Tag Archives: guardian angels

A prayer to a guardian angel

guardian-angel2October 2nd is the day to commemorate the Guardian Angels. While it is a Sunday, the feast gets trumped by the Sunday observance.

The teaching we hold dear about the Guardian Angel is that an angel is (a created, non-human, non-corporeal being) that has been assigned to guard a particular person, with concern for that person to avoid spiritual and physical dangers and work out one’s salvation. The Directory on Piety and the Tradition of the Church says serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels.

In sacred Scripture, the Prophet Daniel speaks of Michael as “the great prince who has charge of your [Daniel’s] people” (Dan. 12:1). Michael is depicted as the guardian angel of Israel.

Saint Matthew’s Gospel speaks of Jesus talking about are guardian angels for all persons, particularly little children. He says: See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven (Matt. 18:10).

‘A prayer to the good angel’

O sweet angel, to me so dear,
Who night and day standeth me near
Full lovingly, with mild mood, [gentle mind]
Thanks, honour, love and praising,
Offer for me to Jesu, our king,
For his gifts great and good.

As thou goest betwixt him and me,
And knowest my life in every degree,
Telling it in his presence,
Ask me grace to love him truly,
To serve my Lord with heart duly,
With my daily diligence.

Keep me from vice and all perils,
While thou with me daily travels
In this world of wickedness;
Cause my petitions to be granted
By thy prayer daily haunted,
If it please thy holiness.

O sweet angel, who keepest me,
Bring me to bliss, I pray thee!

From the manuscript from which this prayer comes we can note that it was in a volume owned by Margaret Beauchamp, the Duchess of Somerset, mother of Margaret Beaufort, and grandmother of Henry VII.

Religious Lyrics of the XVth Century, ed. Carleton Brown (Oxford, 1939)

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.

Guardian Angels’ feast

guardian angelHe has given his angels charge over you
to keep you in all your ways.
In their hand they will bear you up,
that you may not dash your foot against a stone.

Ps. 90 (91):11
The offertory antiphon, First Sunday in Lent

The belief that the guardian angels exist and help humanity has a long genealogy coming from the Jewish tradition and the witness of the saints.

“Hence the perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures. Now intelligence cannot be the action of a body, nor of any corporeal faculty; for every body is limited to “here” and “now.” Hence the perfection of the universe requires the existence of an incorporeal creature [angels]” — St. Thomas Aquinas, ST I.50.1

I recommend being friendly with your guardian angel.

Angels defend us

Scripture reveals and theology teaches that angels help Christians fight the devil. Angels, those holy spirits who bring God’s messages to us help to overcome temptation. Good pastoral advice is to pray several times a day to one’s guardian angels, but also to the three Archangels, Saints Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, whom we honor today in the sacred Liturgy.
Here’s Vatican Radio’s summary of the papal homily for the Archangels, Saints Gabriel, Michael and Raphael:
“This struggle takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth to a child.  Satan always tries to destroy man: the man that Daniel saw there, in glory, and whom Jesus told Nathanael would come in glory. From the very beginning, the Bible speaks to us of this: Satan’s [use of ] seduction to destroy. Maybe out of envy. We read in Psalm 8: ‘Thou hast made man superior to the angels,’ and that angel of great intelligence could not bear this humiliation, that a lower creature was made superior to him; thus he tried to destroy it.”
“So many projects, except for one’s own sins, but many, many projects for mankind’s dehumanization are his work, simply because he hates mankind. He is astute: the first page of Genesis tells us so, he is astute. He presents things as if they were a good thing. But his intention is destruction. And the angels defend us. They defend mankind and they defend the God-Man, the superior Man, Jesus Christ who is the perfection of humanity, the most perfect. This is why the Church honors the Angels, because they are the ones who will be in the glory of God – they are in the glory of God – because they defend the great hidden mystery of God, namely, that the Word was made flesh.”
”This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life, in our hearts, in our lives, in our families, in our people, in our churches … If we do not struggle, we will be defeated. But the Lord has given this task mainly to the angels: to do battle and win. And the final song of Revelation , after this battle, is so beautiful: Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night”.

Guardian Angels

The Holy Guardian Angels exist. Scripture reveals the existence of the angels; Jesus speaks of the angels, the Liturgy has the assistance of the angels in prayers, and the Church distinguishes, based on Scripture and tradition the various ranks of angels.

When it come to the Guardians, the doctrine of the Church says teaches that every personal soul has a guardian angel is not defined by the Magisterium as dogma but as a doctrine based on Scripture. That is, the Guardian angels is not an article of the Creed. We do, as a matter of liturgical theology, our Church’s first theology, rely on the angels to help us worship the Triune God.

The Church’s devotion to the angels matured under the monastic tradition, beginning with Saint Benedict and later from the 12th-century monastic reformer Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. By the 16th century the feast in honor of guardian angels was well established.

What does this feast indicate for us? Why are the Guardian Angels important? One of the benefits of this feast is that it reminds us that God cares for us each person, in a specific way. Nothing is left to chance. It is our belief that the Guardian Angels remain in the Divine Presence even as they fulfill their mission on earth. Today, is a day to be grateful that we do not walk alone in the spiritual life. Come, let us adore the Lord, whom the angels serve.

John Paul’s catechesis on the Guardian Angels.

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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