Tag: Guardian Angels

20 Incredible Things Our Guardian Angels Do For Us

20 Incredible Things Our Guardian Angels Do For Us

 

Imagine you had a bodyguard who was always with you. He did all the usual bodyguard things like protecting you from danger, warding off assailants, and generally keeping you safe in all situations. But he also did more than this: he offered you moral guidance, helped you become a stronger person, and led you to your ultimate calling in life.

We don’t have to imagine it. We already have such a bodyguard. Christian tradition calls them guardian angels. Their existence is supported by Scripture and both Catholics and Protestants believe in them.

But too often we neglect to tap this great spiritual resource. (I, for one, am certainly guilty of this!) In order to better enlist the aid of guardian angels, it might help to have a better appreciation of what they can do for us. Here are 20 things:

1. Ward off demons

Sometimes we visualize moral decision-making as a debate between a bad angel whispering in one ear and a good angel speaking wisely in the other. There is a truth to this: according to St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the roles of the guardian angels is to fight off demons (Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 113, Articles 2-6).

2. Protect us from harm

Guardian angels generally protect us from both spiritual and physical harm, according to Aquinas (Question 113, Article 5, Reply 3). This belief is rooted in Scripture. For example, Psalm 91:11-12 declares, “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

3. Strengthen us against temptation

Guardian angels do not just ward off evil, they also strengthen us so we can do it ourselves. As St. Bernard says in a sermon, “As often, therefore, as a most serious temptation is perceived to weigh upon you and an excessive trial is threatening, call to your guard, your leader, your helper in your needs, in your tribulation; cry to him and say: ‘Lord, save us; we perish!’”

4. Embolden us

St. Bernard also says that with angels such as these at our side we should have no fear. We should have the courage to live out our faith boldly and confront whatever life might throw our way. As he puts it, “Why should we fear under such guardians? Those who keep us in all our ways can neither be overcome nor be deceived, much less deceive. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; why do we tremble?”

5. Intervene miraculously to save us from trouble

Guardian angels not only ‘guard,’ they also can save us when we are already in trouble. This is illustrated by the story of Peter in Acts 12, when an angel helps break the apostle out of prison. The story suggests that it is his own personal angel that has intervened (see verse 15). Of course, we cannot count on such miracles. But it’s an added comfort to know that they are possible.

6. Guard us from birth

Church Fathers once debated whether guardian angels were assigned at birth or at baptism. St. Jerome argued decisively for the former. His basis was Matthew 18:10, which is a crucially important Scriptural passage that supports the existence of guardian angels. In the verse Jesus says, “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.” The reason that we get guardian angels at birth is that their aid is associated with our nature as rational beings, rather than belonging to the order of grace, according to Aquinas (Question 113, Article 5, Answer).

7. Guard all of us—including unbelievers 

This conclusion follows from the above. Aquinas also makes this clear in explaining that God never leaves any of us, including sinners. As the great dogmatic theologian Ludwig Ott explained, “According to the general teaching of the theologians, however, not only every baptized person, but every human being, including unbelievers, has his own special guardian angel from his birth.” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also taught that guardian angels are “ministers of the divine care for every human being.” (Thanks to Jimmy Akin for highlighting these sources.)

8. Remind us of the dignity of persons

This follows from all that has been said before. It is particularly evident from Matthew 18:10 where Jesus instructs us not to ‘despise’ the ‘little ones’ because they have angels watching over them. (I’m particularly indebted to Protestant preacher John Piper for pointing this out.) As St. Jerome puts it, “The worth of souls is so great that from birth each one has an angel assigned to him for protection.” 

Piper emphasizes how the presence of guardian angels should lead us to a greater respect for our fellow Christians: “Therefore don’t despise this simple, unimpressive disciple of Jesus! Let his angelic entourage remind you whose son he is.”

9. Remind us of God’s care for all

Aquinas explains how the angels operate in accordance with God’s providential plan for all men (Question 113, Article 6, Answer). It follows that these angels serve as a reminder of His care for us.

10. Bring our needs to God

Akin says that guardian angels act as intercessors who bring our requests directly to God based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 about angels beholding the face of God.

