What Do You Know About Your Guardian Angels?

When you were a kid you were told that you have a mysterious spirit that supposedly floats around wherever you go. You learned that this mysterious spirit was good and that he would keep you safe. You probably even learned that famous prayer. In short, you and I learned that we have a lifelong companion whom we still know very little about. What do you know about your guardian angel?

Our own guardian angels are chosen by God from the last of the nine choirs of the spirits of light. They form part of the third hierarchy of angels of which the principalities and the archangels are also a part. Each guardian angel reflects God’s goodness in a particular way and they are ever ready to go wherever the will of God sends them. They are the guardians of our safety and salvation, and they obtain for us the grace of final perseverance.

Catholic belief not only acknowledges the existence of guardian angels but, throughout most of Church history, asserts that every human during his lifetime has its own guardian angel not assigned to anyone else. This is true for Christians and non-Christians alike, whether they are in grace or in sin.

The ministry of the guardian angels consists in extensive duties: warding off dangers to body and soul, removing occasions of sin and helping us to overcome temptation, preventing Satan from suggesting evil thoughts, inspiring and fostering in us holy thoughts and pious desires, offering to God our prayers and praying for us, correcting us if we sin, helping us in the agony of death, strengthening and comforting us, and conducting our souls to heaven or to purgatory to console us there. Our guardian angels do all that they can to help us, but since they are not omniscient it is up to us to expose our intimate thoughts to them by an act of free will. It is to our benefit to have no secrets to hide from him, because he is surely our best friend after God and Mother Mary.

We cannot sensibly perceive our guardian angels, yet they are with us from the moment of our conception. Their task is not completed until we gaze with them on the Vision of God. Our guardian angels’ tenderness is nearly above all words: “He fights for us and asks no thanks, but hides his silent victories and continues to gaze upon God” (Father Faber). Until the morning of our resurrection we will not know from how many dangers he has delivered us, nor how much of our salvation is actually due to him. His work is beyond the power of meriting, because his work is a work of love. How many times have we felt his presence and power rescuing us from danger? In him we have an unseen friend.

St. Bernard comically teaches his disciples, “Always remember that you are in the presence of your guardian angel…Never do in the presence of your guardian angel what you would not do in my presence.” Continually reminding ourselves of their presence is an excellent means of overcoming temptation. Let us frequently invoke their intercession in the time of temptation and trial. Let us revere their presence, bless their benevolence, and trust in their care.

We owe filial devotion to our guardian angels for kindly warning us and earnestly exhorting us.

The best gift of thanksgiving you can give to your guardian angel, as I mentioned in my last article, is to offer Holy Communion in gratitude for their ministry. It is also a good idea to take up the practice, as did many saints, of consulting our guardian angels before undertaking anything both great and small. Moreover, it is also a good practice to not only continuously remind yourself of your guardian angel but also to acknowledge and to greet the guardian angels of others.

Your guardian angel sees in his charge a soul of priceless value since it was redeemed by the Precious Blood of God. A soul becomes more and more radiant through the Blood of Christ. A soul in the state of grace is a beautiful thing for our angels to joyfully gaze upon. Let us not sadden our heavenly companion by staining our souls with sin, but if stained we become, let us make haste to run to the Blood of Christ flowing from all the seven sacraments.


Alexandra Richards is a long-time Atlanta resident and a senior at at Holy Spirit College. Her major is philosophy and her particular interests include ethics, phenomenology, and classical metaphysics. Alexandra actively participates in several ministries and outreaches within the Archdiocese of Atlanta, where she teaches numerous catechetical subjects, especially Theology of the Body.

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  • wonderful message – great article – thank you

  • JMC

    There were two times in my life when I was so acutely aware of my guardian angel’s presence it was almost as if I could see him – though, of course, I didn’t. Both times I was in extreme danger, and had this vivid mental image of my guardian angel between me and that danger, no doubt gleaned from those illustrations in my grade-school readers of a guardian angel with a child playing near a cliff, standing between him and that deadly drop-off. The first time, I was a child myself, being chased by one of the local bullies who continually tormented me. Intent on avoiding them, I did not see the oncoming car and ran in front of it. At the sound of the squealing brakes, I froze in my tracks, and when that car was within six inches of me, I imagined my guardian angel in that gap, holding the car back, unharmed by the blow that would have reduced me to street pizza.
    The second time was only a few years ago. Driving at 70 on the Interstate, I was suddenly cut off by a car pulling in front of me, going only about 40 or 50. I had to slam on my brakes, and the car went into a spin. At one point, the spinning became so violent that I could feel the car threatening to turn over; even as I worked to regain control, out of nowhere came the image of my angel above the car, pushing down on the roof to keep all four weels on the road. Shortly after that, the car skidded onto the median, where the grass and soil, softened by the previous day’s heavy rains, helped bring the car safely to a stop. As I sat there shaking in reaction and silently giving thanks, I couldn’t help but think of that earlier incident.
    When I was telling a friend about this not too long ago, that friend, filled with the images of the pop-culture angels portrayed on shows like “Highway to Heaven” and “Touched by an Angel,” wanted to know how a guardian angel could allow those things to happen in the first place, or where he was when I was plagued by illnesses and disabilities. Feeling as if someone else were putting the words in my head, I explained how they were allowed because, for His Own inestimable reasons, God Himself allowed them to occur, but there was no doubt my angel was there, comforting me in my frustrations and fears.
    With those memories fresh in my mind, looking back over my life right now, I can see many, many other instances in which there’s no doubt my angel had a hand; enough, in fact, to write a book. I’m sure that there are many people who, if they looked back on their lives and viewed all their own dangers and difficulties with their guardian angels in mind, would easily find countless similar instances. I put forth that people *should* do exactly that, because, with a history like that, it’s kind of hard ever to forget that your angel is always there.

