A question about Guardian Angels

A question about Guardian Angels October 2, 2015

A reader writes:

I asked this same question of Bishop Robert Barron so you’re in good company. In pop-Christian culture I hear accounts of travelers missing a flight that ends up crashing. Often God and/or their guardian angel is given credit for orchestrating events to save their lives. One wonders what of those who died? Having said that…

Do you have any thoughts regarding the role of guardian angels in our lives and the yesterday’s tragedy in Oregon? I ask this as a Catholic believer & lover of God. But I have been trying to wrap my head around the irony all morning. Then again, at a deeper level, maybe there is no irony at all. Thank you.

I believe in angels, of course. But I think the job of an angel is *primarily* to help us prepare for a holy death. Angels show up in the life of Jesus, and what do they do? Help him get ready for Calvary. The angel in Gethsemane isn’t there to rescue him, but to help strengthen him. Beyond that, we know not the day or the hour…

The Holy Martyrs of Roseburg’s angels appear to have done their jobs very well to me. No angel is going to be able to prevent your death forever. But if you cooperate with your angel, he will orient the trajectory of your life so that, when you come to it as you surely shall, death will be a door, not a hole.

Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us!

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  • Chris W

    Well Said

  • Tweck

    Weird, I’ve been thinking about my guardian angel over the past few days, and was reading something on Catholic Answers about it this morning. And voila, I come here and you’ve already posted something about them.

    I can’t get an answer to just *how* to communicate with my guardian angel outside of praying the guardian angel prayer, or *how* to know when my guardian angel is communicating to me. Some folks say your angel can’t hear your thoughts, others say he can.

    So should I talk to my guardian angel? And if I do, should it be aloud? Pope Francis made a big point of encouraging people to “listen” to our guardian angels, so how do I listen?

    Also, if I talk to my guardian angel (aloud or in my mind depending on whether or not said angel can hear my thoughts or not) in addition to Jesus (who I *know* can hear my thoughts) and the Blessed Virgin Mary (who I *think* can hear my thoughts), now I’m talking to three separate… beings… in addition to our Heavenly Father and sometimes the Holy Spirit… *sigh* *goes nuts* and I get confused about who to even talk to half the time.

    Confused Revert

    • Tweck

      P.S. And I absolutely love having a guardian angel, who has probably spent 20+ years being really sad and horrified at my behavior, and now I just want to make that poor angel happy. I owe it to the poor angel, who has been so patient with me for so long. I feel like I want to give it a hug and apologize for being such a terrible ward all these years.

      • Reader Yesterday

        This just made my day! Making our guardian angels happy is a beautiful goal. Thank you!

        • Tweck

          Certainly!! 🙂 I’m glad it could make your day. And isn’t it???? That poor angel. smh. I’ve got a lot to make up for. ;^)

          I read that our angels don’t want to show up before God empty handed, and when we make prayerful offerings of intentions at Mass, we load our Guardian Angels down with gifts to bring before the throne of God, and they show up happy, with big armfuls of offerings!!! *excited!!!*

    • Chris W

      I *think*, sometimes, we lose sight of the communal nature of who we are as God’s people, the Body of Christ, today. We are united as members of the One Body. The pro-nouns of *I* and *ME* don’t fit very well into the *ONE*.
      Archangel’s, Saints, the Guardian Angels, and *WE* pray that we will all be united in the Trinity for eternity. The Angels are created beings as we are, but we are created very differently. The Angels serve our Lord and He has given them the charge to guide and protect us. (Pretty amazing when you think about it.)
      When we accept that we must serve one another, we learn something about the nature of creation itself.
      The Saints show us that it is not too much for us and if we listen, there will be an answer. It might be insight coming as a bolt of lightening, or it may be calm presence giving you an inclination.
      The great news is, all this is in place so that we know that we too can make it. Yes, we too can make it.
      Thank you LORD

      • Tweck

        I appreciate this very much:

        “The Saints show us that it is not too much for us and if we listen, there will be an answer. It might be insight coming as a bolt of lightening, or it may be calm presence giving you an inclination. ”

        And I’ve had many of these sorts of realizations, answers, etc.

        But anyway, in the One Body, we are leading individual lives, and some of us have no Catholic friends at all to hang out with, and are single, so we’re basically just going about being an “I.”

        I pray alone all the time and have no guidance, and am easily confused about how to properly orient prayer and being in general dialogue with members of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Mother and my guardian angel.

        So honestly, “I” does fit very well into a person’s existence when they have no IRL community, friends or family to turn to regularly, and are on basically a solo journey except for the one hour of communal experience every Sunday.

        • Chris W

          Have you considered becoming involved with the Men’s group at your Church?
          Our group greatly fortifies me.

          • Tweck

            I’m looking into it, and thank you! 🙂 Also, faith formation starts up soon, so there’s that. I guess I’m just confused about my “private” prayer life when it comes down to it. Never even sure if I’m praying “right.”

            I have a non-denominational friend who has such a vibrant community around him. I attended an Assembly of God church once before I reverted back to the Catholic Church, and people were falling all over themselves introducing themselves and being friendly, and they had a big, shared meal… it was like night and day. I guess it’s really just about being assertive.

            But really, it’s more just confusion about how to pray properly.

            After your initial comment, I thought about the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary, and how nowhere in those prayers does the word “I” appear. It *is* all about we. So you were very right. :/

            • Chris W

              RCIA is Great! You’ve been talking about personal prayer and getting more from it through the Saints and Guardian Angels. Sponsoring folks or becoming a team member is another great way to learn more about the Churches treasures.
              As for praying “right”, a question to ponder is; is a sincere prayer ever “wrong”?

