Do angels have emotions?

Are angels happy? Do they feel sadness or anger at the atrocities taking place in the world? Explanations of some great saints.

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Answering the question of the emotions of angels remains complex. Do angels feel happiness, sadness or anger? Can we speak of the love of angels towards God? Do they love each other? These questions caught the attention of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. However, to answer it, it was first necessary to define the nature of the angel. In the early days and until the 12th century (again in Saint Bernard) there was the idea that angels were creatures of a more spiritual nature than that of men, but who remained linked to a certain materiality.

Everything changes with Saint Thomas Aquinas. Nicknamed the angelic doctor, he will leave a theological thought as rich as it is luminous on the angels. The Dominican was the first to define the angel as a purely immaterial creature. According to him, the angel is a pure spirit who exercises a certain number of activities of a purely spiritual order, namely thought, knowledge and love.

spiritual emotions

Therefore, being spiritual creatures, angels do not have emotions comparable to those of humans. “As Saint Thomas Aquinas says, emotions pass through corporeality. But angels have no body. On the other hand, angels have spiritual emotions such as joy or love”, explains to Aleteia Don Paul Denizot,
rector of the Notre-Dame de Montligeon sanctuary.

The only concern of the angels is to see manifest the glory and the love of the Creator.

Illuminated by the light of God, by his intelligence, his mysteries and his graces, the angels are filled with an unlimited joy to see God glorified through oneself. In his work investigation of angels Anne Bernet specifies that their intelligence is therefore “perpetually fulfilled by the vision of God and their capacity for love “drinks with absolute Love. Thus, the only concern of the angels is to “see manifest the glory and the love of the Creator”, she writes.

But if the angels, these perfect worshipers of God, rejoice in the Good that is accomplished on earth, how could they not be saddened by the Evil that acts there? How can they be happy in the face of the atrocities taking place in the world? In his spiritual songSaint John of the Cross answers this question in an astonishing way:

“Angels understand better than anyone the effects of Evil, without feeling any pain and carry out works of mercy without experiencing distressing compassion. » (Spiritual song).

And to Saint Thomas Aquinas to conclude with this luminous vision on the emotions of angels:

“An angel can only be pained by what is contrary to his will, which is that of God. However, nothing happens that God does not allow in order to draw a higher good. He tolerates Evil to make it serve his plans and the happiness of his chosen ones. » (Summa Theologica I, 62)

Discover the most beautiful thoughts of the great saints on angels:


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Do angels have emotions?

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