The Holy Guardian Angels (Memorial)


Their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.


Do you remember Clarence?   He’s the guardian angel in the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life.   When despair leads the main character, George Bailey, to contemplate suicide, Clarence intervenes to save his life.

The movie’s wide appeal may stem in part from the fact that it reflects two basic truths of our faith:   that guardian angels exist and that they play an important role in our lives.   Many people can tell amazing stories of how their guardian angel came to their rescue.

These protectors and guides are our constant companions:   from the beginning of our lives until our death, we are “surrounded by their watchful care and intercession” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 336).   That’s why the Church sets aside this day each year to acknowledge and honor them.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) had a name for guardian angels that seems especially appropriate—he called them our “bodyguards.”   Bernard wrote, “We need only to follow them, remain close to them, and we will dwell in the protection of the Most High God.   So as often as you sense the approach of any grave temptation or some crushing sorrow hangs over you, invoke your protector, your leader, your helper in every situation” (Sermons on Psalm 91, Sermon 12).

Certainly we should call on our guardian angel whenever we are in imminent physical danger.   But St. Bernard’s advice also applies to less serious situations.   For example, maybe we’re tempted to lose our temper, or we’re inclined to speak irritably to a family member or coworker who grates on our nerves.   Our guardian angel stands ready to hear us when we call and to help us act in kindness.   This helper, says St. Bernard, will “bear our prayers to God in heaven and return laden with graces for us.”

How great is God’s love for us, that he gives each of us such a faithful guide!   On this feast of the Guardian Angels, thank your Father—and your guardian angel—for their heavenly care.

“Father, help me to be more mindful of the presence of my guardian angel in my life.”

Nehemiah 2:1-8
Psalm 137:1-6

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