When we contemplate the beauty of God’s creation and our place in it, we should not forget the beauty and role of the angels. Today we celebrate the memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels. We praise God and thank him for assigning an angel to each one of us.
In the Catechism, we read: “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by the watchful care and intercession of the angels. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC, 336).
Our first reading tells us about an angel sent not just to protect and guide an individual, but rather sent to guide the entire people of Israel. Different angels are given different missions by God. The angels belonging to the highest choirs worship God before his throne and minister to him, while angels from the other choirs are sent out to assist us and the world according to God’s providential plan for all creatures and according his plan of salvation for man.
What the Book of Exodus says about the Angel who guided Israel applies as well to our guardian angels. Our angel goes before us and knows the way that leads to life, the path that leads to the spiritual place that God has prepared for each one of us. We are called to listen to his voice and heed it. When we disobey and rebel, we are refusing and rebelling against God’s will.
Our Guardian Angel has been granted authority and power. At the same time, no angel, good or evil, can force us to do something against our will. Good angels present good things to our minds, evil angels present evil disguised as good. Today’s psalm recalls that God has given knowledge to each good angel about us. With this knowledge they can guard us in all of our ways. They can direct us into the way of salvation and peace. But in the end, we are the ones who choose good or evil, we are the ones who choose either to act as free children of God or to abuse our freedom by choosing evil. When we listen to our guardian angel we are assured of God’s protection from our enemies and foes.
Our knowledge of the angels is very imperfect. Here on earth, we can only distinguish them in a general way. In heaven, we will know them distinctly. We will see their relation to God and how they have acted to bring about God’s loving plan. Based on Scripture, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Theology distinguish nine choirs of angels. These nine choirs, organized in three sets of three, are a reflection of the Trinity: the first three choirs are closest to God and contemplate him and the goal of his creation; the next three choirs consider what is to be done to reach this goal; the last three choirs apply this knowledge to God’s effects.
Of those angels who apply this knowledge in a practical way, the Principalities are said to hold the highest place. Their role is compared that of generals and officers in battle. Our guardian angels belong to the lowest choir, because they are the ones who carry out what is to be done.
Our veneration of the Holy Guardian Angels today fills us with gratitude, for we have a heavenly protector who enlightens us, defends us, guides us, and intercedes for us. The contemplation of God’s creation, both visible and invisible, fills us with wonder and awe – for there are things we will see in heaven which surpass our imagination and are more beautiful than anything here on earth. Lastly, we are filled with hope, for we know that the history of the world is in God’s hands and that the heavenly hosts of heaven work tirelessly to accomplish God’s merciful and loving plan.
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