Our Angel Guardians
We will now speak of what is for us the most interesting and important of all the facts concerning the angels, namely, their role as our dearest, most intimate, most loving guardians. Every Christian should strive to have a full comprehension of this doctrine and should realize vividly the presence of this angel by his side.
When Does Our Angel Begin To Take Charge of Us?
The great St. Thomas tells us that the moment a child is born God calls one of His glorious spirits and gives the newborn babe into his special care. It is not when the soul is created and united to our bodies – which takes place before our birth, for then the child is still one with its mother and protected by the mother’s angel – but it is when we are born into the world that our angel begins his care of us, even before Baptism.
Every man, whether pagan, heretic or Catholic has a guardian angel. Though one angel would be powerful enough to take perfect care of a thousand souls, yet God in His infinite goodness has given to each one of us a special angel, an angel who is all our own, whose great duty henceforth will be to watch over us day and night, asleep or awake, alone or in the midst of company, in our homes, in the street, working or resting, everywhere, every moment of our lives, in joys and in troubles. He never abandons us for a single instant; he sees our every movement; he is ever at our sides.
Each One Has a Special Angel
It seems at first sight incredible that God gives each of us poor mortals a glorious prince of heaven to guide and guard us all the days of our life, who is with us night and day, who devotes all his time, all his care, all his unceasing vigilance to secure our happiness.
But in pure truth, it is only one of the many immense proofs of love which our dear Lord has given us.
What personal favors has not God Himself already done us. Did He not create us with His own hands, making us to His own image and likeness? Did He not raise us up to the highest possible destiny that He could give us, namely, to be with Him as His dear children forever in Heaven, seated on thrones in His presence, enjoying infinite joys, the most perfect happiness for all eternity? Is He not our Father?
Did He not suffer and die for each one of us? Does He not come into our souls, uniting Himself to us most intimately, countless times in Holy Communion? Does He not watch over us every moment so that not a single hair falls from our heads without His permission?
True, indeed, it is a wonderful proof of His love to give us a special angel all to ourselves, to be our friend and protector, but it is only in keeping with what He has already done for us and it is to prepare us for what He still wishes to do for us.
But what is really amazing is that we do not appreciate, do not understand as we ought this divine favor; that we do not prize and love and seek to know better this glorious angel who is so good to us. Our neglect of our dear angel is appalling.
What Does Our Angel Do For Us?
We have already explained the great holiness, power and love of the angels, how mighty their intellects are, how powerful their wills, and how irresistible their strength.
Now, when an angel takes chare of a soul, he devotes all his glorious intelligence and knowledge, all his power and vigilance to protect, defend and help in every possible way the person whom God has given into his charge. He does this, firstly, because God gives him the command to do so, and the angels most earnestly desire to do what God wishes; secondly, because he has himself an immense, personal affectionate love for us.
- He longs to share with us his joy, his happiness, his love, his holiness, and this with such a generosity and earnestness of desire as we selfish mortals cannot possibly understand. He labors every moment, day and night, to make us better, holier and happier.
- Not satisfied with his own efforts on our behalf, he prays for us unceasingly and with incredible fervor to God. What would we not give to have certainty of the prayers of a great saint like St. Dominic, St. Francis or St. Ignatius, but we have those of an angel, burning with the love of God and full of intense love for us, interceding constantly for us before the throne of the Most High. God can refuse him nothing that he asks for his client, since it was God who gave him charge over us and ordered him to take every care of us.
- This great angel too, is constantly whispering into our ears counsels full of love and wisdom. Our angel may not interfere with our free will, but he can and does act on our memories, recalling vividly something we ought to do or warning us of something we ought not to do. He acts benevolently on our imagination and on our reason, persuading us, urging us to correct our weaknesses, to fight against our evil inclinations, inspiring us with new ideals, and stimulating us to fresh and greater effort. If we do wrong, he is angry.
- He is ever on the alert to defend us from the fierce attacks of the demons, who are our relentless foes and who use all their malice to ruin us, to tempt us, to make us sin and who stir up every sort of trouble against us.
- Our angels, moreover, save us from many other dangers and evils, of which we are utterly unconscious. Only in heaven shall we come to know the favors and benefits that our angel confers on us every day, the sorrows from which he saves us, the perils from which he snatches us. It could not be otherwise since his is devoting to us all his angelic vigilance, all his bright intelligence. His efforts on our behalf are unceasing.
The angels most especially give us help in the important events of our lives. The great bulk of men and women are called to the married state. There is nothing more vitally important for them than a happy marriage; nothing that ruins and wrecks their lives like an unhappy marriage. Now the dear angels are most eager that their clients should obtain this great grace than father or mother, or even than they are themselves.
What happy marriages would there not be if only young men and women earnestly besought their angels to obtain this blessing for them. Those therefore who desire a happy marriage should earnestly pray to their angel for this grace. No one better than he can secure this blessing for them.
We read how St. Raphael obtained for Tobias a beautiful, virtuous and wealthy spouse. Our angel can do the same for us.
Sickness and Suffering
Another all-important fact in our lives is suffering. All must suffer, but suffering is easy to bear if only we know how to suffer, and if we have a clever nurse and an able doctor to help us when sick and if we have a kind friend who can help and console us in our troubles.
Again, our angels are all-powerful to help us in sickness and suffering. We shall see later on how the angels helped the martyrs to bear even with joy their cruel torments. Much more can our angles help us to bear our little sufferings.
How many sufferers in their own homes and still more in hospitals are condemned to spend days and weeks on beds of pain and pass long interminable nights of wakefulness and agony.
What help and consolation they could have if only they knew and loved their dear angels and called on them constantly for help, as we saw the case of St. Gemma Galgani.
It is indeed criminal to neglect to teach boys and girls all about the angels, for thus they are deprived during all their lives of the greatest blessings.
Examinations have much to say to the future happiness and welfare of boys and girls. No professor, howsoever clever he may be, can impart knowledge like our angels, if only we ask them.
Students who are devoted to their angels will study with far greater ease and will make far more brilliant examinations than others. Their angels will give them a love and passion for study which is the best guarantee for acquiring knowledge.
We have frequently to embark on important business arrangements, which may bring us much gain or much loss. There are doubts and difficulties which we cannot resolve. Once more our best counsellor is our great angel. Let us appeal to him for help and advice.
This article is taken from a chapter in All About the Angles by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P. which is available from TAN Books.