Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory/My Faith/Teen Faith/Theology To Protect and Serve: The Truth About Guardian Angels by Mark Hart I had a conversation recently with a teenager who told me that they believe in angels but not in “guardian angels.” I was intrigued by the distinction. She said it was because she believed that God used angels to carry out His work, but that she didn’t think God would “waste an angel on her.” It was a sad beginning to a conversation that ended very joyfully. Sometimes it’s hard to believe God could be that active or that loving in our life. Truth is – He is. God is awesome like that. We need to remind ourselves of just what an awesome gift from God our guardian angel is – a gift that, too often, goes untapped. Yes, guardian angels really do exist! In fact, every year on October 2nd the Church celebrates a Feast Day in honor of Guardian Angels. As you’ve probably noticed, angels are mentioned constantly throughout the Bible. Three of the verses most commonly associated with guardian angels, in particular, are: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10 “God’s faithfulness is a protecting shield. You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that roams in darkness, nor the plague that ravages at noon. For God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” – Psalm 91:4-6, 11-12 “Thus says the Lord, ‘See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him. If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. My angel will go before you and…wipe them out.’” – Exodus 23:20-23 Now, too often we think of angels – these heavenly bodies – in earthly bodily terms, but angels are not human and, therefore, not bound by human constraints. Additionally, humans do not “become” angels when they die. You can become a saint, but not an angel. Many of us are taught about angels not from the Bible nor from meditations of the Saints, but from media. In fact, picture an angel in your mind right now. You saw two wings and a halo, right? Perhaps a white robe? Where does that mental picture come from? Maybe from a painting you’ve seen, or possibly a movie. Do you know that Scripture doesn’t always depict an angel as having two wings? We see six-winged and four-winged angels more than angels with just two (Isaiah 6:2,6; Ezekiel 1:6; Revelation 4:8). We see angels adorned in white and in light, but truthfully, our perception of angels comes more from the Hollywood depictions we’ve seen than from the word of God. (Like in movies such as Legion, which was monumentally bad theology, by the way …) When we are thinking or reading about angels, it’s vital that we push those stupid movie stereotypes out of our heads, because they negatively affect our truthful perception and reception of angelic intervention. Angels exist to do the will of God, to be His messengers, guides and protectors — defenders of God’s truth. It’s important, though, to remember that they are not to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10, 22:9), that’s not their role. Again, they exist for the sole purpose of praising and carrying out the will of God. Your guardian angel is one of God’s greatest gifts to you. They are a source of His power. They never leave your side yet they are constantly looking upon the face of God, too. Remember what Jesus said in that verse above from Matthew’s gospel. Guardian angels are not only real they are very active. You should invite yours into your day. Invite your angel to pray with you, to protect you, to help keep you focused on God and to protect you from evil and from harm. I still pray the Guardian angel prayer and the prayer of St. Michael the Archangel (both listed below) every night before I go to sleep. I pray them over each of my sleeping children as I bless them, too. Prayerfully consider the words of St. Angela Merici who said, “Remember that the devil doesn’t sleep, but seeks our ruin in a thousand ways.” Just because we go to sleep, doesn’t mean the devil rests or stops trying to pull us away from Jesus. As a fallen angel, the devil doesn’t need sleep … on the bright side, our guardian angels don’t need sleep, either so they can kick fallen angel butt 24/7. (see Revelation 12). Take a minute now to thank God for the gift of your guardian angel and invite that angel to pray with you. The more we become aware of the movement of angels around us, the more we’ll believe in God’s active presence in our lives. Sort of like a heavenly police force, guardian angels protect and serve. They protect (us) and serve (God), but they don’t eat donuts – just to be clear. Oh and for more on angels, see: Genesis 22:11-12, Genesis 24:7, 40; Acts 12:5-8, 11, 15; Psalms 34:7, Matthew 4, Acts 5:17-20, Acts 8:26. Also, check out what the Catechism says about guardian angels, in particular, in CCC 336. Guardian Angel prayer Oh angel of God, my guardian dear To whom God’s love commits me here Ever this night be at my side To light and to guard, to rule and to guide. Amen St. Michael Prayer St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.