Oct 2 – Memorial for The Guardian Angels
The term ‘guardian angels’ refers to the belief that each soul has an angel who is available to shepherd the soul through life, and help bring them to God.
Belief in the reality of angels, their mission as messengers of God, and Man’s interaction with them, goes back to the earliest times. Cherubim kept Adam and Eve from slipping back into Eden; angels saved Lot and helped destroy the cities of the plains; in Exodus, Moses follows an angel, and at one point an angel is appointed leader of Israel. Michael is mentioned at several points, Raphael figures large in the story of Tobit, and Gabriel delivered the Annunciation of the coming of Christ.
The concept of each soul having a personal guardian angel, is also an ancient one, and long accepted by the Church:
“See that you despise not one of these little ones [children]: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” – Jesus, Matthew 18:10
“How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” – St. Jerome in his commentary on Matthew
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14
The feast, celebrating the angels who helped bring us to God, began in many local calendars centuries ago, and was widely known by the 16th century. Pope Paul V placed a feast venerating the angels on the general calendar on 27 September 1608. Ferdinand of Austria requested that it be extended to all areas in the Holy Roman Empire.
Initially placed after the feast of Michael the Archangel, it was seen as a kind of supplement to that date. Pope Clement X elevated the feast, celebrated on 2 October, to an obligatory double for the whole Church. On 5 April 1883, Pope Leo XIII raised the feast to the rank of a double major.
- Patron Saint Index
“O angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom whose love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to rule and guard, to light and guide. Amen.” – Prayer to our guardian angel
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, the wine being my concern, I took up the wine and offered it to the king. Now I had never been downcast before. So the king said, ‘Why is your face so sad? You are not sick, surely? This must be a sadness of the heart.’ A great fear came over me and I said to the king, ‘May the king live for ever! How could my face be other than sad when the city where the tombs of my ancestors are lies in ruins, and its gates have been burnt down?’ ‘What’ the king asked ‘is your request?’ I called on the God of heaven and made this reply to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, and if you are satisfied with your servant, give me leave to go to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ tombs, and rebuild it.’ The king, with the queen sitting there beside him, said, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you return?’ So I named a date that seemed acceptable to the king and he gave me leave to go. I spoke to the king once more, ‘If it please the king, could letters be given me for the governors of Transeuphrates to allow me to pass through to Judah? And also a letter for Asaph, keeper of the king’s park, to supply me with timber for the gates of the citadel of the Temple, for the city walls and for the house I am to occupy?’ This the king granted me, for the kindly favour of my God was with me.
The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Anyone who welcomes a little child in my name welcomes me
Just stare into the eyes of a baby or a young child. Those eyes are full of innocence, purity and love. And perhaps cuteness.
I always feel that when I see a young child or a baby, I am looking into the face of God. We are aware that babies and young children are not going to hurt us; even if they do, it’s certainly not intentional nor spiteful. They are full of pure, unadulterated joy and love.
Jesus said that when we welcome a little child, we are in fact welcoming Him. But, what about for us adults? Does this mean that we are not welcoming Jesus when we welcome adults? I don’t think Jesus intended his phrase to be taken in its literal sense. I believe that we also welcome Jesus when we welcome adults who possess childlike, and not childish, faith in our Lord and God.
I recall one online article which described the differences between childlikeness and childishness. You can read it at http://www.catholic365.com/article/2618/are-we-childlike-or-childish.html, but I will attempt to summarise the key differences here and add my own as well. Childlikeness is when we have full trust in God, who is our Father and loves us unconditionally. It is when we delight over the small delights of God’s creation in this world, like the joy of seeing flowers bloom, as well as when we appreciate every single blessing which God has given us. It is also when we are excited to know what God has in store for us tomorrow, whether good or bad, because we know that He will always have our best interests in His heart. It is also when we look beyond people’s flaws and imperfections, see them for who they are as children of God, and love them as our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, childishness is when we become immature and self-centred. It is when we become angry and frustrated with God for not doing things the way we want them to happen. It is when we lose faith in Him and place our trust wrongly in worldly desires and things instead of our heavenly Father. It is when we stop treating others as children of God, belittling them and exploiting their weaknesses. That is not exactly how our Father would want us to behave, would He?
So, let us strive for childlikeness, and discard our childish behaviour, as we unite ourselves as loving children of God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to discard our childish behaviour and learn to be childlike in our faith and relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for being our Father, whom we can place our entire trust in You, as we know that You will never let us down and You always have our best interests in Your heart. Amen.