ALTHOUGH THE SOLEMNITY of the 27th of September celebrates the praises of all the nine glorious choirs, yet the piety of the faithful, in the latter ages, desired to have a special day consecrated to the Guardian Angels. Several churches having taken the initiative, and kept the Feast under various rites and on different days, Paul V (1608) authorized its celebration ad libitum. Clement X (1670) established it by precept as a Feast of double rite on the 2nd of October, the first free day after Michaelmas, on which it thus remains in some way dependent.
It is of faith, on the testimony of the Scriptures and of unanimous tradition, that God commits to his Angels the guardianship of men, who are called to contemplate him together with these blessed spirits in their common fatherland. Catholic theology teaches that this protection is extended to every member of the human race, without any distinction of just and sinners, infidels and baptized. To ward off dangers; to uphold man in his struggle against the demons; to awaken in him holy thoughts; to prevent him from sinning, and even, at times, to chastise him; to pray for him, and present his prayers to God; such is the office of the Guardian Angel. So special is his mission that one Angel does not undertake the guardianship of several persons simultaneously; so diligent is his care that he follows his ward from the first day to the last of his mortal existence, receiving the soul as it quits this life, and bearing it from the feet of the sovereign Judge to the place it has merited in heaven, or to its temporary sojourn in the place of expiation and purification.
It is from the lowest of the nine choirs, the nearest to ourselves, that the Guardian Angels are for the most part selected. God reserves to the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones the honor of forming his own immediate court. The Dominations, from the steps of his throne, preside over the government of the universe; the Virtues watch over the course of nature’s laws, the preservation of species, and the movements of the heavens; the Powers hold the spirits of wickedness in subjection. The human race in its entirety, as also its great social bodies, the nations and the churches, are confided to the Principalities; while the Archangels, who preside over smaller communities, seem also to have the office of transmitting to the Angels the commands of God, together with the love and light which come down even to us from the first and highest hierarchy. O the depths of the wisdom of God! Thus, then, the admirable distribution of offices among the choirs of heavenly spirits terminates in the function committed to the lowest rank, the guardianship of man, for whom the universe subsists. Such is the teaching of the School; and the Apostle, in like manner, says: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?
But God, magnificent as he is towards the whole human race, honors in a special manner the princes of his people, those who are most favored by his grace, or who rule the earth in his name; the Saints testify that a supereminent perfection, or a higher mission in Church or State, ensures to the individual the assistance of a superior spirit, without the Angels, that was first deputed, being necessarily removed from his charge. Moreover, with regard to the work of salvation, the Guardian Angel has no fear of being left alone at his post; at his request, and at God’s command, the troops of his blessed companions who fill heaven and earth are ever ready to lend him their aid. These noble spirits, acting under the eye of God, whose love they desire to second by all possible means, have secret alliances between them, which sometimes induce between their clients even on earth, unions the mystery whereof will be revealed in the light of eternity.
“How profound a mystery,” says Origen, “is the apportioning of souls to the Angels destined for their guardians! It is a divine secret, part of the universal economy centered in the Man-God. Nor is it without ineffable order that the ministries of earth, the many departments of nature, are allotted to the heavenly Virtues; fountains and rivers, winds and forests, plants, living creatures of land and sea, whose various functions harmonize together, by the Angels directing them all to a common end.”
Again, on these words of Jeremias: How long shall the land mourn? Origen, supported by the authority of his translator St. Jerome, continues. “It is through each one of us that the earth rejoices or mourns; and not only the earth, but water, fire, air, all the elements; by which name we must here understand not insensible matter, but the Angels who are set over all things on earth. There is an Angel of the land who, with his companions, mourns over our crimes. There is an Angel of the waters to whom are applied the words of the Psalm: The waters saw thee, and they were afraid, and the depths were troubled; great was the noise of the waters; the clouds sent out a sound, for thy arrows pass.”
How grand is nature, viewed in this light! It is thus the ancients, more truthful as well as more poetical than our generation, always considered the universe. Their error lay in adoring these mysterious powers, to the detriment of the only God, under whom they stoop that bear up the world.
“Air and earth and ocean, everything is full of Angels,” says St. Ambrose. “Eliseus, besieged by a whole army, felt no fear; for he beheld invisible cohorts assisting him. May the prophet open thine eyes also, may the enemy, be he legion, not terrify thee; thou thinkest thyself hemmed in, and thou art free: there are more with us than with them.”
But let us return to our own specially-deputed Angel, and meditate on this other testimony: “The noble guardian of each one of us sleeps not, nor can he be deceived. Close thy door, and make the darkness of night; but remember, thou art never alone; he has no need of daylight in order to see thy actions.” And who is it that speaks thus? Not a Father of the Church, but a pagan, the slave-philosopher Epictetus.
