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Angel of God My Guardian Dear

Submitted by on Thursday, 2 October 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Job 19:21-27
  • Resp. Psalm: Psalm 27:2-9,13-14
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:1-5,10

"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."

It is interesting that a text that has been used by the Church as a basis for the belief in guardian angels is, in Matthew, associated with the text about spiritual childhood. The Christian is called "little one" by Jesus not only because he/she is "little" compared to him (the big brother) or because in the he/she is among the weak and powerless, but also because, the "little one" puts him/herself in the arms of God’s Providence. It is this dependence on Divine Providence (see Matthew 5-7) which justifies Matthew’s addition here of the saying about the angels of the little ones constantly in the presence of God.

The Book of Tobit is also another source for the belief in guardian angels.  Here it is Rafael who accompanies Tobias in an arduous journey that brought this latter wealth, love and a medicine for his blind father.

The late John Paul II1 spoke about the ministry of angels towards "those who possess salvation" in these words

According to Revelation, the angels who participate in the life of the Trinity in the light of glory are also called to play their part in the history of the salvation of man, in the moments established by divine Providence "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to possess salvation?,” asks the author of the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:14).

This is believed and taught by the Church, on the basis of Sacred Scripture, from which we learn that the task of the good angels is the protection of people and solicitude for their salvation.

We find these experiences in various passages of Sacred Scripture, like for example, Ps. 90 which has already been quoted several times: "He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone" (Psalm 90:11-12). Jesus Himself, speaking of children and warning against giving them scandal, refers to "their angels" (Matthew 18:10). Besides this, He attributes to the angels the function of witnesses in the last divine judgement about the fate of those who have acknowledged or denied Christ: "Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man likewise will acknowledge him before the angels of God, but whoever denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9; cf. Revelation 3:5).

These words are significant because, if the angels take part in the judgement of God, then they are interested in the life of man. This interest and participation seem to be accentuated in the eschatological discourse, in which Jesus has the angels appear in the Parousia, that is, in the definitive coming of Christ at the end of history ( cf. Mt. 24.31; 25:31-41).

Among the books of the New Testament, it is especially the Acts of the Apostles that show us some facts that bear witness to the solicitude of the angels for man and for his salvation.

Thus the angel of God liberates the Apostles from the prison (cf Acts 5:18-20 and first of all Peter, when he was threatened with death at the hands of Herod (cf. Acts 12:5-10). Or he guides the activity of Peter with regard to the centurion Cornelius, the first pagan to be converted (Acts 10:3-8,11:1-12), and analogously the activity of the deacon Philip along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26-29).

From these few facts which we have cited as examples, we understand how the Church could come to the conviction that God has entrusted to the angels a ministry in favor of people Therefore the Church confesses her faith in the guardian angels, venerating them in the liturgy with an appropriate feast and recommending recourse to their protection by frequent prayer, as in the invocation "Angel of God." This prayer seems to draw on the treasure of the beautiful words of St. Basil: "Every one of the faithful has beside him an angel as tutor and pastor, to lead him to life"’ 2.

Job 19:21-27
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
21Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me.
22Why do you persecute me as God, and glut yourselves with my flesh?
23Who will grant me that my words may be written? Who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book?
24With an iron pen and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with an instrument in flint stone.
25For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth.
26And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I will see my God.
27Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this my hope is laid up in my bosom.
Psalm 27:2-9,13-14
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2Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh. My enemies that trouble me, have themselves been weakened, and have fallen.
3If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.
4One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.
5For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.
6He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies. I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.
7Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me and hear me.
8My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
9Turn not away thy face from me; decline not in thy wrath from thy servant. Be thou my helper, forsake me not; do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour.
13I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
14Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.
Matthew 18:1-5,10
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1At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven?
2And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them,
3And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.
5And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.
10See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Hebrews 1:14
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14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?
Psalm 90:11-12
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
11Who knoweth the power of thy anger, and for thy fear
12Can number thy wrath? So make thy right hand known: and men learned in heart, in wisdom.
Matthew 18:10
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10See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
Luke 12:8-9
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8And I say to you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.
9But he that shall deny me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.
Revelation 3:5
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5He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Acts 5:18-20
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18And they laid hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19But an angel of the Lord by night opening the doors of the prison, and leading them out, said:
20Go, and standing speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
Acts 12:5-10
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5Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him.
6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him: and a light shined in the room: and he striking Peter on the side, raised him up, saying: Arise quickly. And the chains fell off from his hands.
8And the angel said to him: Gird thyself, and put on thy sandals. And he did so. And he said to him: Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9And going out, he followed him, and he knew not that it was true which was done by the angel: but thought he saw a vision.
10And passing through the first and the second ward, they came to the iron gate that leadeth to the city, which of itself opened to them. And going out, they passed on through one street: and immediately the angel departed from him.
Acts 10:3-8,11
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3This man saw in a vision manifestly, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him: Cornelius.
4And he, beholding him, being seized with fear, said: What is it, Lord? And he said to him: Thy prayers and thy alms are ascended for a memorial in the sight of God.
5And now send men to Joppe, and call hither one Simon, who is surnamed Peter:
6He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. He will tell thee what thou must do.
7And when the angel who spoke to him was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a soldier who feared the Lord, of them that were under him.
8To whom when he had related all, he sent them to Joppe.
11And he saw the heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending, as it were a great linen sheet let down by the four corners from heaven to the earth:
Acts 8:26-29
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
26Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza: this is desert.
27And rising up, he went. And behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch, of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore.
28And he was returning, sitting in this chariot, and reading Isaias the prophet.
29And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

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  1. Catechism on the Angels, General Audience of August 6, 1986 []
  2. cf. St. Basil, Adv. Eunonium, III, 1; cf. also St. Thomas, Summa Theol. I, q.11, a.3 []

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