The Guardian Angels

“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

Today, October 2nd is the Feast Day for all our Guardian Angels. While there are traditionally believed to be 9 choirs of Angels in Heaven (Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones, the Dominations, Virtues and Powers, the Principalities, Archangels and Angels), it is the lowest class–the Angels– who are sent to be our Guardian Angels. However, lest anyone take offense that the lowest class of Angels are given to us as Guardians we would do well to remember the great power of the Angels; and that Satan (/Lucifer) was defeated by the Archangel Michael (Revelation 12:7+).

The existence of Angels is a Biblical fact. The Old Testament shows God’s Angels as His ministers who carried out His Will, and who were at times given special commissions. In Genesis 28-29, Angels act as the executors of God’s wrath against the cities of the plain, and they also deliver Lot from danger. In Exodus 12-13, an Angel is the appointed leader of the host of Israel, and in 32:34, God tells Moses: “my Angel shall go before thee”. We also have the story of Tobias where the Angel Raphael intimately and expressly guides and helps Tobias and his family through (seemingly) ordinary human affairs (marriage, sickness). Angels are also mentioned in the Psalms: Psalm 90:11: “For he hath given his Angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Cf. Psalm 33:8 and 34:5.) Lastly, in Daniel 10 Angels are entrusted with the care of particular districts; one is called “prince of the kingdom of the Persians”, and Michael is termed “one of the chief princes”; cf. Deuteronomy 32:8; and Ecclesiasticus 17:17.

The New Testament reveals the mission of the Angels more clearly, as Hebrews 11:1 sums up nicely: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?” Angels are to help us, if we let them, get to Heaven. I quoted above where Our Lord spoke directly about the Angels– and that passage is traditionally used to defend Guardian Angels. At our Baptism (some theologians argue birth), we are given an Angel to guard and protect us– to help us on our way to salvation. In Luke 22:43 an Angel strengthens Our Lord in His agony. And in Acts 5:19 an Angel of the Lord led St. Paul and the Apostles out of prison, and later on in Acts 12:7+ an Angel helps St. Peter escape from prison. It’s interesting to note that the mention of Angels in the New Testament is equal to their mention in the Old. It was the privilege of Angels to announce God’s plan of salvation to Mary, Zechariah, and the Shepherds; and Angels were present and ministering to Christ all throughout His life (He conversed with them, they ministered to Him after the Temptation, they assisted Him in His agony, and they were witnesses to His Resurrection).

(The above is most definitely not an exhaustive reference to Angels in the Sacred Scriptures… indeed, their presence is numerous!)

So, in honor of today’s feast do not forget to pray to your Guardian Angel today (and then make this [praying] a habit for every day!). To help me remember, I added the Guardian Angel prayer to the last prayers after reciting the Rosary (ex. Salve Regina, “O God whose only begotten Son…”, St. Michael Prayer, Prayer to my Guardian Angel, etc.)

(For those seeking marriage, you would also do well to remember that the Angels have played important roles in aiding some of the most important marriages in history: Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 24:7), Tobias and Sara (Book of Tobias), and Our Lady and St. Joseph (Matthew 1:20+)… so it would be especially beneficial to remember the holy Angels!)

There are also several good philosophical reasons for believing in the existence of Angels… but I’ll save that for a later time (…and check out my reading suggestions if you are interested).

Prayer to your Holy Guardian Angel:

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

Latin:

Ángele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me, tibi commíssum pietáte supérna,
illúmina, custódi,
rege et gubérna.
Amen.

Good Reads for today:
The Book of Tobias (found in complete (Catholic) Bibles)
Treatise on Angels by St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica I, Q. 50-64)
The Angels and Us by Mortimer Adler

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