  • billymanuel

    Several times during my life I have been conscious of the presence and help of my guardian angel. They are real, but mostly deeply hidden. (Clearly didn’t help me with spelling!!!)

  • joelfago

    We have a closer relationship with those we know by name; therefore, I have named my guardian angel, Peter. Every night I pray the guardian angel prayer and then add, “Peter, please enlighten me, guide me and guard me. Please help me and Sheila (my wife) to sleep peacefully. Thank you, Peter.

  • MF

    You should not be naming your guardian angel.

  • RoodAwakening

    Nonsense! We human beings give our loved ones nicknames. There is nothing disrespectful in that–it’s endearing!

  • JMC

    Says who? I remember a sermon when I was in school, in which the priest actually encouraged us kids to name our guardian angels. Since they are spirits and thus neither male nor female, it was suggested that we give our angels a male and a female name. I named mine Therese Joseph. In time that became shortened to Terry-Joe, and eventually simply TJ. If anything, the practice makes me even more aware of his presence.
    In the Bible, three angels are identified by names, names that were given them by the men who wrote the books in which they appeared. Are those really their names in Heaven? There’s no way we can know that until we actually get there. In the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with giving them names of our own.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    I too was taught that my guardian existed but did not understand the fullness of that truth until that summer day when I was pregnant with my second child and my 2 1/2 son was napping. My husband was fishing and a stranger came up to our door. I am normally a very friendly person but felt this sense of danger regarding this man. He tried to get me to open the door to show him directions. Then I heard a voice within my mind say, “Do NOT open that door ! Tell him that your husband is sleeping !” Immediately, I repeated those words, shut the main door (btw I did not open the storm door) and locked it. Now these “instructions” were NOT my own thoughts ! Looking through the window in the door, I noticed the man had on his backside what appeared to be handcuffs hanging from his belt loops (like police wear). I told my husband about the incident when he returned home, even about the part of the handcuffs.

    A few days later, the news in the area was about a serial rapist who had the same MO(handcuffs,asking for directions about a horse farm). This rapist had violated 4 other women before coming to my door and was apprehended when he tried to rape his 6th victim. Why I was spared, I do not know. I still think about those other women and ask God, “Why them and not me ?”.I will know when God decides I should know I suppose.

    Anyway, this incident is when my guardian angel made his presence known. Why do I believe my angel was a “he”? Well, my parents named me after St. Michael as added protection for my life. Other things in my life have occured which makes me grateful that my personal guardian angel intervened by asking St. Michael to get me to “hear” that warning! I truly know that angels exist, otherwise how else can I explain that urgent warning that came to my mind

  • Mike

    Tremendous catechesis… thank you. Should be required reading for all Catholics under the age of, say, 50.

  • Dex

    Thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting that we are not alone on this fight for Salvation. Guardian Angel my guardian dear…

  • Alexandra Richards

    What a great testimony, thank you for sharing!

  • Alexandra Richards

    thank you

  • Alexandra Richards

    Yes, we are not alone! Amen!

  • Alexandra Richards

    Thank you Mike!

  • Alexandra Richards

    This is is truly incredible! St. Michael, protect us!

  • Alexandra Richards

    They are with us indeed!

  • mgseamanjr

    Great article. Look forward to reading more from this author.

  • Graeme

    I have three young kids, 7 months, 3 and 5 years. In order to promote devotion to our guardian angels we sing the traditional prayer: “Oh Angel of God, My Guardian dear …” to the tune of “Twinkle, twinkle little star.” The prayer fits perfectly, but you have to add two more lines at the end: “… rule and guide. + Dearest Angel stay with me; Angel, Angel, pray for me.”

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    Thank you Alexandra for your comment as well as your wonderful article ! The following qoutes from the Holy Bible reassure me without a doubt that what I was taught as a child was/is indeed spiritual truth, not fantasy or fad.

    Exodus 23:20
    “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.”

    Also this qoute from the Holy Scriptures comforts me as to why we ALL have our “guardian” angels, our gift from Almighty God.

