a soul. This is why you and all humans are more than any angel. One of the reasons angels love being around us is because we have a soul.
All angels were created at the beginning of time and were created in abundance. No angels have been created since then.
How was the relationship between God, angelic beings and humans designed? Why is everyone assigned an angel or multiple angels, are they the lifeline to God?
I see a guardian angel with everyone, regardless of their religion, or whether they believe in angels. I see angels physically, as I see a person standing in front of me, and I have done so every day since I was a baby.
Everyone has only one guardian angel and this angel is with them from before their birth until after they die. This angel never ever leaves them, not even for one moment. I will often see other angels with someone in addition to their guardian angel. These angels come and go and it is their guardian angel who allows them to be there.
The guardian angel is a gift from God and is the gatekeeper of your soul. Your guardian angel is there to help to guide you through life, to help to make you aware that you are more than a physical body that you have a soul and that God is real. One of its most important tasks is to bring your soul home safely to Heaven when you die.
Your guardian angel is a lifeline between you and God. If God didn't give us a guardian angel we would find it much more difficult to connect with Him. Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that we need to go through angels to reach God -- far from it. I have never in my life prayed to an angel; I pray to God, but I know the angels enhance my prayer.
You say that angels can bring religions together, how? What is our role in making this happen, in helping angels stop or prevent evil? Why do angels need us to speak to them, don't they already know from seeing us in trouble that we need their help?
Guardian angels are something we all share in common, regardless of our religion. I am a Catholic, born into an Ireland that at that time was largely Catholic. The first time I got any inkling of the different beliefs people have of God was when I was about 6 and was walking past a Protestant church near my home. I was looking at two big powerful angels who were standing on guard outside the church when my aunt told me I was never to go in there -- that that was a Protestant church and no place for any Catholic. I was very confused by her comment.
In the years following, the angels explained to me that different religions have different beliefs, different traditions and different ways of praying. They always emphasized, however, that it was one and the same God that while religions are different one is not superior to another, and that one day all religions would come together under one umbrella.
I see angels in every place of prayer regardless of religion. No one ever prays alone, I see angels at prayer with everyone, even if one is simply saying a short prayer while waiting for the bus.
The angels have told me that when people of different religions come together to pray with an open heart and mind, not wishing to convert or defend, but simply to praise God and talk about him, then the power of their prayer is magnified.
Many people have fears of other religions. There is so much ignorance that leads to distrust and prejudice. The more people of different religions pray together the more we will break down these barriers. Through praying together the angels tell me we will learn to live in peace together and in doing so will create the cornerstone of a new, more peaceful world.
God has given us all free will and no angel can overstep this. This is why no angel can stop a person from doing evil. This does not mean that they are without power; angels are very powerful, but we need to play our part. When someone is listening to the other side (yes, have no doubt evil does exist, we only have to look at our world to see proof of this) his or her guardian angel is working hard trying to get them to listen. Very often, though, we don't listen, and it is often easier to do wrong than right. I assure you your guardian angel never, ever tells you to do anything wrong, or hurtful, or dishonest, so if you are doing this you are not listening to your guardian angel.
The angels will also work through other people to avert the affects of evil, to change the course of events.
Your guardian angel is constantly in communication with you. However, you have to listen to it; when you acknowledge that you have a guardian angel and ask it for help, you empower it.
Lorna Byrne will do a public interview in New York at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on March 14. The event is organized by The New York Open Center and will be moderated by Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush Senior Religion Editor for the Huffington Post. Details of the event here