Our Guardian Angels watch over us day and night even without our knowledge. These fascinating creatures are celebrated by the Catholic Church on October 2 as established by Pope Clement X.
Apart from personal Guardian Angels, it is a tradition in the Church (taught by theologians such as Saint Thomas Aquinas) that all countries, cities, dioceses and parishes have their own Guardian Angels.
To help us appreciate these “heavenly helpers,” here are 5 amazing facts about our Guardian Angels:
1. Every person in the world has a Guardian Angel (whether Christian or not)
It is believed by theologians and is confirmed in the YOUCAT that “Every person receives from God a Guardian Angel” (n. 55). This is consistent with Sacred Scripture, the teachings of Saints Thomas Aquinas, Basil and Jerome as well as experiences from non-Christians who believe they were helped by a Guardian Angel.
2. Guardian Angels are appointed at the beginning of life
As the Catechism explains, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession” (CCC 336). This statement leads some to believe (Saint Anselm for example) that angels are appointed at the very moment of the union of body and soul in the womb. If true (it is not dogmatically declared and is therefore up for debate), it would follow that women who are pregnant have two Guardian Angels watching over them and their child.
3. Guardian Angels have names, but God gives those names to them
The Catholic Church has instructed us that,
“The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.” (Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, The Directory of Popular Piety, n. 217, 2001)
The reasoning behind this is that a name contains a certain amount of authority over another person. If I know your name I can call you whenever I want and can feel a certain amount of authority over you. We do not have authority over our Guardian Angels. They only report to one commander: God Himself. We can ask for their assistance or help, but we should not feel like they are at our beck and call.
4. We do not become Guardian Angels when we die
We do not transform into angels after death. All Guardian Angels were created at the beginning of time in a single moment of creation.
God had a Guardian Angel in mind for you when he created the world.
5. Guardian Angels are here to help us
The Catechism describes a Guardian Angel as a “shepherd” who is meant to protect us and lead us into everlasting life. We are encouraged to pray to our Guardian Angels on a daily basis, asking their help in every need.
The Church provides an excellent prayer that can be prayed by the young and the old:
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.
Summarized by Theresa Frances