As we confront the Coronavirus Pandemic, it is comforting and effective, to ask the angels, including our guardian angel, to come to our defense. Most Christians, Jews, and Muslims, believe in angels, and the Catholic faithful have always believed that each of us have our own personal guardian angel. We also know the specific names of three angels from Scripture, specifically, the Archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael. Beyond that, we know that there are nine Choirs of angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim.
The number of angels is unknown, but the general consensus among theologians is that the number is enormous. Just think of the population of the earth for the entire past, present, and future of man. That gives you the enormity of the number of guardian angels. What about the rest of their Choir, and the other eight Choirs of angels? That is a lot of angels who are pulling for us!
However, it is believed that nations also have guardian angels. This first became evident to me as I read about Our Lady of Fatima. Prior to our Blessed Mother’s appearances to the three children of Fatima, an angel appeared to the children, and he identified himself as the angel of peace, and later, the guardian angel of Portugal.
However, what good is private revelation unless it is consistent with Scripture and Christian tradition? When I looked for scriptural evidence to support this, I found it in the book of Exodus as well as Daniel.
In Exodus 23:20-23, God promises to send His angel in front of Moses and the Israelites, to help them so they could take possession of the promise land. Although God was speaking to Moses, the context of the conversation shows that this angel was sent for the entire nation of Israel. In Daniel 10, an angel speaks with Daniel, telling him that he (the angel) and St. Michael the Archangel, are fighting against the kingdoms who are oppressing the Israelites. Again, the context is that these angels are not the personal guardian angels of Daniel, but are angels for the people of Israel.
In the fifth century, Church Father Theodoret of Cyr wrote, “We are taught that each one of us is entrusted to the care of an individual angel to guard and protect us, and to deliver us from the snares of evil demons. Archangels are entrusted with the tasks of guarding nations, as the Blessed Moses taught, and with those remarks the Blessed Daniel is in accord; for he himself speaks of ‘the chief of the Kingdom of the Persians,’ and a little later of the ‘chief of the Greeks,’ while he calls Michael the chief of Israel.'”
Since the beginning of Christianity, many Christians have believed that, in addition to our own personal guardian angel, nations, cities, and smaller groups of people have guardian angels. There is no question that we all can call upon St. Michael the Archangel to defend us in battle and to protect us from the wickedness and snares of the Devil. This is in the St. Michael prayer, which was written by Pope Leo XIII in the late 1800’s after he experienced a very powerful private revelation. The St. Michael prayer was recited by all Catholic parishes at the end of Holy Mass, until Vatican II. In the mid 1990’s, St. John Paul II recommended that all Catholics resume reciting this prayer at the end of every Mass once again.
At the World Apostolate of Fatima Shrine, near Jersey City, New Jersey, there stands a statue which is named the Guardian Angel of the United States. While there is no Church doctrine which says the United States, or any other country for that matter, has its own guardian angel, the belief seems compatible with Scripture, private revelation, and Christian history.
The most striking example of a guardian angel of an entire nation since the beginning of Christianity is that of the Angel of Peace who also identified himself as the Guardian Angel of Portugal.
In his first apparition to the visionaries of Fatima in 1916, he asked the children to pray with him. “Kneeling down, he bowed forward until his forehead touched the ground. We imitated him, led by a supernatural inspiration, and repeated the words we heard him say: ‘My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee. I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.’”
In his second apparition, he said: “Offer God a sacrifice of anything you can as an act of reparation for the sins with which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners. Draw peace upon your country by doing this. I am its guardian angel—the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and endure with submission whatever suffering the Lord sends you.”
In his third and final apparition, he prostrated himself on the ground and prayed:
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly and offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the insults, sacrileges, and indifference with which He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg Thee for the conversion of poor sinners.”
He then administered first communion to the three children stating: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who is horribly insulted by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”
In this time of turmoil, which is as deadly and destructive as any war the world has ever known, we need to place our trust in Jesus and turn to Him and His angels in fervent prayer. We need to ask God to send our nation’s guardian angel, our city’s guardian angel, the guardian angel of our parish, our family, our marriage, and our own personal guardian angel. No prayer is wasted, so even if we have misunderstood whether a certain angel exists or not, God still hears our plea.
We need to call upon God and all the angels to protect and defend us not only from sickness and financial ruin, but from all the wickedness and snares of the Devil. As St. Paul taught 2,000 years ago, our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) The cosmic powers of this present darkness care little about a pestilence which causes death, they only care about the end, which is death, so they can carry lost souls to Hell. They merely use sickness and physical death as a means to that end.
Therefore, we cannot focus on the physical threats to our blood and flesh due to things such as the Coronavirus. We must be prudent about obvious threats, but we must always look beyond the obvious, to see the real face of death, the death of sin and darkness. St. Michael, all the angels, and our guardian angel can assist us in this. We need to turn to them in addition to the saints, all the graces we have received in the sacraments up to this point, and our continued prayers to God.
Yes, the Coronavirus is bad, but it is not the fullness of evil, it is just a hint of it. Therefore, when I say we live in a time which is as deadly and destructive as any war the world has ever known, I am really referring to the spiritual battle which surrounds us. Relativism, atheism, hedonism, secularism, and many other beliefs which reject Christ, take more lives and souls than all the world’s wars combined. What good would it do to survive the current threat to your body, only to let Satan have your soul? Two great prayers for all of us at this time, while we accept and endure with submission whatever suffering the Lord sends us, would be the very prayer brought to us by an angel:
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee.
I beg Thee forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.
As well as Pope Leo XIII’s prayer which was likely delivered to him by an angel:
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.