Feast of Guardian Angels


Matthew 18: 1-5, 10
Ex 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

In today’s 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).

The Bible is full of passages that confirm the existence of heavenly hosts who serve as messengers and protectors of God’s followers. Although the concept of a ‘guardian angel’ assigned to every Christian had 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. A passage in today’s Responsorial Psalm (11) also says: “God commands His angels to guard you in all your ways.” The writer of Hebrews, 1:14 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 write: “how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” St. Bernard, 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.”

This leads us to the realization that we can never have any claim to greatness, since we are totally dependent on our guardian angels for protection from evil, just as little children are dependent on their parents and guardians. Jesus taught His disciples that it is not power or possession that determines one’s greatness, but the humility to serve and obey, and to admit our unworthiness before God asking for His grace and forgiveness. For only then can we appreciate and understand the problems and pains of the poor and pitiful, and show them the same mercy that God has shown us. And only then can we be pleasing to God Who loves all His little ones.

May today’s Gospel passage inspire us to follow Christ’s example of humility and self-giving, so that we may have peace of mind and the confidence that in facing difficult situations, we can be like the “trusting little ones” whom the Lord will guide and protect 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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