Do Catholics really believe in guardian angels? What is this belief based on?
Yes, Catholics really do believe in guardian angels. Every year, the Church, in one of her most ancient feasts, sets aside October 2nd to honor these angelic beings who protect us from spiritual and physical harm and inspire us to do good. We see in the Old Testament that God told Moses, “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… my authority resides in him” (Exodus 23:20-21).
The Catholic Church has long believed that Jesus Himself showed us the existence of guardian angels when He tells us in Matthew 18:10, “See that you never despise one of these little ones; for I assure you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father.” More than anything, our angelic guardians are entrusted with helping us to come to know and love God in this life. This includes every human person, not just Catholics!
Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about angels:
CCC # 332: “Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus Himself.”
CCC # 333: “From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all God's angels worship Him.' Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: ‘Glory to God in the highest!’ They protect Jesus in His infancy, serve Him in the desert, strengthen Him in His agony in the garden, when He could have been saved by them from the hands of His enemies as Israel had been. Again, it is the angels who ‘evangelize’ by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at His judgment.”
The guardian angels are truly our best friends on this earth, and yet, we ignore them so much. Beside each one of us stands an angel given to us by God to watch over us our whole life (CCC #336). How many times have we escaped danger and wondered in amazement how in the world it happened. Probably it was your guardian angel! We need to acknowledge them in our lives, so that they might be able to help us even more.
Every mother should teach her child this beautiful prayer: “Angel of God, my guardian dear; to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide.”
© Copyright 2004 Grace D. MacKinnon
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Discussion: Have you ever had an experience of being helped or saved by your guardian angel? Tell us about at the CE Roundtable.
Grace MacKinnon holds an MA in theology and is a syndicated columnist and public speaker on Catholic doctrine. Her new book Dear Grace: Answers to Questions About the Faith is available in our online store. If you enjoy reading Grace’s column, you will certainly want to have this book, which is a collection of the first two years of “Dear Grace.” Faith questions may be sent to Grace via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit her online at www.DearGrace.com.