It is a truth of faith that God’s infinite power of creation has created besides us other persons of a spiritual nature. This is a startling idea: here, this earth of the unending cosmos with all its stars, their uncountable courses; here this earth with natural evolution and natural catastrophes, with its humankind and its history replete with greatness and averageness, victories and defeats, laughter and crying, pleasure and suffering — and in the midst of all this, faith speaks: all this, the stars, the earth, and humankind in its entirety is only a small part of that creation which God’s almighty word has called into existence, so that it might reveal his eternal power and wisdom.
Besides this there is an unsurveyable world of spirits with a life, in comparison with which, all earthly events are like a shadow; spirits with a life filled with thunderous victories and unlimited happiness, but also with a life leading into the destroying judgment of the wrath of the infinitely holy one. And from all these luminous worlds of roaring life and blinding light not a glimmer penetrates down into the depths of our material poverty; only faith informs us, only God’s word impinges on our ears so that we know that the spirit, the moral deed, our relationship with God, is the ultimate and most important reality; that every care for body and life, for bread and earthly welfare, is finally only provisional, so much so that God could create his entire world of spirits where all these things are lacking that so easily seem to make up life for us, and where only issue is at stake: God and his honor.
We are related to these remote spirits by reason of our spiritual, personal souls that are immediate to God; we are related in this essential and decisive factor: just as they, so we are also created to know God, to serve him, and so to bring about our salvation. And their affinity to us has increased by the fact that God’s wisdom has willed that the content of their life also extends into our earthly days in prayer and help, that they are our guardian angels and so are, as it were, caught into the everydayness of our pilgrimage in the dust of this earth. And for this reason, they are also a model for us, given to us for imitation. Two passages in the scriptures tell us how they are supposed to be examples for us.
The first passage is the statement of Jesus: “Their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Certainly, this is a statement that announces the victory after the battle or the reward for persevering, and not the battle itself. The good angels are with God; they have entered into the land of the eternal peace, of eternal rest and security. Their life is exultant now with the eternal surge of the divine life in an eternal today. Their spirits are immersed in the infinity of God, their hearts are filled with the unspeakable jubilation of those who have discovered their eternal goal.
But we are still distant, pilgrims still on the way of the cross of this earth, far from the Lord. However, this still means that for us our journey is in heaven, and if we are commanded to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect, then the command to be as perfect as his angels is not an exaggeration anymore. And so it is also true of us that we are supposed always to look upon the face of the Father. We do this when our journey is before his face, when we, joined with him by grace, temples of the triune God, are his children in whose hearts the Spirit of God dwells and prays. We look upon his face when we accomplish all things for his honor, if we eat or drink or do anything else, if we live or die, if all we do is done in grace as an expression of our love for him; if we take upon ourselves our entire daily labor with its pettiness and cares and sufferings as the will of God, as his disposing, and as proof that we seek only him in all things.
When a person makes his way through life in this way, then two are always moving along the same street: the guardian angel and the human person, and both look on their own toward God, toward the one who is the content of eternal life for both. And soon enough, there comes then for human beings too the hour when their looking toward the face of the Father is no longer struggle and perseverance, but victory and eternal reward.
Yet another statement do we read in the scriptures about the angels: “They are ministering spirits, sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation.” They are servants for human beings, messengers of whom it is said that they bear the prayers of the just as in golden vessels before the throne of God, join their prayer to ours, and protect us on our way. In this way every person should be a guardian angel for the other. We are all one mysterious body of Christ, members of one another, who have joys and sorrows to share. If one member becomes better, it is a blessing for all, and each evil deed is also an injustice to each member.
How much more then every person has the office of guardian angel to those whom God has specially entrusted to them, to those who go together with us along the path of life. Their service, to which we are sent forth, is a service unto eternal salvation. Because we are not just supposed to help others in regard to earthly welfare, but for the inheritance of eternal salvation, then everything we do for our neighbor has a special responsibility and a particular consecratedness and dignity.
And this can be anything direct or indirect done in a good attitude and genuine love of neighbor, whether it be only a drink of water or a friendly word. Everything like this can become guardian angel service. But if it is guardian angel service, then it is service of God; then, when seen and done from a this-worldly viewpoint, even the most external activity becomes divine service or worship. The more even our external activity is penetrated by these thoughts, the more the often painfully perceived tension between the multiplicity and the fragmented character of external obligations and the quest for God alone is overcome. The more we become like the angels who are always in the service of those for whose sake they should inherit salvation, and who, even so, never stop looking upon the face of the Father in heaven.
Feast of The Holy Guardian Angels!
Oct. 2, The Holy Guardian Angels. The mission of the Guardian Angels is, as Saint Paul tells us, to serve the future heirs of salvation. Every kingdom, country, diocese, church and religious order has its protecting Guardian Angel. So has every person. Each bishop of the Catholic Church has two Guardian Angels. Our Guardian Angel is given us at the moment of birth, stays with us all through life, comforts us in Purgatory, and escorts us, if we are saved, into Heaven. There is a special angel in each church to record all distractions and irreverences that occur there. The greatest joy any of us can give our Guardian Angel is to receive Holy Communion and make our breast a tabernacle of the Eternal God before Whom this angel can adore. Many of the saints saw their Guardian Angels. Saint Rose of Lime did, and so did Saint Gemma Galgani. And so did Saint Frances of Rome, Saint Margaret of Cortona and Saint Gridget of Sweden. A great Pope, Saint Gregory the Great, was tenderly devoted to his Guardian Angel. Saint Catherine of Siena saw her Guardian Angel. Saint Francis de Sales had, as one of his special devotions, reverence for the Holy Angels who have charge of the care of the tabernacle in every Catholic Church.
There are nine choirs of angels, and three hierarchies. These choirs and hierarchies are: first hierarchy, Angels, Archangels and Principalities; second hierarchy, Powers, Virtues and Dominions; third hierarchy, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. This is in the order of ascent. It is from the first hierarchy, Angels, Archangels and Principalities; that guardians are chosen by God for man. Angels are for individuals. Archangels are for parishes, churches and religious communities. And Principalities are for provinces, countries and nations. Saint Augustine says, “Go where we will, our angels are always with us.” Saint Jerome says, “So sublime is the dignity of the human soul that from its birth there is appointed to each one a Guardian Angel.” And Saint Bernard says, “Make the holy angels your friends. No matter how weak we may be, or lowly our condition, or how great the dangers which surround us, we have nothing to fear under the protection of these guardians.” In every difficulty, danger and temptation, Saint Bernard urges us to invoke our Guardian Angel
Your Guardian Angel
Psalm 91:11 ESV / 237 helpful votes
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Psalm 34:7 ESV / 77 helpful votes
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, ‘These are they whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.’
And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. …
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,
And to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
Daniel 6:22 ESV / 16 helpful votes
My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
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 is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, …
Hebrews 1:6 ESV / 13 helpful votes
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Luke 16:22 ESV / 13 helpful votes
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,
Daniel 12:1 ESV / 13 helpful votes
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. …
Job 38:7 ESV / 12 helpful votes
When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Hebrews 1:7 ESV / 10 helpful votes
Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
Psalm 99:1 ESV / 9 helpful votes
The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
John 10:9 ESV / 7 helpful votes
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Jude 1:9 ESV / 6 helpful votes
But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
Jude 1:6 ESV / 6 helpful votes
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Luke 1:26 ESV / 6 helpful votes
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” …
Acts 1:8 ESV / 5 helpful votes
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. …
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, …
A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. …
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. …
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, …
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”