All week, I’ve been asking my guardian angel to give me a sign indicating what he (she? It? With pure spirit, it’s so hard to know what pronoun to apply; indulge me while I just use “he” for the duration) wants the world to know about humanity’s angelic protectors.
All week, he’s been silent. Not that I find my guardian to generally be chatty, but I got a definite sense of “No comment”, which, upon reflection, seemed to be the perfectly humble response from one of the best examples of humility we have.
Hopefully, readers of Catholic Exchange are already familiar with what angels are and what they are not. What they are: pure created spirit. What they are not: girly men with pouty lips, white robes, and wings. What they are: “personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness” (CCC 330) What they are not: the souls of dead humans, transformed. So no matter how saintly she was, dear Auntie Mabel is not now an angel. All angels are saints. Not all saints are angels. Including departed Auntie Mabel.
Two Feast Days
Holy Mother Church has given us two feast days, stacked closely upon one another, to honor and ponder the angels. September 29 was Michaelmas, the day we honor the three named archangels in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Three days later, we honor our own personal guards, and all the angelic guardians who have carefully, faithfully, and humbly watched over our loved ones throughout time. There is wisdom in the placement of these feasts, with the macrocosm embodied by the archangels reflected in the microcosm of our own lives.
While it is certainly efficacious to call upon St. Michael to protect from spiritual attack, remember that our own, personal angel performs this office on the daily. The battle in the heavens is reflected and played out in smaller form in the crosses we choose to pick up or toss aside in our day-to-day lives, and our guardian angels are there helping keep the devouring lion at bay. Call upon your protector frequently, to rebuke Satan and to safeguard your soul.
St. Gabriel, whose name means Champion or Strength of God, came to Our Lady at the Annunciation. It was he who brought the news of the Messiah’s conception to the world. In a similar way, our guardian angels bring us the good news of Christ’s arrival in our own lives. Angels are important because they are oriented toward God, and seek to help us similarly orient. Our angels are constantly bringing the offer of Christ’s grace and salvation to us- and they’ll help us imitate Our Lady and give our wholehearted fiat in response. Call upon your heavenly messenger frequently, to help you allow Christ to be born anew in your heart.
St. Raphael, who helped guide, protect, and heal blind Tobit, revealed himself as one of the seven who stands before God’s throne. Our guardian angels, as pure created spirit, move at the speed of thought (which is why they’re often painted with wings, to express such rapidness of motion), and bring our petitions before the Almighty. God is our Father, and cares for us more than we can ever know. Call upon your heavenly guide to heal you, both body and soul.
All these duties (and more!) are carried out by the angels personally assigned to us from the moment of our conception. Before we were even known to our mothers, God knew us, and gifted us with a protector, messenger, and healer more powerful and perfect than “any visible creature”. And yet, these glorious beings, who serve us faithfully out of perfect love for God, are so humble, many of us will go through our whole lives without ever knowing they’re there. Each of them possesses humility in such abundance, we will never know their individual names in this lifetime, and will call them simply by their office, “angel”. They perform countless favors and acts of mercy for us, the majority of which remain hidden from our earthly eyes and may only be revealed when they accompany us to Christ the Judge.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise to me when my own angelic protector was silent when I asked what he wanted people to know about his kind. Because while they are individuals, uniquely created by God just as we were, angels are perfectly conformed to God’s will, unlike us.
To a guardian angel, “What do you want people to know about YOU?” isn’t a question worth considering. To them, the real question is, “Where is my human charge vis-à-vis union with the Almighty, and how can I help her win heaven?” So today, take a moment to thank the Creator for creating such faithful helpers for us, and let your guardian angel know how much you appreciate all the hard work he’s doing for you.