Catholic Classroom: Guardian Angels
Question: What is a guardian angel?
Good news: God has assigned a unique guardian angel to you who is tasked with protecting you and guiding you toward salvation. We celebrate the Memorial of the Guardian Angels on October 2.
The existence of angels is a long-standing belief in Christianity. The Old Testament mentions the angels on several occasions (Psalm 91:11, Genesis 19:1-22, Exodus 3:2, and Judges 6:11-12, among others), and angels often interact or communicate with humans. Although angels are created beings without bodies, they sometimes take on bodily form when interacting with humans, and this was often the case in the Old Testament. But Jesus tells us about more than just the existence of angels. In the Gospel of Matthew, he says, “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in haven” (Matthew 18:10). This tells us that each person has an angel, and these angels are referred to as the guardian angels.
Guardian angels are aptly named, as they have the job of watching over us and guiding us from the beginning of our life up until the end. Although it is not an official dogma of the Church, many theologians and clergy, including Pope Francis, say that everyone has a guardian angel, not just people who have been baptized. This is because God desires salvation for all of us, and he gives us the graces we need to obtain salvation. This can come in the form of intercession and assistance from our guardian angel.
Your guardian angel never interferes with your free will. As in all things, God preserves your free will and allows you to either cooperate with or reject the graces you receive through your guardian angel. However, your guardian angel can spark your imagination or memory to guide you toward holiness. In particular, guardian angels help us in times of temptation to turn away from evil, and in times of spiritual opportunity to grow in holiness. Guardian angels even aid the souls of their charges when they are in purgatory.
You can take comfort in the fact that your guardian angel has your best interests at heart, and that although he is here helping you on earth, he never loses sight of God in heaven. Try starting each day by thanking your guardian angel for his help and praying the Angele Dei:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love
commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
rule and guide.