11. Bring us closer to God

It follows from the above that guardian angels also aid in bringing us nearer to God. Even when God seems distant, just remember that the guardian angel assigned to you personally is at the same time beholding God directly, as the Catholic Encyclopedia notes.

12. Move us to the good

Guardian angels also move us to the good. As Aquinas writes, “It is moreover manifest that as regards things to be done human knowledge and affection can vary and fail from good in many ways; and so it was necessary that angels should be deputed for the guardianship of men, in order to regulate them and move them to good” This includes prompting us to perform good works, according to Aquinas. (See Question 113, Article 1, Answer and Article 4, Objection 3.)

13. Reinforce God’s commands

According to Aquinas, one of the roles of our angelic guardians is helping us use our reason to pursue virtue. In particular, he says the angels help us in developing prudence by serving as God’s “universal instructor,” passing on God’s precepts (Question 113, Article 1, Reply 2).

14. Illuminate the truth

Angels “propose the intelligible truth to men” through sensible things, according to Aquinas (Question 111, Article 1, Answer). Although he does not elaborate on this point, this it is a basic teaching of the Church that the material world points to invisible spiritual realities. As St. Paul says in Romans 1:20, “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”

15. Strengthen our minds

A second way that angels enlighten us, Aquinas says, is by reinforcing our intellects. As he puts it, “[T]he human intellect as the inferior, is strengthened by the action of the angelic intellect” (Question 111, Article 1).

16. Communicate through our imagination 

In addition to working through our senses and intellects, our guardian angels also influence us through our imaginations, according to Aquinas, who gives the example of Joseph’s dreams (Question 111, Article 3, On the Contrary and Answer). But it might not be something as obvious as a dream; it could also be through more subtle means like a ‘phantasm,’ which could be defined as an image brought to the senses or the imagination (Question 111: Article 1, Answer; definition adapted from the Dictionary of Scholastic Philosophy by Bernard Wueller, SJ).

17. Influence our wills

Angels cannot directly move the will, but, according to Aquinas, they can indirectly influence it through our senses and intellect, as stated above (Question 111, Article 2 , Answer). This means that our guardian angels influence every part of our being for the better—our senses, intellect, and will.

18. Aid in our salvation

The ultimate goal of all that guardian angels do, is to aid in our salvation, according to Aquinas. “Angels are sent to minister, and that efficaciously indeed, for those who shall receive the inheritance of salvation, if we consider the ultimate effect of their guardianship, which is the realizing of that inheritance,” Aquinas writes (Question 113, Article 5, Reply 1). Here he is drawing from Hebrews 1:14, which states, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

19. Remind us of our ultimate goal

Inspired by Christ’s words in Matthew 18:10, St. Augustine suggests that guardian angels remind us that our ultimate goal is the beatific vision of God: “As, then, they see, so shall we also see; but not yet do we thus see. Wherefore the apostle uses the words cited a little ago, Now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. This vision is reserved as the reward of our faith; and of it the Apostle John also says, When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2. By the face of God we are to understand His manifestation, and not a part of the body similar to that which in our bodies we call by that name” (City of GodBook 22, Chapter 29).

20. Never leave us 

Guardian angels assume their duties at our birth and maintain them up to our death. For Aquinas, this is just an extension of the broader truth that we never completely leave God’s care, even in sin and doubt: “Now it is evident that neither man, nor anything at all, is entirely withdrawn from the providence of God: for in as far as a thing participates being, so far is it subject to the providence that extends over all being. God indeed is said to forsake man, according to the ordering of His providence, but only in so far as He allows man to suffer some defect of punishment or of fault. In like manner it must be said that the angel guardian never forsakes a man entirely…” (Question 113, Article 6, Answer).

Guardian Angels: 11 Amazing Facts Every Mortal Should Know 

Guardian Angels: 11 Amazing Facts Every Mortal Should Know 

Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity

We owe much to our Guardian Angels, who most of the time guard and protect us without our knowledge

“See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).

October 2 is observed in the Catholic Church as the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. In 1670, Pope Clement X established this day in the universal calendar as a day to honor the angels who protect us each day.

