The Feast of the Guardian Angels

Matthew 18: 1-5,10
Exo 23: 20-23 / Psa 91

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.
(Matthew 18:10)

Dear Guardian Angel, be my guide
That I may never be misled;
Please always be here at my side,
To guide me in right paths to tread.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; 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.” (Matthew 18:1-5,10)

Reflection

There have been many near-death incidents in my life when I attribute my salvation to my guardian angel. My late mother related that when I was just a year old she noticed that I was missing and the wooden gate of our house’s steep stairway was wide open. She found me playing at the foot of the stairs. She said my guardian angel surely must have prevented my fall. Since then I have always believed in the presence of this heavenly creature. And this belief in his protection has been fortified by the number of times I was snatched from the jaws of death when I called out to God for help. Most prominent of these incidents was when I was almost electrocuted when the branch of a tree I was climbing touched a high-voltage naked wire.

The Bible is replete with passages confirming the existence of angels who serve as “messengers from heaven”, and protectors of God’s followers. Although the concept of a ‘guardian angel’ assigned to every Christian has not been a definitive doctrine of the Catholic Church, this passage in Matthew 18:10 has been commonly cited by theologians to support this idea. Another verse we can cite is Psalm 91:11: “God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways.” The writer of Hebrews, 1:14 also said: “Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” This inspired St. Jerome to say: “how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” St. Basil the Great taught that “each and every member of the faithful has a guardian angel to protect, guard and guide them through life.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who promoted devotion to the guardian angels, cited them as proof “that heaven denies us nothing that assists us”, therefore, “these celestial spirits have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us and to guide us.”

In the first reading, God told His Chosen People, “Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Give heed to him and hearken to his voice, do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression; for my authority resides in him” (Ex. 23:20-21).

As faithful followers of Christ, today’s short Gospel passage gives us the peace of mind and confidence that in facing difficult situations, we can be “trusting little ones” that the Lord guides and protects through the ministry of His holy angels.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrusts you here; ever this day be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. Father God, thank You for keeping me safe and free from evil with the presence of my guardian angel. Amen.

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