Dear Sacred Heart Family,
Last weekend Fr. Tomy and I went perch fishing on Lake Erie. Fr. Tomy beat all of us- it seemed every time we looked to the back of the boat he was reeling in a fish! It was a great time.
On this past Tuesday, October 2nd we celebrated the feast of the Guardian Angels. This feast day reminds us how close Heaven is to us, that on this journey through life we are never unaccompanied. I know there are moments I can look back in my life where my safety and protection in particular situations seems only explainable through divine intervention. I wanted to include part of an article that delves into our understanding and belief in Guardian angels.
What is a guardian angel?
A guardian angel is an angel (a created, non-human, non-corporeal being) that has been assigned to guard a particular person, especially with respect to helping that person avoid spiritual dangers and achieve salvation.
The angel may also help the person avoid physical dangers, particularly if this will help the person achieve salvation.
Where do we read about guardian angels in Scripture?
We see angels helping people on various occasions in Scripture, but there are certain instances in which we see angels providing a protective function over a period of time. In Tobit, Raphael is assigned to an extended mission to help Tobit’s son (and his family in general). In Daniel, Michael is described as “the great prince who has charge of your [Daniel’s] people” (Dan. 12:1). He is thus depicted as the guardian angel of Israel. In the Gospels, Jesus indicates that there are guardian angels for individuals, including 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).
What does Jesus mean when he says these angels “always behold” the fact of the Father?
It may mean that they are constantly standing in his presence in heaven and able to communicate the needs of their charges to him. Alternately, based on the idea that angels are messengers (Greek, angelos = “messenger”) in the heavenly court, it may mean that whenever these angels seek access to the heavenly court, they are always granted it and allowed to present the needs to their charges to God.
What does the Church teach about guardian angels?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 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 [CCC 336].
Who has guardian angels?
It is considered theologically certain that each member of the faith has a special guardian angel from the time of baptism. This view is reflected in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which speaks of “each believer” having a guardian angel. This understanding is reflected in an Angelus address by Benedict XVI, who stated:
Dear friends, the Lord is ever close and active in humanity’s history and accompanies us with the unique presence of his Angels, whom today the Church venerates as “Guardian Angels”, that is, ministers of the divine care for every human being. From the beginning until the hour of death, human life is surrounded by their constant protection [Angelus, Oct. 2, 2011].