Today’s readings: Exodus 23:20-23 | Psalm 91 | Matthew 18:1-5, Matthew 18:10
This is one of my favorite memorial days of the year. Today we celebrate the Holy Guardian Angels. Each one of us has a Guardian Angel assigned to us by God. That angel prays for us and does their best to guide us and keep us close to Jesus. Our Guardian Angels are powerful spiritual beings who do everything possible to keep us from harm. If we would pray often to our Guardian Angels, we would really benefit from their advice and care for us. Today we celebrate that the angels keep us safe and lead us ultimately to God himself. The gift of our Guardian Angels is one of the most wonderful gifts we have from God!
I love the feast of the Guardian Angels, because my Guardian Angel was probably the first devotion that I learned. I remember my mother teaching me the prayer. Say it with me if you know it:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To watch and guard,
To rule and guide.
The Scriptural reference for today’s feast is summed up in the first line of the first reading. Hear it again:
See, I am sending an angel before you,
to guard you on the way
and bring you to the place I have prepared.
From the earliest days of the Church, there has always been the notion of an angel whose purpose was to guide people, to intercede for them before God, and to present them to God at death. This notion was then developed by the monks of the Church, with the help of St. Benedict, St. Bernard of Clairvaux and others. It is during this monastic period that devotion to the angels took its present form.
It used to be that people would move over on their seats to make room for their Guardian Angel! As amusing as that may be, the having an angel to guard and guide us is essential to our faith. The gift of the Guardian Angels is a sign of the love and mercy of God. Devotion to the Guardian Angels, then, is not just for when we are children. Adults should also, always feel free to call on their angels for intercession and guidance. We should continue to rely on that angel right up to death, when we strongly believe that our angel will present us to God. In the Rite of Christian Burial, there is a beautiful prayer for the person that tells us about that. It says:
“May the angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.”
So our Guardian angel is an important intercessor, and guides us all through our lives. I think people too often forget about their Guardian Angel, and I hope we can change that. With all the hard things happening in the world right now, I think we need our Guardian Angels more than ever. So I encourage you to say that Guardian Angel prayer every morning; I know I do!
May the Guardian Angels always intercede for us. And, as we hear in today’s Gospel, may our angels always look upon the face of our heavenly Father.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints.