Guardian angels are way cooler than most people realize. I blame bad religious art, misrepresentations in the media, and a lack of emphasis on them in religious education. To be fair, catechists and religious educators have so much to cover in such a short amount of time, I completely understand why in-depth explanations of the angelic hosts fall by the wayside. After all, understanding “angelology” is not necessary for salvation as is understanding the Sacraments, Scripture, and Tradition. So in all honesty, it kind of makes sense as to why people don’t know as much about angels as they do other aspects of Catholicism.
That being said, knowing more about your guardian angel will help you to foster a relationship with him. And that will only help you in your quest for holiness! In fact, that’s exactly why God gave each one of us a friend from Heaven. Guardian angels aren’t merely here protect us from physical harm. Their mission is to help us make our way to the right side of eternity. There are innumerable ways in which they can step in and assist us through daily difficulty.
Responsibilities of Guardian Angels
One of the first prayers we learn as children is the Guardian Angel Prayer. It’s short, sweet, and easy to memorize. It actually also reveals a short summary of all the assistance your guardian angel can give.
In the last line, we make the request that our angel would be with us throughout our day, “…to light and guard, to rule and guide.”
What exactly does this mean?
Unlike humans, angels have infused knowledge. This means that they already know everything there is to know about anything and everything. This does not mean that they know the future; rather, they have all knowledge of spiritual and material truth.
When God created angels, he made them differently than us. Human beings gain knowledge through involvement. We have to experience the truth in some way, shape, or form before we can understand it. This is not true for angels. They were created already knowing these things.
Part of the duty of our guardian angel is to help enlighten our minds. This is especially advantageous to us in light of the Fall that takes place in Genesis. One of the effects passed down from that first sin in the Garden was the darkening of our intellects. By choosing to know evil, it clouded our understanding of goodness, truth, and beauty. We all experience this everyday. Sadly, we often forget that our guardian angel can help us sort through “gray matters.”
Assigned to us at conception, they are given the ability to communicate with us. Being spiritual beings, they don’t talk. But they do have the power to influence us (which they do without disrupting our freewill).
If you’re struggling with something intellectual, or any matter of the mind, ask your guardian angel to light the way. If you’re studying and struggling to comprehend the material, request a “lightbulb” from your guardian angel. If you’re in the middle of a test and can’t seem to remember the right answer, speak a silent prayer and seek some aid.
Maybe you’re a professional, and there’s some coding you can’t figure out, or a case you can’t crack, or a medical issue that has you stumped. Or maybe you’re dealing with family issues that can’t seem to be ironed out. Or you’re struggling to believe in something the Church teaches.
In all of these instances, as well as any other place in which you find yourself stuck at a stand-still, call upon your guardian angel. The Saints can certainly intercede for you, but your angel can actually enlighten you. I mean, his sole purpose is to serve you in your pursuit of goodness, truth, and beauty. Utilize him!
Within our Faith, this is the best known craft of our angels. Almost automatically, we picture them protecting us from bodily harm throughout our days. They can do this, and we should ask them for their guardianship, especially in dangerous situations that cannot be avoided.
However, they can also guard us from evil spirits trying to lead us astray. This is something we all deal with all day, everyday. Our guardian angels can help us with spiritual warfare, a silent but costly battle. He can’t fight your battle for you, but he can fight alongside you, sharing his influence to help encourage you to act courageously, with virtue, and with strength.Our guardian angels can help us with spiritual warfare, a silent but costly battle. He can’t fight your battle for you, but he can fight alongside you. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
By asking our guardian angels to “rule” over us, we’re asking for their assistance with moral decisions, as well as discipline. Back in the Garden, when humanity was in its state of original personhood, we had complete control over all of our appetites. Our lives were balanced, we knew when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” We could easily distinguish between right and wrong. Sin changed that.
In addition to the darkened intellect, another effect of sin was the weakening of man and woman’s will. Now, it’s common for our appetites and whims to “rule” us. We all know from experience that it’s often easier to obey our weaknesses and tendencies than it is to stand firm and do the right thing. Sometimes we encounter situations with a lot of gray moral matter. They can be very difficult to navigate, and we don’t even know what the right thing is in a particular circumstance.
Our guardian angels are able to assist us with all these things. Just as their intellect differs from ours, so does their will. Their will is “fixed,” in contrast to ours which is free. What this means is that, when they were created with infused knowledge, there was also a moment of decision. In this one moment, each angel chose whether they would or would not obey God. When they made their choice, it was definitive. There is no “changing their minds.” They can’t change their mind because they already know and understand everything. Thus that one choice to obey (or not to obey) became fixed. They will always obey God and they can help us to stand firm in our moral resolve as well.
Remember, we are merely pilgrims on earth, journeying to Heaven. I don’t know about you, but anytime I’m going through something new or difficult, I want guidance. I want the wisdom of others. I want to be led. It makes sense to rely on my guardian angel for spiritual guidance.
I often ask mine to guide me through dark thoughts or disagreements with a loved one. I ask him to pray alongside me and for me. Sometimes when I can’t pray, I imagine myself behind him and ask him to pray in my place. I ask him to remind me to do the good things I promised I would do for another. I try to rely on him the same way one might rely on a mentor. He knows more than I do about material and spiritual matters, and God gave him to me to help me. Imploring his aid actually makes my angel happy and helps me from getting lost.
Foster the Angelic Persons
The angels do so very much for us, and most of it goes unnoticed and underappreciated. St. John Bosco said that our guardian angel is our most faithful friend and companion. St. John Vianney said that our guardian angel tracks our merits in order to make a case for us at our personal judgment (he also says that Satan keeps a list of our sins). St. Bernard of Clairvaux encourages us to show affection for our 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.”
We often forget that they are always present with us here on earth. But in Heaven, we will be very aware of their presence and all that they have done for us. It makes sense to spend some intentional time with them now and to form a real friendship with them. After all, they already spend so much time with you!
It’s Easier than We Might Think
Establishing and nurturing this relationship with your guardian angel is way easier than you think. All you have to do is talk to him. Seriously, that’s it.
Start by including the traditional prayer to your guardian angel in your morning offering.
Then, as the day passes and the hard stuff hits, stop for a moment and consider how your angel might help you.
Can he offer you some knowledge? Can he offer you encouragement? Can he fight alongside you as you overcome a difficult moment?
Think about what he can do for you and then simply ask for help. Repeat this over and over again throughout your days. You won’t be disappointed.
Do you have a close relationship with your guardian angel? How do you call on him throughout your day?How to Grow Closer to Your Guardian Angel #BISblog // Click To Tweet