Just as parents rightfully seek the very best care for their children, God has done so in assigning us guardian angels. Since these creatures quite naturally evade direct human sensation, too often this gift goes unrecognized! However, Jesus himself draws the connection: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10). Following Christ’s teaching, the Church has always believed in these “purely spiritual creatures” who not only gaze upon God, but help with the work of human salvation taking place on earth (CCC 329-331).
Parents provide their children with many things including the basics of shelter, food, and medicine. Then they do their best to see that their children have access to a good education. Many even take great pains to see their sons and daughters obtain a professional degree, decent work, and a spouse and family of their own. Finally—and this “duty” can be particularly joyful—they are enlisted to take care of the grandchildren!
Our heavenly Father provides us with an even greater attentiveness, and his servants, the angels, take delight in playing their part. Physical well-being, the development of an astute mind and a resolute spirit, a great-mindedness and generosity dedicated to the common good: these are the qualities the loving God wants to see instilled in us. His angels, with their superior powers of intelligence and will, are greatly qualified to facilitate this project. They can assist especially when things go awry and seem beyond our control.
With respect to the heavenly creatures assigned to act as our guardians, it is important to “give credit where credit is due.” The importance of earthly parents and parent-like figures is an undeniable truth of life. It is left to the wise and those illumined by faith in Jesus’ teaching to appreciate a further truth: there is an order of “pure spirits” who live in God’s presence and take no little joy in assisting us through this life. May we ask their help now so as to be their friends in eternity.
Angel of God my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side
To light and to guard, to rule and to guide. Amen.
Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (used with permission)
Some early Dominican friars are served by angels when begging did not yield enough food.