    1 Peter 5:8
    “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour.”

  • LizEst

    …not only that, but the following are some of the many quotes from Scripture that testify to angels:

    “When dawn broke the angels urged Lot, ‘Come, take your wife and these
    two daughters of yours, or you will be overwhelmed in the punishment of
    the town.” (Genesis 19:15).
    “Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel, changed station and moved to their rear.” (Exodus 14:19).

    “Then he lay down and went to sleep. But an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.” (1 Kings 19:5).
    “Then there is an Angel by his side, a Mediator, chosen out of thousands…” (Job 33:23).
    “God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11).
    “Bless the Lord, all you angels, mighty in strength and attentive, obedient to every command. Bless the Lord, all you hosts, ministers who do God’s will.” (Psalm 103:20-21).
    “The angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp.” (Isaiah 37:36).
    “And the angel who was talking to me said, ‘I will explain to you what they are.” (Zechariah 1:10)
    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I saw to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 18:10).
    “When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham” (Luke 16:22).
    “They kept saying, ‘It is his angel.” (Acts 12:15).

    …and there are yet other quotes about angels! This is part of our Creed…the belief in God the creator of ALL things visible AND INVISIBLE!

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    Amen LizEst ! So very wonderful of you to take the time to share these reassuring quotes with all of us on Catholic Exchange. 🙂

  • LizEst

    The glory goes to the Lord!

  • HV Observer

    Exactly how does one “consult [with] our guardian angels before undertaking anything both great and small”? And how does one hear the angel’s answer and know it as coming from heaven, rather that just our wishful thinking?

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    So true ! Amen ! 🙂

  • LizEst

    Hi Michelle – My bad! I added a credit above to a priest who compiled many angel quotes (these among others) for a presentation. Thanks to the Holy Spirit who opened my eyes!

  • maria

    I have four children – a 3-month old, 3-and-a-half, 6, and 12. Last week, the 12-year old accidentally swallowed a whole lollipop, including the stick. My husband was at work, and I went through nerve-breaking 30 minutes. /I did call the pediatrician./ My only consolation in situations like this is the knowledge that we prayed to our guardian angels in the morning, so whatever happens, they are there, helping us.

  • Alexandra Richards

    Thank you Liz for these references.

  • Alexandra Richards

    How beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Alexandra Richards


  • Alexandra Richards

    Thank you for this great question. We are to consult our guardian angels just as we would consult a holy saint, through prayer. In reality, we are not praying to our guardian angels but through our guardian angels to God. We do not, well not usually, perceive our guardian angels (this meaning in a physical sensation, of which we have witnesses in this very page). However, answers to prayers vary, as you may have experienced. Our guardian angels guide us and sometimes they remove or they place obstacles in specific situations according to the will of God. Other times, for example, we may know we are doing God’s will if we feel peace or we feel guilt after we have made a decision.

  • I also had something strikingly similar to your first one when I was around 11 yrs old, running across the street already assuring that no cars were coming, halfway on the street there is one lorry suddenly honking but stop (hang as if in The Matrix moment) where I could feel it was stopped by the Guardian Angel. At that time my faith was not as strong (barely know God – not in Sunday Class that period even though family was catholic) i only realised it after subsequent events and Confirmation where during self-reflection I think about ‘What are the many moments God have given me a Second Chance, a new life’. This is one of it. 🙂 every morning I start my day would thank God : Thank you for today, another chance to love, to better myself and lately (the strength to give myself a chance) before getting out of my bed 🙂

  • I rmb once during meditation, I actually conversed with my guardian angel. They have complicated names (a name I cant even replicate or reproduce when I heard, something beyond human interpretation yet interesting) by God, and my angel told me it doesnt matter by which you address me, it doesnt matter however you want to hold the image of me I am happy here to be with you 🙂
    – (as I saw in personal revelation once and only, they were not the cupid angel holding the Poo Poo Trumpets, but something far larger stronger that terrifying it is, yet calms our souls. Then I consult the church, look up more trying to understand about angels, is it true? and then I found my answer: even Mary, all the characters in Bible who saw angels were terrified at first, at awe of their glory, and then be calmed – distinction btw angel and devil)

    and there I decided I do not want to be terrified so Ill just think of you as the angel on my study table: something from the link below http://www.matthewfsheehan.net/DisplayPages/Products/ProductImages/en_guardian-angel-with-childre.jpg
    though sometimes when I have sole time with angel, I do think of him at his original form 😉

  • angelo zamoranos

    I’m shy to my guardian angel because she’s always see’s me doing things that shouldnt be seen by someone. like mast–e–r-b—ting. Maybe ill start to this day praying the rosary. please pray for me. to make room for improvemnt

  • Kenzie

    I can hear mine. He talks to me often, though and I’ve seen him a few times too. Sometimes I can hear others too, but I have to seriously relax. I just recently realized who he was so I’ve been looking for articles and teaching myself how to hear them more clearly and being able to see them 🙂

  • New man

    Where is the scripture that states that every human during his lifetime has its own guardian angel not assigned to anyone else.