While most of the attention this day is given to personal Guardian Angels, it is a tradition in the Church (taught by theologians such as Saint Thomas Aquinas) that all countries, cities, dioceses, and parishes have their own Guardian Angel.

They are fascinating creatures of God, shrouded with great mystery. On occasion newspapers will report on miracles when someone is saved from an accident by a mysterious figure, often never seen again.

We owe much to our Guardian Angels, who most of the time guard and protect us without our knowledge. They intervene quietly, fulfilling their task as humbly as possible.

To help us appreciate these “heavenly helpers,” here are 5 amazing facts about our Guardian Angels:


1) Who is a Guardian angel?

A guardian angel is a pure spirit (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.

Note that ‘Angel’ is the name of their office. They are actually pure spirits! 


2) Who has a Guardian Angel?

Every person in the world has a Guardian Angel (whether Christian or not). It is believed by theologians and is confirmed in the YOUCAT that “Every person receives from God a Guardian Angel” (n. 55).

This is consistent with Sacred Scripture, the teachings of Saints Thomas Aquinas, Basil and Jerome as well as experiences from non-Christians who believe they were helped by a Guardian Angel.

Mike Aquilina writes about such an experience from a friend he knew in his book Angels of God:

“A friend of mine, a noted Harvard-trained philosopher, was an unbeliever as a young man. One day he was swimming in the ocean, and the undertow swept him away. He knew he was drowning, with no hope of rescue, when suddenly a strong arm grabbed him and towed him to shore. His rescuer was a big muscle-bound guy. When my sputtering friend tried to thank him, the guy laughed at him—and then vanished. This marked a milestone on my friend’s road to conversion.”

Although it is certain that the faithful have guardian angels, it is commonly thought that they are even more widely available. Ludwig Ott explains:

According to the general teaching of the theologians, however, not only every baptized person, but every human being, including unbelievers, has his own special guardian angel from his birth [Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 120].

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]. 


3) 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).

4) What does Jesus mean when he says these angels “always behold” the face 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 of their charges to God.


5) What does the Church teach about Guardian Angels?

Guardian Angels are appointed at the beginning of life. As the Catechism explains, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession” (CCC 336). This statement leads some to believe (Saint Anselm for example) that angels are appointed at the very moment of the union of body and soul in the womb. If true (it is not dogmatically declared and is therefore up for debate), it would follow that women who are pregnant have two Guardian Angels watching over them and their child.


6) Guardian Angels have names, but God gives those names to them.

The Catholic Church has instructed us that:

“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.” (Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, The Directory of Popular Piety, n. 217, 2001).

The reasoning behind this is that a name contains a certain amount of authority over another person. If I know your name I can call you whenever I want and can feel a certain amount of authority over you. We do not have authority over our Guardian Angels. They only report to one commander: God Himself. We can ask for their assistance or help, but we should not feel like they are at our beck and call.

The Church then discourages us from naming our Guardian Angels as we may receive a name in prayer, but it may not be divinely inspired. It could be influenced by the devil or by our own human thoughts. We have only three names of angels confirmed in Scripture and so any other name we receive is difficult to confirm as inspired by God.


7) Are there dangers to watch out for in venerating angels?

The Congregation stated:

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 demons, 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 [op. cit., 217].


8) We do not become Guardian Angels when we die. 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no way for us to transform into an angel after death. When we die, we may be separated from our bodies for the moment, but will be reunited with them at the end of time. We don’t become an angel while we wait. All Guardian Angels were created at the beginning of time in a single moment of creation.

Remember the words of God to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

God had a Guardian Angel in mind for you when he created the world.


9) Guardian Angels are here to help us.

The Catechism describes a Guardian Angel as a “shepherd” who is meant to protect us and lead us into everlasting life. Their chief goal is to help us get to heaven, and we are encouraged to pray to them on a daily basis, asking their help in every need.


10) How can we thank them for the help they give us?

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments explained:

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 [Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 216].


11) What is the Angele Dei prayer?

Translated into English, it reads:

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,
rule and guide.

Amen.

This prayer is particular suited for devotion to guardian angels, since it is addressed directly to one’s own guardian angel.

