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.
Like many parents, I pray this simple prayer with my children each morning as we begin our day. It's comforting to know that we have this supernatural beings around to help us and protect us as we go through life. Plus, I know that both my children and I need all the extra help we can get! Sometimes I think that my boys' guardian angels must be exhausted by the time that my children go to bed at night.
October 2nd is the Feast of the Guardian Angels. It has been formally celebrated by the Church since the 17th century, but belief in guardian angels predates Christianity. According to www.newadvent.org, pagans such as Plutarch and Neo-Platonists such as Plotinius acknowledged the existence of guardian angels. The Assyrians and Babylonians also believed in guardian angels. In the Old Testament, angels make guest appearances. Angels visit Abraham and deliver Lot from danger. In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses that “my angel shall go before you” (Exodus 32:34) and Psalm 90:11 states that “For he has given his angels charge over you; to keep you in all your ways.”
The New Testament offers much more evidence for belief in individual guardian angels. In Matthew 18:10, Christ refers to children's guardian angels: “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.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church also confirms that “From infancy to death human life is surrounded by [angels'] watchful care and intercession. 'Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.'” (CCC 336) Catholic.org states that “the role of the guardian angels is both to guide us to good thoughts, works and words, and to preserve us from evil.”
Belief in guardian angels, therefore, has much to recommend it. I truly believe that there are angels that walk beside each one of us, however it is strange to try to picture my particular angel or those of my children. I wonder what their names are and what they look like. Who else have they watched over? I imagine that we actually get to meet our guardian angels once they deliver us safely to the other side of life. In the meantime, I ask for my angel's help each day and trust that he or she is looking out for me. I sometimes even ask my angel to wake me up at a certain time if I want to get up early. My angel has never failed.
The Feast of the Guardian Angels is a good time to remember our guardian angels, especially if one hasn't given them much thought in a while. It is an opportunity to say 'thank you” to them for their faithful service, as well as to say “thank you” to God for providing them in the first place. God in His wisdom knew we could use the extra assistance!