The Apostles’ Creed professes that God is “creator of heaven and earth.” The Nicene Creed makes it explicit that this profession includes “all that is seen and unseen.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article I, Paragraph 5).
I am fascinated by the concept of God giving us Guardian angels. Essentially, everyone has a guardian angel with no exception. I think most of us, Catholic or not, doubt the validity of this idea either because we don’t feel deserving or because the concept of an angel watching out for us is too fanciful for us to comprehend. Oftentimes, without realizing it, we will chase these helpful creatures away.
Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: “The angels work together for the benefit of us all” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 114, 3 ad 3) .
Let’s say for the sake of this argument, then, that it’s true. We all have a guardian angel. This would be an angel who stays with you from birth until your transition back to heaven. Hmmm…. Like parents, they have an unconditional love for you. Their goal is to make certain you are safe.“No evil shall befall you. No affliction comes near your tent. For he commands his angels to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you lest you strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91: 10-12).
It has been said that God’s thoughts of love created these angels. Remember God is all powerful love.
It stands to reason then, the role of the Guardian angel is to guide us to good thoughts, good works and words. They also help with preserving us from evil. Wow! It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
In his 2014 homily for the Feast of Holy Guardian Angels, October 2, Pope Francis told those who gathered for daily Mass to be like children who pay attention to their traveling companion; “It’s dangerous to chase away our traveling companion. Do not rebel; follow his advice. No one journeys alone and no one should think they are alone.”
Consider this account by Lilly Kelly:
It was rush hour one morning and I was walking across Penn Ave. N.W. DC. I wasn’t paying attention because I had a lot on my mind. I was just recently divorced and their father was just not wanting to just be kind to his children. I had a son getting ready to go to college and I worried about my daughter, my grandchild and my mother; it seemed as if everything was coming down on me at one time. I had got to the corner and looked to my left and saw no traffic coming towards me. I stepped off the curb and crossed four lanes. At the median it never even dawned on me that I never once looked up to see if the walk sign was on. Once I got to the middle of the street I didn’t stop to look to the right to see if any cars were coming towards me. My mind was gone. I got ready to take that step which would have put me in the first of four lanes and I felt something come over me. It seemed as if an Angel of God himself touched my right shoulder and said step back and look to your right. It felt like a force that stopped me. When I stepped back and looked to the right, I looked up not one but 10 cars were flying down the street going 40 miles an hour. The winds from the cars were frightful. I immediately knew God was watching over me and I had a purpose in life. Thanks be to God and my Guardian Angel” (“God sent an Angel to stop one more step – Angel Stories (From Catholic Online).
In the words of Thomas Aquinas, “On this road man is threatened by many dangers both from within and without, and therefore guardians are appointed for men who have to pass by an unsafe road, so an angel is assigned to each man as long as he is a wayfarer.” With the help of an angel, God is said to introduce images and suggestions leading a person to do what’s right.”
There are over 30 references in the Bible about angels. Obviously, they are an important reminder of our journey into heaven.
Here are just a few:
Matthew 18:10: “Beware lest ye scandalize any of these little ones for their angels in heaven see the face of my father.”
Hebrews 1:14: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with his angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he had done.”
The doctrine of angels is part of the Church’s tradition. But why are we as Catholics encouraged to support this idea of a guardian angel? “The teaching of the ancient Church and the testimony of the Bible itself ought to settle the matter for anyone who accepts either of them as an authoritative source. Both Old and New Testaments speak often of angels” (Father Hal Stockert).
There are numerous books and stories written about encounters with angels. I find it interesting that we are drawn to reading these stories but are reluctant to believe their legitimacy. In the book entitled “Angels in Our Midst: Encounters with Heavenly Messengers from the Bible…” the author speaks of many extraordinary stories of the presence of angels.
Six year old Macy was sleeping peacefully in her family’s home when a sudden crash of thunder woke her up. The next thing she realized was that her house had been struck by a bolt of lightning and was engulfed in flames. Macy saw no way out of her bedroom and cried out for her parents. Just moments before the spreading fire would have swallowed her up, an unseen force gently took her by the hand and guided her through the fire and outside to safety. She turned to thank them only to learn there was no one in sight.
In his March 31, 1997 Regina Caeli address, Pope Saint John Paul II referred to the reality of the guardian angel saying this, “Let us invoke the Queen of angels and saints, that she may grant us, supported by our guardian angels, to be authentic witnesses to the Lord’s paschal mystery.”
Finally, another story which I found interesting; “Father Giovangiuseppe Califano recounted how, one day, a newly appointed bishop confessed to Pope John XXIII “he could not sleep at night due to anxiety which was caused by the responsibility of his office.” The Pope told him. “You know I also thought the same when I was elected pope. But one day, I dreamed about my guardian angel and it told me not to take everything so seriously.” Pope John attributed the idea of calling Second Vatican Council to an inspiration from his guardian angel” (Wikipedia – Guardian Angel).
Why do I write about angels? I do it because I think we are always being shown God’s presence in our everyday lives. Sometimes it’s through each other, sometimes it’s through prayer, and just maybe, sometimes it’s our Guardian angel keeping a close eye out for us. I would like to suggest that we all take a look at our day to day encounters with everyday life and see if you can’t place where your Guardian angel was nearby.