“For he will give his angels charge of you,(Psalm 91:11-12)
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
From an early age, my devout parents taught me that I had an angel at my side to protect and guide me. This comforted them, especially my anxious mom whose imagination envisioned a lot of trouble I could get up to. To be fair to her and my guardian angel, their concerns were mostly correct.
By adulthood, I had unknowingly neglected my guardian angel to the point of regarding him as something like folklore. I wouldn’t say I disbelieved in guardian angels. I just never cared to think about the subject.
It was during this long year that I learned how Padre Pio would send his guardian angel to comfort people. Like many people of my generation, I often endure the pain of loneliness. So, as a lonely person, I began to find comfort in the teaching that guardian angels can be a source of comfort and friendship to such a degree that these personal protectors can comfort our loved ones in a time of need.
Since learning about Padre Pio’s friendship with his guardian angel, I’ve found comfort in my learning about guardian angels as I try to grow in friendship with mine.
One of the things I’ve learned is that guardian angels do far more than protect us. Here are four things your guardian angel does for you:
1. Guardian Angels Intercede For Us
As guardian angels, they are sent by the Lord to stand by our side and to become our “personal patron saints,” praying for us, protecting us from the terrors of darkness, and perhaps even prodding our consciences to bring us back from spiritual perils.— Fr. John Horgan, His Angels at Our Side
It may sound strange, but your guardian angel is your own personal patron saint. They are there to guard us, absolutely, but part of that role includes praying for us. As the Baltimore catechism puts it, “they offer our prayers, good works and desires to God.”
We even find this teaching in the Old Testament. In Tobit 12, when the Archangel Raphael finally reveals his identity, he states, “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.”
Your guardian angel is there to pray for you. If you are struggling, ask your angel to offer your sufferings and desires to the Lord on your behalf. As well, offer your thanksgiving for to God for providing a guardian angel to guide you.
2. They Provide Moral Guidance
As often, therefore, as a most serious temptation is perceived to weigh upon you and an excessive trial is threatening, call to your guard, your leader, your helper in your needs, in your tribulation; cry to him and say: ‘Lord, save us; we perish!’—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Sermon on the Holy Guardian Angels”
Angels protect us from demons, and that includes temptations to sin. Your guardian angel is also there to help you discover the Lord’s will amidst the chaos. According to the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, angels enlighten us “not only concerning what is to be believed; but also as regards what is to be done.”
Through their prayers and intercessions, our guardian angels help us to stay on the moral path.
3. They Embolden Us Against Fear & the Devil
Why should we fear under such guardians? Those who keep us in all our ways can neither be overcome nor be deceived, much less deceive. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; why do we tremble? Let us only follow them, let us remain close to them, and in the protection of the God of heaven let us abide—St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Sermon on the Holy Guardian Angels”
In other words, St. Bernard tells us, we don’t need to fear the plans of Satan while we remain close to our guardian angel. While we should always seek moral guidance, the sacraments, and the Will of God, we also aren’t doing it alone. Therefore, call upon your angel with confidence.
4. Your Guardian Angel Can Go in Your Place
Go very often, in my place,—St. Therese of Lisieux, To My Guardian Angel
To those I love most tenderly.
With thy soft touch, oh! dry their tears;
Tell them the cross is sweet to bear;
Speak my name softly in their ears,
And Jesu’s name, supremely fair.
As shown above, St. Pio of Pietrelcina would send his guardian angel to comfort others. Additionally, St. Therese often prayed that her guardian angel would comfort her loved ones and remind them of the sweet name of Jesus.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, many of us were reminded that we could send our guardian angel to Mass when we are unable to attend. As well, here is a prayer you may find useful when you need your guardian angel to attend Mass for you:
Prayer to one’s Guardian Angel when unable to assist at Mass
O Holy Angel at my side
go to the church for me,
kneel at my place at Holy Mass,
where I desire to be,
At offertory in my stead,
take all I am and own
and place it as a sacrifice
upon the altar Throne.
At Holy Consecration’s bell
adore with Seraph’s love,
My Jesus hidden in the Host,
come down from heaven above.
And when the priest Communion takes
O bring my Lord to me,
that His sweet Heart may rest on mine
And I His temple be!
image: “Holy Guardian Angel”, stained glass window in St Joseph’s church in Greenwich Village, NYC. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)