We just celebrated two great feast days this week: on September 29th, we celebrated the feast of the archangels—St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael—and on October 2nd, we celebrated the memorial of our Holy Guardian Angels.
As Catholics, we believe that angels are pure spirits, meaning that they have no bodies, and that they were created at the beginning of time. There are good angels and bad ones, known as demons, who failed a test by disobeying God and acting out of pride. While there are many bad angels that roam the earth, there are also many, many good angels that remained faithful to God. According to Sacred Scripture, “a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him” (Daniel 7:10). There are nine choirs of angels, and each has a specific mission.
Of all the angels, I would like to say a few words about the Guardian Angels in particular. God has willed that each of us should be assigned a Guardian Angel, an angel to guard and protect each of us in this life. St. Bernard tells us that “the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them.”
Ponder about this reality for a moment. God has assigned an angel to protect YOU, to shield you from the assaults of demons and even from temporal evils. Your Guardian Angel also suggests good thoughts to you and offers your prayers and good works to God, adding them to his own powerful intercession. Lastly, your Guardian Angel gives you special help in your last hour of life, and leads your soul after death to the throne of God.
Think of the dignity that each of us has in the sight of God. If God did not think much of us, or if He did not care about us, would God have assigned to each one of us an angel to protect us in this life? Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore said that “the very fact that these angels accompany us throughout our lives, prompting us to encounter the Lord in love, prompting us to cherish one another’s life and dignity—this very fact should fill our hearts with gratitude and joy.”
Let’s give thanks and praise to God for the gift of our Guardian Angels! Keep this prayer close to your heart, and pray it daily: “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, rule and guide. Amen.”
-- Fr. Tom Skaja