Who are they?
According to St Augustine “‘Angel’ is the name of their office not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office it is angel” (CCC 329). Angels are servants and messengers of God. They “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt.18:10). They are spiritual creatures with intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendour of their glory bears witness (CCC 330).
The angels are created to serve, for the sake of all those who are to obtain salvation (Heb.1:14). The son of man comes in his glory and all the angels with him. The angels belong to him, because they were created for him “for in him all things were created, through him and for him, in heaven and earth, visible and invisible…’ (Col 1:16, CCC 331).
Our beloved friends; guardian angels:
According to St Basil, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (St Basil, Adv. Eunomium III: PG 29, 656B). From infancy to death, a human being is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession (CCC 336). From creation, God in his infinite mercy and love, has appointed a guardian angel to guide and protect one through life and to lead one safely to am eternal home in heaven. This is the primary mission of our guardian angels. What the angel expects from us is conscious awareness of their presence. Express gratitude for his presence and watchful vigilance, salute them when you wake from sleep, beg them to enlighten you as you kneel to pray. Ask him to accompany you as you leave the house. Offer ejaculatory prayers to him at every hour. Pray the angelus at noon. Ask him to lead you back home as you travel back. Thank him for his companionship at night. This is what it means to be aware of the presence of the guardian angels in our lives.
What the guardian angel can do for you:
He is your life companion:
St Augustine assures us of the companionship of the angels; “the angels go in and out with us, having their eyes always fixed on us and upon us and upon all that we are doing. If we stop anywhere, they stop also, if we go forth to walk, they bear us company. If we journey into another country, they follow us, go where we will, by land or by sea, they are ever with us…”. (Guardian angels, our heavenly companion p.6) St Bernard urges all to have confidential recourse to the angels, no matter the danger; we have nothing to fear under the protection and guidance of our beloved angels.
He keeps you safe:
God promised Moses the protection of an angel “I will send my angel, who shall go before you and keep you in your journey and bring you into the place that I have prepared for you. Take notice of him, hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned: for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned and my name is in him. But if thou will hear his voice and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies and will afflict them that afflict thee” (Ex.23:20.)
For the Psalmist, “He shall put his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up so that you do not hurt your foot against a stone” (Ps. 91:11). When threatened by shipwreck, St Paul commended himself to the care of the angels “For an angel of God whose I am and whom I serve, stood by me this night saying: fear not, Paul… God has given thee all that sail with thee” (Act.27:23). With our angels by our side, our security is assured.
Others include: They preserve you from unknown dangers of the soul and body. They defend you against the temptations of evil spirits.
They inspire us with holy thoughts and prompt us to deeds of virtue in the Divine service
They warn us of spiritual dangers and admonish us when we have sinned. They unite with us in prayer and offer our prayers to God (cf. Tob.12:12). They defend us at the hour of death against the last attacks of our spiritual foes. They console the souls languishing in purgatory and conduct them to heaven when their faults have been fully expiated.
Conclusion: We praise God for his wisdom and love. The gift of the guardian angels proves the love of God in a special way to us and the eternal desire of God to offer us an eternal bliss after our pilgrimage here on earth. May the guardian angels intercede for us both now and forever and may God open us to this wonderful friendship with our secret friends, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Ndubisi is Secretary Youth Unit, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja