The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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A little inter-species controversy

Canisius | 06 January, 2006 03:09

Gueranger says in a prayer in Vol. 3, p. 136, "Thou hast loved Man above Angel, for thou has redeemed the one, whilst thou hast left the other in his fall."

It's true that God did not redeem any of the fallen angels, and it is even true that he has redeemed all fallen men. But some men do not choose to repent of their sins, and so do not profit from God's redemption; these men are irrevocably condemned if they die in their unrepentance. In terms of opportunity for salvation, the difference between men and angels is that men have the space of time during their lives to repent, whereas the angels were (as far as we know) given no such chance. Why this difference?

Although it is admittedly in a devotional context where speech may be used loosely, Gueranger seems to mean that God simply chose man over the angels as a species. This could not be because man is better or more loveable than the angels, but because of God's sovereign choice.

But another traditional solution is to say that there is a difference between men and angels such that angels are already what men become in a certain respect after death. That is to say, man is such that he can change his mind many times while alive; but angels do not have bodies or a space of bodily life, so they are already such that they cannot change their minds.

Short of a miracle, that is. I suppose that God could work a miracle on behalf of the angels to somehow make it possible for them to change their minds. For that matter, God could revive all sinners at the end of time for one final chance at repentance, if he wanted to. But apparently he has treated both species equally in his choice not to work such a miracle to make repentance possible.

I prefer the more traditional solution to the difficulty over Gueranger's suggestion that God gives men a chance to repent because he loves men more than angels. However, I would agree that God loves men more than angels in some way at least: after all, he gave the gift of the Incarnation to the human race. He became a man, not an angel, and so gave our species a dignity above every other.


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