Friday, September 27, 2013


Angel of the Birds-F. Dvorak
Diane Salamon
September 29 is the feast of St. Michael and other Archangels and October 2 the feast of our Guardian Angels.

In the past few decades ANGELS  have gotten a “bad rap”  by  people who use them in all sort of weird contexts.  But perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that there is an angel who protects their children from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not only for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.

Most of us who grew up Catholic learned the simple prayer:
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, to rule and guide. Amen

Bl. Pope John XXIII  gave us this Meditation for the Feast of the Guardian Angels - 2 October 1959:

            According to the teaching of the Roman catechism, we must remember how admirable was the intention of divine Providence in entrusting to the angels the mission of watching over all mankind, and over individual human beings, lest they should fall victims to the grave dangers which they encounter. In this earthly life, when children have to make their way along a path beset with obstacles and snares, their fathers take care to call upon the help of those who can look after them and come to their aid in adversity. 

Lauren Ford- Our favorite

In the same way our Father in heaven has charged his angels to come to our assistance during our earthly journey which leads us to our blessed fatherland, so that, protected by the angels' help and care, we may avoid the snares upon our path, subdue our passions and, under this angelic guidance, follow always the straight and sure road which leads to Paradise... Everyone of us is entrusted to the care of an angel.
That is why we must have a lively and profound devotion to our own Guardian Angel, and why we should often and trustfully repeat the dear prayer we were taught in the days of our childhood.

May we never fail in this devotion to the angels! During our earthly pilgrimage we may often run the risk of having to face the natural elements in turmoil, or the wrath of men who may seek to do us harm. But our Guardian Angel is always present. Let us never forget him and always remember to pray to him.

Marc Chagall- Mainz Germany

Angels are servants and messengers from God. "Angel" in Greek means messenger. In unseen ways the angels help us on our earthly pilgrimage by assisting us in work and study, helping us in temptation and protecting us from physical danger. The idea that each soul has assigned to it a personal guardian angel has been long accepted by the Church and is a truth of our faith.

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words,  "see that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

Catholics set up altars in honor of guardian angels as early as the 4th century and  devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition in the 6th Century. St. Benedict gave it impetus as did St. Bernard of Clairvaux (the great 12th-century reformer), who was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

Giuilanna Lazzarini

However, it was not placed in the General Roman Calendar until 1607 by Pope Paul V. The papal decree establishing the feast was cosigned by St.Robert Bellarmine, which has led some scholars to speculate that the feast was created under the influence of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits).

When one of us dies in the monastery, or someone related to us, or perhaps someone we do not know directly, we sing the beautiful and haunting: 

"May the angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem." (Rite for Christian Burial)

I love the window of Marc Chagall which shows an angel carrying the soul to heaven. I have often used this to show children death is nothing to fear.

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