How often do you take the time to reflect on the blessing it is to be gifted with an angel to guide us and guard us? As children many of us prayed The Guardian Angel prayer, but as adults we tend to forget the importance and power that the angels can have in our lives.
New Age spirituality has left many confused as to what angels are, how we can communicate with them, and the power that they have over our lives. It is important to know what the Catholic Church tradition says about Guardian Angels.
Here is a list of things you should know about Guardian Angels to keep you from following misguided beliefs.
1. They are real
The Catholic Church didn’t just make up Guardian Angels to help little children feel safe at night. Guardian Angels are real. “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 328) There are countless examples of angels throughout Scripture. They ministered to everyone from shepherds to Jesus himself.
“When tempted, invoke your angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him; he trembles and flees at the sight of your guardian angel.” (St. John Bosco)
2. We all have one
“Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”(St. Basil) Guardian angels are not something that we have to share. They are so valuable to our spiritual well being that God has blessed us all with our own. “Great is the dignity of the human soul, since each one of them has from the very outset of his life an Angel deputed to safeguard him.” (St. Jerome)
3. They lead us to heaven (if we let them)
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”(Hebrews 1:14) Our Guardian Angels protect us from evil, assist us in prayer, lead us to choose good, and represent us before God. They are able to act upon our senses and our imaginations, but not our will. They cannot chose for us, but encourage us in every way possible to choose what is true, good and beautiful.
4. They never leave us
“Dear friends, the Lord is always near and active in human history, and follows us with the unique presence of His angels, that today the Church venerates as ‘Guardian,’ in other words those who minister God’s care for every man…From the beginning until death human life is surrounded by their constant protection.” (Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI) There is no need to despair or feel alone because there are angels walking with us to minister to our souls at all times. Not even death will separate us from our angel. They stand by our side constantly on earth and will remain with us in heaven.
5. Your guardian angel is not your great grandfather
Contrary to popular belief and what we might often say to console those who have lost a loved one, angels are not people who have died. Angels are spiritual creatures with an intelligence and a will created by God to glorify Him and to serve Him for eternity.
6. Name your pets, not your guardian angel
“Popular devotion to the holy angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations . . . [such as the] practice of assigning names to the holy angels [which] should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy 217 found at Catholic.com)
7. They are not cute chunky cherubs that float on clouds and play harps – they are powerful spiritual beings that battle for your soul
“Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him.” (CCC 331) Angels are superior to man because although they are sent here to serve us, they are constantly in the presence of God. They are endowed with many spiritual powers and capabilities that humans are not given. Don’t think of your angel as a cartoon character. They stand beside you to protect, defend and guard you.
You can ask your Guardian Angel to intercede on your behalf – and you should! Many are unaware of the help that we have been given through these spiritual creatures. Remember, our heavenly Father wants to do everything He can to help us spend eternity in His Kingdom. However, we must choose to use all that He supplies us with in order to fully obtain the graces needed to enter Heaven. Let your Guardian Angel lead you deeper in the fullness of God’s mercy, love and goodness.
Looking for a more in-depth study of angels? For more on who RCSpirituality calls “Our Invisible Allies”, you won’t want to miss their free retreat guide on St. Michael and other angels.
You are amazed that your guardian Angel has done you such obvious favours. And you should not be amazed, that is why our Lord has placed him beside you. – Saint Josemaria Escriva
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.