Remembering our own celestial intermediaries between God and us as the Synod begins in Rome, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature Guardian Angel windows photographed by Joseph Ptak from St. Cecilia Church, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and St. William Church, Paoli, Wisconsin. Diocese of Madison’s Communication Director Kris Kranenburg offers some reflections on these unique messengers of God.
Who are the Guardian Angels?
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 in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: “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 the heavenly Father.”
The monastic tradition increased devotion to the angels. In particular Saint Benedict and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, spoke with eloquence about these faithful spirits who were ever watchful and personally protective of us.
Quotes from the Saints on the Guardian Angels
“We should show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the father.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Later, these saints also shared their confidence in these angelic spirits.
“Our guardian angels are our most faithful friends, because they are with us day and night, always and everywhere. We ought often to invoke them.” – St. John Vianney
“When tempted, invoke your angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped. Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him; he trembles and flees at the sight of your guardian angel.” – St. John Bosco
“How great is the dignity of souls, that each person has from birth received an angel to protect it.” St. Jerome
“Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life.” – St. Basil the Great
The Catechism’s teaching on the angels includes the truth that “from its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession” (CCC 336). We read in Psalm 91 that God “commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone” (91:11-12). St. Basil the Great said that “beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”
“How consoling it is to know that we are always under the protection of a heavenly spirit, who never abandons us, not even (most admirable fact!) in the very act by which we displease God.”
– Padre Pio
Watch for More Angels
Because we received many beautiful angelic images in the last days and permission to share them from photographers and parishes, watch for more periodic posts of these friendly spirits of God. Feel free to send us more at firstname.lastname@example.org.