Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 2nd, 2019.
October 2nd is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. These messengers of God played pivotal roles throughout the events of the Bible. In fact, the word angel derived from the Greek word angelos which meant “messenger”. Angels visited Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Gideon to name a few examples. In the New Testament, the angel Gabriel visited Mary recognizing her holiness and that God called her to be the mother of Jesus.
Growing up I was fascinated with the topic of angels. My parents always had us recite the Guardian Angel prayer before bedtime. This tradition has continued in my family and my kids even say that prayer that before school. Catholics believe in spiritual beings, yet on a practical level and in “adult” conversations I have to admit this has been a teaching of the Church that I need to be better at living out and believing in myself.
Unfortunately, life gets busy, stress-inducing, and chaotic. It gets easy to forget out spiritual matters when all your troubles are tangible. Mortgage payments, hospital bills, strained family dynamics, or dissatisfaction at work are things people often battle. These are definitely pain points in my life. We crave truth, peace, and joy. Catholics live in the world while dreaming and hoping for the world to come. St. Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until it rests in You (God)”.
The Feast of the Guardian Angels is a reminder that we should never give up hope. We always have someone to help us out even if our eyes cannot see.
An Angel for All
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 336, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” You. Me. Everyone now, in the past, and who will live in the future has a guardian angel to protect them from harm.
We Don’t Transform into Angels
It is common for people to post in reaction to the death of a love one: “He/she just received their angel wings in Heaven!” Angels are separate beings from humans. If you go to Heaven in Union with God after you die, you will remain yourself. You will receive a gloried body, but you will not become an angel.
For more information on the properties of the Resurrected Body check out the following article Will Our Resurrected Body have Superpowers
Angels are Unique
Because angels are not composed of matter and form (like the physical world) technically each angel is their own individual species. This is something I still struggle to wrap my mind around, but I suggest you read up on the Angelic Doctor (no pun intended), Thomas Aquinas, to learn more about this astonishing point.
Humans are More Beloved than Angels
Even though angels enjoy continually communion with God in Heaven their are not the highest form of God’s creation. After the creation of mankind in Genesis 1:31, God recognized the importance of humans by finding that act of creation “very good”. Angels are servants to God, but we are called to be children of God (cf. CCC 381).
Angel’s Anonymity should be Kept
Unlike human saints we cannot know the names of our guardian angel. Only God knows their name. Because angels are meant to be our helpers and servants to humanity, their names are not important. Rather, what is important is being aware of their function as our guardian and protector.
According to the Office for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament’s Directory On Popular Piety and the Liturgy, “The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture” (no. 217).
Thank your Guardian Angel Today
I am incredibly thankful for countless occasions where I believe my Guardian Angel intervened for my safety and defense. Driving late at night several years ago, I remember drifting into another lane, suddenly, I came to my senses again and swerved missing the oncoming truck. This is only one occasion where I cannot explain how I missed an accident, serious injury, or death.
Thank your Guardian Angel today (and every day) for their constant protection and guidance. Make the Angel of God prayer a fixture in your spiritual life.
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.