Clarifying misconceptions of angels
This is fantastic and I will have to return to it to fully grok (if that is even possible) Thomas’ discussion of angels. Your essay helps make the topic approachable for laity.
A question I asked once was “how many angels are there” and approached it by thinking that there is an Angel for every purpose. And that if there were a finite number of Angels then there would be a finite number of people (because every person gets a guardian angel). So I reasoned that God must make a new angel for every new purpose--but God surely does not destroy angels when their purpose is exhausted. The guardian angels of our forefathers must be celebrating with them in the beatific vision; the Angel of Death from the passover in Exodus may have been a single purpose Angel. If there is an Angel for the United States it is probably very busy right now, but if there was a guardian angel for, say, Nizhny Novgorod, that country doesnt exist anymore so that angel must be in the beatific vision too.
In reflecting on this, someone told me that Thomas considered the angels to be numerous beyond human comprehension, which lines up with the abundance of new and old angels.
The fact that Angels are distinguished by their powers (or purpose) rather than by appearance is also interesting to me.
This turned into a ramble of a comment but I appreciate your work here and will have to return to it. God bless!