Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, October 2
May the Friendship We Foster with Our Guardian Angel Guide Each of Us into a More Intimate Relationship with the God Who Truly Loves Both You and Me Beyond All Manner of Human Description.
At the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus is explaining that each of us, even the lowliest among us, is precious in God’s sight, for He says, “I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Three days ago, if it was not Sunday, we would have celebrated the Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Today, we celebrate the Memorial of our Guardian Angels – Heavenly and ministering spirits given to us by God to help us in our journey through life.
I remember when I was younger, we were taught to always pray to our Guardian Angel for guidance and protection. As decades have passed, and as much of our culture has turned to materialistic and secular thinking, our devotion to these angelic emissaries seems to have lessened to some degree, if not outright being dismissed as fantasy by those who have embraced worldly thinking.
It is interesting to note that the words “angel” and “angels” are mentioned 170 times in the Bible. Scripture is filled with examples of how the angels serve as messengers and protectors. And to mention just a small sampling –
In the 91st Psalm, it states, “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go.” And in the Letter to the Hebrews, we read, “Are [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”
In the Acts of the Apostles, when Peter was chained in prison and kept under guard, an angel woke him in the middle of the night, released his chains, and brought him safely out of prison, past several guards and through locked gates. When Peter realized he wasn’t dreaming, he exclaimed: “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me…”
And in the Book of the Prophet Daniel, when Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions, an angel protected him from harm and brought him food for his physical health and well-being.
Even though we may have learned about our Guardian Angels when we were young, they are not just for children. Their role is to be God’s messenger and our representative before God, always watching over us in this life, assisting us in our prayers, and presenting our souls to God at the moment of death.
The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it.
Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel best support our belief in Guardian Angels, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
And maybe a small history lesson might serve each of us well. Knowledge of the existence of angels and their interaction with man dates all the way back to the days of Abraham, but our devotion to these angelic emissaries began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition.
Saint Jerome, in the 4th century, stated, “…how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his [or her] birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” And Saint Benedict, in the sixth century, gave this movement of devotion to our angels a jump-start within the Church. Even Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the Guardian Angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day, for he wrote, “…let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honor them as much as we can and should.”
Devotion to the angels, at its foundation, is an expression of faith in God’s enduring Love and providential care extended to each person, day in and day out – until life’s end.
Saint 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. And once we are prayerfully in Heaven, our Guardian Angels, though no longer needing to guide us to salvation, will continually enlighten us as to the unfathomable wonders of God.
And our Holy Father, Pope Francis I, in celebrating the Memorial Mass in 2015, said, “Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him. May we ask the Lord for the grace of this meekness, to listen to the voice of this companion, to this ambassador from God who accompanies us in His Name and may we be supported by his help.”
Prayer to our Guardian Angels is encouraged, and the habit of remembering their presence and support leads to our growing friendship with them. Over the passage of time in my own life, I have personally come to a much deeper awareness of my own angel who has even given me the grace, with God’s permission, to know him in a way which I have never known before.
And I am sure many of us are all familiar with this short prayer learned as a child, which comes to us from the 12th century –
“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.”
May this brief but beautiful prayer, along with the “Prayer for the Day” which is posted below, foster a deeper and more personal friendship with the Heavenly spirit whom God has given to both you and me.
And may this marvelous friendship guide each of us into a more intimate relationship with the God who truly loves each one of us beyond all manner of human description. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.’” (Matthew 18:10)
- “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go.” (Psalm 91:11)
- “Are [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)
- “Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, ‘Put on your belt and your sandals.’ He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Put on your cloak and follow me.’” (Acts 12:7-8)
- “Then Peter recovered his senses and said, ‘Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.” (Acts 12:11)
- “The angel of the Lord seized [Habakkuk] by the crown of his head and carried him by the hair; with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon above the den. ‘Daniel, Daniel,’ cried Habakkuk, ‘take the meal God has sent you.’ ‘You have remembered me, O God,’ said Daniel; ‘you have not forsaken those who love you.’” (Daniel 14:36-38)
- “My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me. For I have been found innocent before him.” (Daniel 6:23ab)
- “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2)
- “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Luke 2:13-14)
Prayer for the Day
“My beloved and dearest Guardian Angel,
I sincerely thank Almighty God for His gift to me
of your holy presence in my daily life,
as you walk with me each moment and
guide me along each step I take
as I travel through this vale of tears.
“Ever this day, please be at my side
to illumine the path along which I am called to travel,
and guard and protect me from all the assaults and deceptions
with which the enemy of my soul wishes to harm me.
“Through your guidance and prayers of intercession on my behalf,
may I always be a faithful child of God,
so that the appearance of my soul
may always be most pleasing to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“With deepest love and most heartfelt appreciation
for all that you do for me throughout my life,
I sincerely thank Almighty God for the constant gift
of your caring and loving presence.
Always in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”Anonymous