Category Archives: Sacred Scripture

Guardian Angels

holy-guardian-angel-iconThe Lord provides for our guidance, protection and connection with Himself. It is true, I believe, that there are few aspects of Catholic piety that can be perceived as comfortable to parents as the belief that a guardian angel protects their child from dangers real and imagined. My parents and grandparents taught me the famous prayer to the Guardian Angel.

The guardian angels aren’t just for children. They are not merely the domesticated spiritual figures that Hallmark perpetrates. By definition an angel does what its name means: it delivers a message. The angel has a role: to represent person before God, to watch over them, to aid their prayer and to present the souls to God at death. A Guardian angel is assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture. The Guardian Angel is not named.

Recall the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Saint Matthew (18:10) about this doctrine: See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.

Monks and nuns have a tremendous relationship with the angels. In fact, the monastic tradition with angels is based in Scripture and the devotion they had with Divine Presence and God’s promises. Saint Benedict speaks of the angels, e.g. RB 7 & 19, and later the 12th century Cistercian Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, spoke in favor of the guardian angels.

The Church knows a particular feast day, however, in honor of the guardian angels only in the 16th century.

Another look at Matthew 25

Christ the teacherHe who gives to the poor, gives to Christ. This is the meaning of the Gospel teaching, and it has been confirmed in the experience of the saints. Upon his repentance, Peter the Merciful gave alms to the poor wherever the opportunity presented itself. On one occasion Peter encountered a shipwrecked man who had barely managed to save his naked body from the wreck. The man begged him for some clothing. Peter removed his costly cloak and clothed the naked man with it. Shortly afterward, Peter saw his cloak in the shop of a merchant, who had it displayed for sale. Peter was very saddened that the shipwrecked man had sold his cloak instead of using it for himself. Peter thought: “I am not worthy; the Lord does not accept my alms.” But later, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. He appeared as a handsome man, brighter than the sun, with a cross on His head, wearing Peter’s cloak. “Peter, why art thou sad?” asked the Lord. “My Lord, why would I not be sad, when I see that which I gave to the poor being sold at the market?” Then the Lord asked him: “Dost thou recognize this garment on Me?” Peter replied: “I recognize it, Lord; that is my garment with which I clothed the naked man.” Then the Lord spoke to him again: “Therefore do not be sad; thou gavest it to the poor man, and I received it, and I praise thy deed.”

Prologue from Ochrid

What is Jesus doing?

Christ teachingGospel of Christ preaching in Nazareth, from a sermon by St. Simeon the New Theologian:

Many people never stop saying – I have heard them myself – “If only we had lived in the days of the apostles, and been counted worthy to gaze upon Christ as they did, we should have become holy like them.” Such people do not realise that the Christ who spoke then and the Christ who speaks now throughout the whole world is one and the same. If he were not the same then and now, God in every respect, in his operations as in the sacraments, how would it be seen that the Father is always in the Son and the Son in the Father, according to the words Christ spoke through the Spirit: My Father is still working and so am I?

But no doubt someone will say that merely to hear his words now and to be taught about him and his kingdom is not the same thing as to have seen him then in the body. And I answer that indeed the position now is not the same as it was then, but our situation now, in the present day, is very much better. It leads us more easily to a deeper faith and conviction than seeing and hearing him in the flesh would have done.

Eden’s recovery

Bosch GardenThis week we are reading from the Book of Genesis. I am convinced of what Saint John Paul taught: we need to work –with God’s grace– to work on the restoration of of the initial experience of what Adam and Eve experienced. Consider a study of his Theology of the Body. After Eden we fell from grace pretty hard. The pre-Fall is what God desires for all of us. AND, this is what has been granted to us through the Paschal Mystery of Christ. What Jesus did on the cross and at the resurrection our ears and mouth were opened so that the goodness of creation is made known. Our bodies were once again the center of salvation.

The Biblical narrative is familiar: the Garden of the fruit, of which we were not to eat by divine command. But, is it so much that Adam and Eve ate the “forbidden fruit” at the “forbidden picnic” (a term coined by Bishop Richard Sklba) as much as it is accepting the great lie “that the divine origin of human nakedness is no longer good.  Hence, they become at odds with their Creator.” The fruit at the center of Garden represents the respect and promise of God as Father of all creation. Life in God is no small and insignificant experience: it is true, good, and beautiful.

Virtue and love are interconnected

Saint Catherine of Siena: “You know that every virtue receives life from love, that is, by raising the eye of our intellect to consider how much we are loved by God. Seeing that we are loved, we cannot do anything except love. Loving God we embrace virtue out of love, and we despise vice out of hatred. So you see that it is in God that we conceive virtues, and in our neighbors that we bring them to birth. You know indeed that you give birth to the child charity that is in your soul in order to answer your neighbor’s need; and that you give birth to patience when your neighbor does you harm. You offer prayer for all your neighbors, and particularly for the one who has wronged you. That is the way we ought to behave; if others are unfaithful to us, we ought to be faithful to them, faithfully seeking their salvation and loving them gratuitously and not as a debt. In other words, take care not to love your neighbor for your own profit, for that would not be responding to the love which God has for you.”

Saint Catherine of Siena offers us a readjustment to our way of proceeding for the 30th Sunday of the Church Year (Mt 22:34-40). As we move closer and closer to the end of the liturgical year and the end of the civil calendar, our thinking, prayer and relationships take on a new intensity but only if we are aware of our humanity the holy desires of our heart.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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