In conclusion, let us listen to the Abbot of Clairvaux, who here gives free reign to his eloquence: “In every place show respect to thy Angel. Let gratitude for his benefits incite thee to honor his greatness. Love this thy future coheir, the guardian appointed for thee by the Father during thy childhood. For though we are sons of God, we are as yet but children, and long and dangerous is our journey. But God hath given his Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk; and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. Yes; where the road is smooth enough for a child, they will content themselves with guiding thee, and sustaining thy footsteps, as one does for children. But if trials threaten to surpass thy strength, they will bear thee up in their hands. Oh! those hands of Angels! Thanks to them, what fearful straits we have passed through, as it were without thinking, and with no other impression left upon us than that of a nightmare suddenly dispelled!”
And in his commentary on the Canticle of Canticles, St. Bernard thus describes the triumph of the Angel: “One of the companions of the Spouse, sent from heaven to the chosen soul as mediator; on witnessing the mystery accomplished, how he exults, and says: I give thee thanks, O God of majesty, for having granted the desire of her heart! Now it was he that, as a persevering friend, had not ceased, on the way, to murmur into the soul’s ear: Delight in the Lord, and he will give thee the requests of thy heart; and again: Expect the Lord, and keep his way; and then: If he make any delay, wait for him, for he will surely come and will not tarry. Meanwhile he represented to our Lord the soul’s desire, saying: As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so this soul panteth after thee, O God; have pity on her, hear her cries, and visit her in her desolation. And now the faithful paranymph, the confidant of ineffable secrets, is not jealous. He goes from the Spouse to the bride, offering desires, bringing back gifts; he incites the one, he appeases the other. Sometimes, even in this world, he brings them into each other’s presence, either by raising up the Bride in ecstasy, or by bringing down the Bridegroom; for he is one of the household, and well known in the palace; and he fears no rebuff, for every day he beholds the face of the Father.”
Blessed be ye, O holy Angels, for that your charity is not wearied out by the crimes of men; among so many other benefits, we thank you for keeping the earth habitable, by deigning to dwell always therein. Solitude often weighs heavily upon the hearts of God’s children; in the great towns, and in the paths of the world, where one meets only strangers or enemies; but if the number of the just grows less, yours never diminishes. In the midst of the excited multitude, as well as in the desert, not a human being that has not beside him an Angel, the representative of universal Providence over wicked and good alike. O blessed spirits! you and we have the same fatherland, the same thought, the same love; why should the confused noises of a frivolous crowd disturb the heavenly life we may lead even now with you? Does the tumult of public places hinder you from holding your choirs there, or prevent the Most High from hearing your harmonies? We also, beholding by faith the face of our heavenly Father, which you ever delightedly contemplate, we wish to sing in every place the praises of our Lord and to unite at all times our adorations with yours. Thus, when our manners have become altogether angelic, the present life will be full of peace, and we shall be well prepared for eternity.
Information: Guardian Angels
Feast Day: October 2
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Pope: With The Guardian Angels God Takes Care of The Entire Life of Every Man
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The 12 most important things to know about angels
The True Role of Guardian Angels
Touched by Padre Pio’s guardian angels [Catholic Caucus]
Celebrating Guardian Angels – October 2 – Feast of the Guardian Angels [Ecumenical]
OF GUARDIAN ANGELS AND THE ROLE THEY PLAY NOT JUST ON EARTH BUT IN PURGATORY [Catholic Caucus]
Our Guardian Angels [Ecumenical]
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Question: “Are there really such things as guardian angels?”
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Early Christians Representations of Angels[Feast day Guardian Angels]
Ordinary Time: October 2nd
Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Old Calendar: The Holy Guardian Angels
Each person on earth has a guardian angel who watches over him and helps him to attain his salvation. It has been a common theological opinion that this angelical guardianship begins at the moment of birth; prior to this, the child would be protected by the mother’s guardian angel. But this is not certain, and since we now know that the soul is infused at the moment of conception, it may be that the angelic guardianship also begins at that moment. In any case, this protection continues throughout our whole life and ceases only when our probation on earth ends, namely, at the moment of death. Our guardian angel accompanies our soul to purgatory or heaven, and becomes our coheir in the heavenly kingdom.
Angels are servants and messengers from God. “Angel” in Greek means messenger. In unseen ways the angels help us on our earthly pilgrimage by assisting us in work and study, helping us in temptation and protecting us from physical danger.
The idea that each soul has assigned to it a personal guardian angel has been long accepted by the Church and is a truth of our faith. From the Gospel of today’s liturgy we read: “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” (Matthew 18:10). The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls ‘angels’ is a truth of faith (328).” From our birth until our death, man is surrounded by the protection and intercession of angels, particularly our guardian angel: “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life (336).” The Church thanks God for our helpers, the angels, particularly on this feast day and September 29 which is the feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael, archangels. Today’s feast appeared in Spain during the sixteenth century. It was extended to the universal Church and made obligatory in 1670.
