Today is the feast of the Guardian Angels. The first thing that comes to mind for me, and probably for you, is the famous image of an angel protecting a child as he or she walks across a bridge. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of “each believer” having a guardian angel, a special guardian from the time of baptism to accompany us through life. Benedict XVI in an Angelus Address on October 2, 2011 called guardian angels “ministers of the divine care for every human being. From the beginning until the hour of death, human life is surrounded by their constant protection.”

Therefore, on this feast, we are celebrating our faith in God’s enduring love and his providential care extended to us each and every day until life’s end. Some of the saints had the blessing to actually see their guardian angel. Whether we can see our angel or not, belief in the guardian angel who accompanies us through life is an act of faith in the God who accompanies us on our way through life and into eternity. We can pray to them for assistance, or we can simply speak with our angel as with a friend.

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In the Gospel, Jesus states: “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.”

Our guardian angels remind us that our eternal home, the destination to which we are journeying under their protection, is heaven. Saint Bernard said that we have only to follow our angels, to stay close to them, and then at our death we shall dwell with them in heaven.

I never fail to be moved to tears at the end of the Funeral liturgy when those of us who remain on earth gather around the body of our dear sister and sing this farewell hymn from the Rite for Christian Burial:

“May the angels lead you into paradise;may the martyrs come to welcome youand take you to the holy city,the new and eternal Jerusalem.”

Our guardian angel is a protector, a shepherd who leads us into life. In a way, when we are devoted to our guardian angel we are beginning on earth the life that will be ours in eternity when we will stand in the company of the angels singing with them to the glory to God.

Our veneration of the angels in heaven transforms our hearts in three ways:

It leads us to honor and respect ourselves and others who are watched over through the goodness of God by an angel from heaven. We and others are never alone. We and others are never outside of the watchful eye of this angel who sees everything.It leads us to gratitude that God has given us a companion through life to enlighten us, defend us, guide us, and intercede for us, and ultimately to bring about our total dedication to God’s glory in our life.It leads us to hope. The fact that everyone has a guardian angel reminds us that the history of the world is in God’s hands and that the angels who watch over us are at work in each person’s heart to turn them to truth, goodness and beauty, that they might make decisions that will allow God’s loving plan for the world to unfold.

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Our guardian angels are always before the face of the Father. We can turn to our own guardian angel in every need, and we can always pray to the guardian angels of others. When someone needs a reminder, comfort, conversion, or strength, turn to their guardian angel because this heavenly minister is right beside this person wherever they are and in whatever situation they find themselves. When you cannot be near someone in need, their angel is always right there with them.

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