Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Guardian Angels

Today is the memorial of the Guardian Angels. Since the 17th century, the Church has celebrated a feast honoring them in October throughout the Universal Church.

Angels are servants or messengers from God. The word angel "spelled “angelus” in Latin and “aggelos” in Greek, means “one going” or “one sent” in Hebrew. It refers to the messenger. Angels are spiritual creatures commissioned by God to perform certain duties. God has charged his guardian angels with the duty of looking after us and protecting each one of us. The role of the guardian angel is both to guide us to good thoughts, works and words, and to preserve us from evil.

The truth that each and every human soul has a guardian angel who protects us from spiritual and physical evil has also been shown throughout the Old Testament, and is made very clear in the New Testament.

It is written that the Lord Jesus is strengthened by an angel in the Garden of Gethsemane and that an angel delivered St. Peter from prison in the Acts of the Apostles.

But Jesus makes the existence and function of guardian angels explicit when he says, "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10).

In saying this, Jesus points out that all people, even little children, have a guardian angel and that the angels are in Heaven, always looking at the face of God throughout their mission on earth, which is to guide us and protect us throughout our pilgrimage to the house of our Father. As St. Paul says, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

However, they guide us to Heaven only if we desire it. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that angels cannot act directly upon our will or intellect, although they can do so on our senses and imaginations – thus encouraging us to make the right decisions. In Heaven our guardian angels, though no longer needing to guide us to salvation, will continue to enlighten us.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” (CCC # 336).

Do you speak to your guardian angel? I pray daily to my guardian angel and often ask for protection and help. I even ask my guardian angel to interact with another person's angel in certain situations. St. Gemma Galgani, a mystic, notes in her autobiography that she had actual conversations with her guardian angel. She stated that her guardian angel had served as her teacher and guide, and had even stopped her from speaking up at inappropriate moments.

God granted St. Pio of Pietrelcina  the vision not only of his own guardian angel but those of others. Many times it was through the  guardian angel of a person that their need was brought to St. Pio of Pietrelcina's attention, who then prayed for that person.

My Favorite Quotes on the Guardian Angels:

"The servants of Christ are protected by invisible, rather than visible, beings. But if these guard you, they do so because they have been summoned by your prayer. "
~St. Ambrose.

“Let us affectionately love His angels as counselors and defenders appointed by the Father and placed over us. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; Let us only follow them, let us remain close to them, and in the protection of the God of heaven let us abide.”
~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"God's universal providence works through secondary causes . . . The world of pure spirits stretches between the Divine Nature and the world of human beings; because Divine Wisdom has ordained that the higher should look after the lower, Angels execute the Divine plan for human salvation: they are our Guardians, who free us when hindered and help to bring us home."
~St. Thomas Aquinas

“Beside each believer stands an angel protector and shepherd leading him to life."
~St. Basil

"So valuable to heaven is the dignity of the human soul that every member of the human race has a guardian angel from the moment the person begins to be."
~ St. Jerome

"Everyone of us is entrusted to the care of an angel. That is why we must have a lively and profound devotion to our own Guardian Angel, and why we should often and trustfully repeat the dear prayer we were taught in the days of our childhood. May we never fail in this devotion to the angels! During our earthly pilgrimage we may often run the risk of having to face the natural elements in turmoil, or the wrath of men who may seek to do us harm. But our Guardian Angel is always present. Let us never forget him and always remember to pray to him."
~ Pope John Paul II

Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard,to rule and guide. Amen.

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