Be alert in your every action as one should be who is accompanied by angels in all your ways, for that mission has been enjoined upon them. In whatever lodging, in whatever nook or corner you may find yourself, cherish a reverence for your guardian angel. In his presence do not dare to do anything you would not do in mine. Or do you doubt his presence because you do not see him? Would it really help if you did hear him, or touch him, or smell him? Remember, there are realities whose existence has not been proven by mere sight.
Brethren, we will love God’s angels with a most affectionate love; for they will be our heavenly co-heirs some day, these spirits who now are sent by the Father to be our protectors and our guides. With such bodyguards, what are we to fear? They can neither be subdued nor deceived; nor is there any possibility at all that they should go astray who are to guard us in all our ways. They are trustworthy, they are intelligent, they are strong — why, then, do we tremble? We need only to follow them, remain close to them, and we will dwell in the protection of the Most High God. So as often as you sense the approach of any grave temptation or some crushing sorrow hangs over you, invoke your protector, your leader, your helper in every situation. Call out to him and say: Lord, save us, we are perishing. —St. Bernard
Patron: Spanish police officers.
Symbols: usually portrayed as beardless, sexless beings, winged, human in form and barefooted, usually carrying objects such as a pilgrim’s staff, scroll, book, a sceptre or a sword.
Things to Do:
- Memorize and pray the Angel of God prayer.
- Bake an angel food cake, serve angel hair pasta, and/or make angel kisses (meringue cookies).
- Read from the Catholic Culture Library:
- Our Guardian Angels by Fr. Joseph Ventura, C.P.
- Sermon on the Holy Guardian Angels by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
- Guardian Angels
- Meditation for the Feast of the Guardian Angels by Pope John XXIII.
- Role of Guardian Angels in our Lives by George Huber.
- Paschal Parente’s chapters on Angels.
- Read the section on angels in the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy. The document examines the doctrine and devotions of the angels. Devotion to angels is good, but also can have deviations:
“Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by:
- devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;
- an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God — 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. Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus.
“217. Popular devotion to the Holy Angels [which is legitimate and good] can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:
- when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the Devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;
- when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the Devil and all success to the Guardian Angels. 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.”
- Also read All About the Angels.
- Read about saints and others who had a great devotion to their guardian angel (St. Josemaria Escriva; St. Padre Pio; Blessed John XXIII).
- Think about how you can develop a greater devotion and depend on your guardian angel everyday.
Marriage = One Man and One Woman Until Death Do Us Part
October 2, 2019
Today on the feast of the Guardian Angels, say a prayer to your family’s guardian angels, to protect everyone from natural and supernatural harm.
Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Matthew 18: 1-5, 10
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. 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.”
Introductory Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you for giving me another day to grow in love for you, another day to move ahead in my spiritual life, another day to pray for the souls closest to me. I want only to please you during this brief time of prayer.
Petition: Lord, grant me the grace of childlike simplicity.
- Turning the Tables: The disciples are curious about the Kingdom of Heaven, and their curiosity has a tinge of self-interest. They want to know how to get ahead in the Kingdom. Their very question belies a misunderstanding of Christ. The Kingdom, among other things, is reflected in the Church on earth. And the Church, being universal, is a kind of family that takes in all mankind. If ever we ask, “Who is the greatest in our family?” we can be sure that it is the wrong kind of question. The more appropriate question is: “How can I be a better member of the family? How can I be a better husband? A better wife? A better son or daughter or brother or sister?” That is the question Christ wants us to ask ourselves.
- Child’s Play: We must not think that Christ had a naive notion of children as little angels who never do wrong. So why does Christ hold up children as models for the rest of us? In part, it is their simplicity, their tendency to trust. They might not understand why a parent tells them something, but they likely will accept it because they realize it comes from someone who loves them. The spiritual life requires that same kind of trust. We might not understand completely why God asks us to do something, but if there’s a basic trust and openness to him, it is easier to follow his commands. Many people, unfortunately, squander what should be the most productive years of their lives because they doubt God and his Church. They complicate things, only to find years later the wisdom of what Our Lord was trying to tell them. By then, their faults can be forgiven, but not undone. Once a vase is broken, it can be fixed but it will never be the same as if it had never broken. Am I saying no to God because of a lack of trust?
- Angelic Aid: Prayers to guardian angels used to be popular with Catholics. It is fitting that we pray to them, because each of us has one. “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life,” writes St. Basil (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 336). Our angel reflects God’s loving providence for our welfare and protection. The world is a moral minefield, waiting for us to make the wrong step. Our angel helps us make it through this valley of tears. Do I ever think to pray to my angel?
Conversation with Christ: The simplicity of children can make me look foolish by comparison. I believe in you and trust you, Lord. Help me to translate that trust into serenity and simplicity. Let me accept the crosses of daily life with calmness, seeing your loving designs behind them.
Resolution: I will say “yes” to the next difficult thing someone asks of me, so long as it is something morally good.
One Bread, One Body
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