No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. – Psalm 91: 10-12
A heavenly is spirit assigned by God to watch over each of us during our lives. The doctrine of angels is part of the Church’s tradition. The role of the guardian angel is both to guide us to good thoughts, works and words, and to preserve us from evil. Since the 17th century the Church has celebrated a feast honoring them in October throughout the Universal Church. Since the last calendar revision this feast is Oct 2.
He has charged His angels with the ministry of watching and safeguarding every one of His creatures that behold not His face. Kingdoms have their angels assigned to them, and men have their angels; these latter it is to whom religion designates the Holy Guardian Angels. Our Lord says in the Gospel, “Beware lest ye scandalize any of these little ones, for their angels in heaven see the face of My Father.” The existence of Guardian Angels, is, hence a dogma of the Christian faith: this being so, what ought not our respect be for that sure and holy intelligence that is ever present at our side; and how great our solicitude be, lest, by any act of ours, we offend those eyes which are ever bent upon us in all our ways! – Catholic Online
Remembering Clarence, George Bailey’s guardian angel, from “It’s A Wonderful Life,” we see how devoted he was to helping George fulfill George’s wish, that he had never been born. Clarence showed George how his absence would have had a negative effect on the lives of all who knew and loved him. That love would have never been in their lives, making them bitter and sad people with many of those lives in ruin and despair rather than productive and hopeful. Our guardian angels, too, are saddened in our indiscretions and rejoice in our righteousness, for it is here in a prudent use of free will that we are not far from heaven. And that is the task of our GA; to get us there.
What of our own experiences?
As a person disabled by polio, at age 4, I have personally experienced my helpful guardian angel when in dire straights. Most can brush off such attestations as some whimsical explanations in place of coincidence. However, one night after a parent-teacher conference after all had left, but me and the principal, I had need of my GA. My principal had gone off to lock up and set the alarm system and asked that I lock the back door before leaving. The parking lot was empty as I left the building. As I made my way to my car I was unaware that the temperature had dropped enough to freeze the recent rain to an unnoticed thin glaze of ice on the lot’s surface. Before I knew it, I was standing in the middle of a patch of that glaze. Nothing is more attention getting and cause a disabled person’s heart to pound than this situation. The next expected sight was, most assuredly, for me to be strewn on the ice. But, my rubber tipped crutch had caught, MIRACULOUSLY, a wet spot not yet frozen. I was in an awkward position, with one leg on ice, my crutch still holding, as my other leg was too holding on to some non-glazed surface. I was becoming increasingly tired with each passing minute. While in this precarious position I could hear my principal’s car, whom I thought was already gone, coming up the adjoining road to the school and passing the lot. I thought this was my out. However, there was not much lighting in the lot, and though I screamed for her attention, she, unable to hear my shouts, drove off not knowing of my difficult circumstance.
I thought it inevitable that I was going to fall to the ground and crawl my way to my car over the ice and rough drive. I expected bumps, bruises and scrapes with no guarantee that I would be able to climb from the ground into the car. To note: cell phones were not the rage at that time. I was weakening as I continued holding the angled stance for some time. My last chance to stay on my feet was to draw the crutch closer on a leap of faith with hope that that dry patch was large enough to grab and hold firm my crutch as I made the attempt to draw it closer. With a prayer I made the move and “It Held!” The more I straightened up, the less was the strain on my fatigued muscles. I then was upright, and made a prayer with each baby step toward my car, until I grabbed onto the door handle. I then unlocked the door and flopped down exhausted into the security of the supportive seat. After closing the door and starting my car, I looked over to the passenger seat and sensed that it was not empty. With a thankful heart I started for home knowing that I was not that night alone, nor would I ever be alone. This was just one of other similar instances where my GA interceded on my behalf.
Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), told of her own GA rescue story. While shopping with some other Sisters, as they were crossing the street, she being the first, unseen by her was an unavoidable oncoming speeding car. The Sisters who witnessed the event gave there eye witness account as follows. They all froze in horror expecting the worst because Mother was in no position, nor the drive of the car, to avoid the inevitable accident that was about to occur. Her companions reported that she seemed to rise up and away from the imminent impact. Mother, too, said, as she awaited the impact, that she felt a power like two hands lifting her from danger and placing her safely away from the road. The grateful and terrified driver was relieved to avoid the near tragedy and couldn’t explain why it did not take place. Mother, had always claimed that in a dream God had given her the task to develop EWTN, to spread His word throughout the world. She believes that her GA interceded for her so that she could complete the task that God had commissioned to her.
If we each spend but a moment we too can draw from our minds and hearts a time, place and circumstance when our GA came through for us. It need not be as dire as my circumstance nor as dramatic as Mother’s. Yet to each of us it comes at a time most needed. It can be the strength needed in overcoming the loss of a loved one, the reassurance before a job interview or courage in forbearance toward an internal struggle when we feel at our most alone. And especially when we face the unknown, when about to close our eyes to this world for the last time. It is then that we will be most assured of our GA’s intercession. Because he/she will, at our judgement before Christ, stand by us still and not leave our side as was so throughout our lives.