Guardian Angels

The doctrine that every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church, and so it isn’t an article of faith; but it is present in both the Old and the New Testaments. Today’s feast reminds us that God cares for us individually, and that each of us has an angel of our very own looking after us. Let us also pray to God for our own Guardian Angel. What a bore and a burden to them some of us are. May we one day be a cause of rejoicing for them also.

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People who are rich and famous often have a retinue of people to watch over them.  But if we had the spiritual vision to penetrate beyond outward appearances, we’d be able to see that it’s not only the wealthy who have helpers.  As Saint Basil said: “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life.”

It may sound naive to think that we can count on a guardian angel whose special assignment is to help and protect us.  But it’s a reality that Christians came to understand very early on as they reflected on Our Lord’s teaching about the “little ones” whose “angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father” (Matthew 18:10).

Theologians tell us that angels are pure spirits; immortal beings who have intelligence and will, but no body.  And maybe it’s not all bad that we can’t see him:  When angels do appear to people in the Scriptures, they usually inspire fear (see Daniel 3:92; Luke 1:11; Mark 16:5).

The angels’ dazzling glory comes from being so close to God.  They are his servants and messengers, and everything they do is in accord with God’s will.  This means that you won’t get this helper to do something that goes against God’s plan for your life.

On the other hand, your guardian angel is utterly committed to serving your highest good, so it makes sense to ask him for help.  Guardian angels intercede for us, guide us, and protect us against physical and spiritual dangers.  As wholehearted worshipers of God, praising him and beholding his face even as they look after us, they can help us raise our hearts to God no matter how well or poorly our day is going.

Powerful, glorious, totally committed to God: how awesome that at God’s command, these heavenly guardians are always at our side.  As Saint Thomas Aquinas marvelled: “The angels work together for the benefit of us all.”

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