SAINT OF THE DAY: Guardian Angels

SAINT OF THE DAY: Guardian Angels


Feast Day: October 2nd
Today we celebrate God’s messengers who protect us human beings. We see them throughout the Bible. Angels delivered messages from God, protected people from dangers and rescued them. The New Testament Acts of the Apostles tells in chapter 12 how St. Peter was led out of prison by an angel. The belief that we each have a guardian angel has been common to Christians for many centuries.

The picture of a guardian angel that we often see is an angel protecting a little child as he or she walks over a small bridge. In 1608, Pope Paul V added today’s feast to the calendar of saints and celebrations. It is very encouraging to know and believe that we each have an angel guarding and protecting us. Our guardian angel is a gift from our loving God.

We can say this brief prayer as often as we would like to throughout the day:

Angel of God,my guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrusts me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

“And so the angels are here; they are at your side; they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.” -St. Bernard.

Amazing Real Life Encounters With Guardian Angels

Amazing Real Life Encounters With Guardian Angels

Guardian angels exist. They are mentioned in the Bible and several people have had amazing encounters with the divine beings.

One online community came together to share how guardian angels saved their lives or kept them from severe, life-altering situations.

Across several Reddit threads, several users offered their personal experiences, which resulted in others commenting theirs as well.

User lightenergy shared: “When I was in my 20s, I spent 4 years traveling the world. I was in South Africa, just outside Durban, and a friend had taken me on his motorbike to his favorite waterfall.

“We had both been swimming, but I got cold, so I went to sit on a patch of green grass. To get there, I had to step from the sand I was on, over a log then across a bit to the grass.
“I was walking medium speed, and lifted one foot to step over the log when a VERY loud booming masculine voice shouted “STOP.” Except the shout wasn’t heard with my ears, it was INSIDE my head.

“Hard to explain. Also, there was nobody else around except Tim and me, and he was still happily swimming. I stopped, wondering what had just happened. I still had my foot in the air above the log.

“I looked around, and spotted what I thought was a leaf waving about 6 inches from my big toe. It took me a few seconds to realise that it wasn’t a leaf, but a snake. A Black Mamba.

“He had his head raised, and was licking the air right near my toe. He was waiting to see what my next move was to be, and he had seen me long before I saw him. I slowly backed up and walked very carefully backward to where Tim was.
“I have no explanation [for] the voice that I heard, except that it was so loud and was inside my head rather than heard with my ears, and it came at a time when I didn’t feel in any danger at all – in fact, I was very calm and happy. I feel that it was my guardian angel who shouted at me to stop, as I would have stepped right on the snake. My guardian angel saved my life.”

Guardian angels interact with people all the time – whether their voices stop us from taking another step or they physically appear to us.

Reddit user babylima shared: “A few months after my best friend overdosed on oxycontin, I put myself in a psych ward since I wasn’t taking it too well. I remember one night was especially bad and I couldn’t relax. My doctors ave me an Ativan and let me lay down.

“About 30 minutes later, an African-American nurse with her hair wrapped up, named Angela (being totally serious) came in, asked if I was okay and then started praying with me. She held my hand and we said the Lord’s Prayer until I fell asleep.

“The next morning I went to the nurse’s station to thank her, and the nurses there said there was nobody there by that name or anyone who fit the description. It was crazy.”

Sometimes, our guardian angels don’t even interact with us, but we still benefit from their divine interventions.

One user, lightstep, wrote: “A friend of mine told be about an experience his grandmother had when she was home alone once, in the middle of the day someone knocked on her door and when she went to answer it she was greeted by a man with [a] knife ready to kill her and loot the place, but when he saw her, he went pale and ran, he was later caught and questioned about why he ran, and his response was “when the door opened I saw two large and strong men standing behind her” and to this day my friend swears that it must have been two angels sent to protect her.”

Psalm 91:11 tells us, “he has given his angels orders about you to guard you wherever you go. They will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone. You will walk upon wild beast and adder, you will trample young lions and snakes.”

The Bible is clear: We are God’s beloved children and we are protected by his powerful angels.

Source: catholicsay

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