Thursday, October 2, 2014

On the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels

It's easy to gloss over the reality of our guardian angels.  Even as a Catholic mother, who depends on their help in the raising and protection of all my (scattered) children, I know I take our angels for granted.  I'm afraid I reduce them to little more than Victorian paintings in my mind most of the time. You know those paintings: two children teeter on a rickety bridge, protected from certain doom by a beautiful glowing vision in white with wings and a halo.  I love all the different versions of this image, and they certainly provide a good visual for the idea of a guardian, but there's a lot more to these appointed guardians of ours than can be explained in a painting.

Consider this about our angels:

People will come and go in our lives; they drift away from us for various reasons, they die. Our angels, however, are lifelong messengers from God.  That's the actual definition of angel, by the way: messenger.  And as messengers, or 'go-betweens,' our guardian angels bridge the mortal gap between us and heaven from the moment God appoints them to us at our conception+ to the moment they escort us to the heavenly gates -- should we make it there.

 Because there is that. The getting to heaven thing.

 It's our angel's one and only purpose during all our lives to care for us and look out for our true eternal good.  Though they do, indeed, protect us physically at times as the old paintings illustrate, their first priority is the good of our souls. Angels have a one-track mind fixed on the heavenly gate. As Our Lord, Himself, tells us, See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew, 18:10)   We know that, with God always in their line of vision,  even though our focus wanders, our angels' doesn't.  Ever.  Their every influence leads us (sometimes drags us) toward our eternal salvation.  Our angels are never distracted by earthly worries or pursuits; they are incapable of selfishness; they have no concern for any soul but our very own; and they never ever leave our side.   In good times or in bad.

No mistake; our angels aren't on holiday when bad things happen to us.  We may not want to admit it,but it's usually our own stupidity or lack of attention to the warnings of our angels  that lead us into trouble  But, sometimes, when it's to our spiritual benefit to suffer bodily or materially, our angels can't deliver us from crosses. And they wouldn't if they could. Our souls, not our bodies, are their priority.  A mortal sin is a catastrophe to them -- more so than a train wreck would be to us. They see the reality of our eternity more clearly than we see the reality of our earthly life. If we fall into the death of mortal sin, our heavenly Guardians won't rest until our souls are resuscitated and they can see the face of God in us again. They'll do whatever it takes. Whatever means of persuasion they can use on our souls and consciences -- or even our bodies -- they'll do it, under the Will of God.  We ignore their voice in our nagging consciences at our own eternal peril.  But, good luck ignoring your angel! They know exactly how to get at us.

Because our angels' attention, understanding, and intuition are perfect and because they're always with us, our angels know us better than any other being besides our Heavenly Father. They know us better than our parents, better than our spouses, better than our BFF, better, even, than we know ourselves.   It's God's charge to them to know and understand the way we tick in order to use that knowledge to guide us to Heaven. Even when we lose track of the goal, our Guardian Angels pull with everything they've got to get us to eternal happiness.  No person in our lives keeps our personal welfare their uppermost focus -- without distraction -- throughout our entire lives.  No one prays harder for us, works more endlessly for us, or loves us better.  Our angels are our truest friends, our best advisers, our most loyal and dependable companions.  We owe them everything and they ask us nothing -- except to behave ourselves and get ourselves to heaven.

"He hath given his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." (Ps.90:11)

*  Our charge to the children -- and to ourselves -- on this great feast of our Guardian Angels:  God's messengers to us, our angels, are pure spirits.  Since angels have no bodies, it's easy to forget they really are with us -- though invisibly -- at all times.  But they are very, very real.  The more we pray to them, the more we'll be aware of their presence, and the harder it'll be to do anything to disappoint them.  Learn to listen for the voice of your angel; ask your angel's help in even the smallest task during the day; greet your angel every chance you get; give God daily thanks for the loving attention of such a loyal guardian. Honor your angel every day -- but especially today on the feast of our Holy Guardian Angels!

*  Links to posts on the Holy Guardian Angels, with links, activities, and personal stories: here and  here, some coloring page links here,  craft ideas here at Catholic Icing, and some feast day ideas from Shower of Roses here.

*  Our feast day plans include some feasting!  We're getting ready to cook up some goodies for the day, including:  Angel hair pasta in white sauce (with chicken), and made-from-scratch (for the first time!)  Angel food cake.  We'll see how that comes out!

Good Angels, please pray for us, intercede for us --
 and most of all, be patient with us!

+  There is actually debate over when we receive our angel.  It is, in point of fact, not actually known whether they are appointed to us at conception or at the moment of our birth, with our mother's angel taking charge of us in the womb.  It's a moot point, though, really -- since we know that we are always covered.  It is, however, definitely known and a dogma of the faith that angels do exist and are interactive between God and man.

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