Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 15 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Nikolaus Gross
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

How fast can angels move?


Philippe Lissac | GoDong

Philip Kosloski - published on 09/16/19

Are they faster than a speeding bullet?

When we envision how angels act in this world, we often think of them how modern movies and TV shows depict them. We think they generally look like humans and while we walk down a sidewalk, they are right at our side walking with us. If we walk faster, our angel is obliged to walk faster with us.

However, the truth is much more mysterious than that.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that, “As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness” (CCC 330).

In other words, angels do not possess a physical, material, body. This means that they are not restricted by the movement of their bodies as we are. The concept of a pure spirit that is not bound by space (or time) is difficult for our minds to process.

St. Thomas Aquinas pondered the various attributes of angels in his Summa Theologiae and came to the conclusion that even though they are not bound by space, they can move locally from one place to another. However, the difference is that “an angel can be in one place in one instant, and in another place in the next instant, without any time intervening.”

Philosopher Peter Kreeft reflected on this passage of Aquinas and tried to relay a similar concept in his book Angels and Demons.

Because of their lack of bodies, angels do not occupy space like we do and move within our world without taking up space. The closest analogy to how angels move is like “electrons” or in “quantum leaps.” Angels “move instantaneously from one place to another without passing through any space or time in between.”

In a mysterious way angels are able to move simply by an act of the will. If they want to move to a certain place on earth, they are instantly there.

Angels are marvelous creatures of God’s design that we will never fully understand here on earth. It highlights the beauty and variety of God’s creation, while also giving us a foretaste of what Heaven might be like for us when we are no longer bound by the laws of this world.


Read more:
When were angels created by God?


Read more:
Worried about your children? Say this prayer to their guardian angels

AngelsSpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.