              • Tweck

                Thank you, Chris! Sorry for the delay in responding. But I just wanted to say thank you. And apologies again for my initially testy response.

                “As for praying “right”, a question to ponder is; is a sincere prayer ever “wrong”?”

                Perfect answer to my pedantic problem! 🙂 I get caught up in technicalities, and get worried that my prayers aren’t properly “formulated,” or whether or not angels, or Mary (who I’m convinced *can* hear my thoughts now, ha ha) can hear or what-have we… which is silly!! And you just said it very clearly. Many, many, many appreciative thank-yous to you! 🙂

                • Chris W

                  I thought of you yesterday as I heard the Gospel proclaimed. “And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them,but the disciples rebuked them.
                  When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
                  “Let the children come to me;
                  do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to
                  such as these.
                  Amen, I say to you,
                  whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child
                  will not enter it.”
                  Then he embraced them and blessed them,
                  placing his hands on them.”
                  My oh My how we all tend to complicate our lives! And our Lord says, come to me like a child so that we may enter the kingdom.

                  • Tweck

                    Thank you for thinking of me! I went to the family mass on Sunday, and there was a Franciscan Brother there who talked to the kids all about St. Francis, and they had a children’s choir… It was really sweet and beautiful. And those kids just have the most perfect faith… it got me sort of choked up, and I get the feeling God wanted me to see that. I often think that I want to be like the kid I was when I was 5, 8, 10 years old. Uncomplicated, trusting, and everything made the most simple, perfect sense.

                    And yes, it resonated with the reading too!! I don’t normally go to the family mass, being a single person, but I think I’m gonna go to that one more often now. 🙂

              • Tweck

                As for RCIA, I got denied, ha ha – as I grew up in the Church and went through all the necessary sacraments (baptism, first Communion, Confirmation) – but my priest told me I should go to Faith Formation. 🙂

                Anyway, thanks again for putting up with me. 🙂

      • Tweck

        Otherwise, I completely agree with what you’re saying. Completely. But when I ask for advice in my own life, being dismissed as being selfish for asking how “I” should do something is sort of annoying.

    • Nate

      Chris W did well to address what seems to be your main quandary, Tweck, so I shan’t repeat it, but here are a couple of now disparate thoughts:
      You may well know this already, but it’s been an Angel-heavy week, which may explain some of why they’re on your mind, and can certainly explain posts like this one showing up today. Earlier in the week, the 29th, we had the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, ArchAngels. The calendar for today has, naturally, our Sainted Guardian Angels (memorial). So it’s a great time for both the Church and the blogosphere to think about them right along with you.
      As to the powers/abilities of Angels, we don’t have a complete list, but we do have descriptions of their roles, among them Hebrews 1:14 “What are they, all of them, but spirits apt for service, whom he sends out when the destined heirs of eternal salvation have need of them?”
      So we know that they’re charged with, as Chris W put it, guiding and protecting us. They must then have the abilities necessary to that charge. I think it’s safe to say, though, that just as we believe God has made it possible for any other saint to hear our thoughts when we pray for their intercession, our Guardian Angels can at least hear those parts of our thoughts that they need to/are properly addressed to them.
      Out loud, not out loud, you should do it however makes the most sense to you, but either way, it’s a relationship you shouldn’t neglect, and it might be the only way you’ll learn how to listen in return.
      Also, your concern about both this and prayer in general are understandable, but remember that God knows better than you do what help you need. The point of prayer isn’t to make sure God is up to speed and doesn’t forget anything, so do your best, but if you worry about the content or the method of communication, just keep in mind that even if something is not quite right on your end, God knows your intent and He knows what’s truly best for you. Moreover, He has instructed your Guardian well and if you’re open to it and willing to cooperate, He has given you a great deal of help, and a mighty helper.
      Glory and thanks to God for giving us such guides and protectors!

      • Tweck

        Sorry for the delay in my response here. Thank you so much for your advice. Yes, it occurred to me that the seemingly resonating things to do with angels had much to do with the fact that we had the Feast of the Archangels, and there’s been talk of angels around the blogosphere. 🙂 And it was the Feast of our Guardian Angels. 🙂

        And thank you on the prayer advice too. I keep getting worried about “technicalities,” when praying, but you’re so right!

        “The point of prayer isn’t to make sure God is up to speed and doesn’t forget anything, so do your best, but if you worry about the content or the method of communication, just keep in mind that even if something is not quite right on your end, God knows your intent and He knows what’s truly best for you.”

        Thank you, thank you, for this, and for all your advice, it’s greatly appreciated, very helpful, and puts my heart at ease.

  • Dave

    I highly recommend the CD by Dr. Mark Miravalle titled, “Angels Explained: What you should know about the Nine Choirs”. One of the points he mentions is that a great gift we can give our Guardian Angel is to go to Eucharistic Adoration and adore the Lord. Why? Because our Angels love to adore the Lord, too and when we spend time in Adoration, we give them time with the Lord face-to-face, too.

  • anna lisa

    I don’t think being saved from an accident makes a person more beloved by God, it just means there was a reason for the intervention. In our case, we were three adults, in a car with five young children. Three of our children hadn’t been born yet. So while it remains mysterious, some day one or more of the eleven of us will be able to say “Ohhhhhh! THAT was the reason we were saved like that.” It makes me a little nervous now that I think about it.
    –Interesting that we did pray out loud as a family, to our guardian angels, asking them for a safe trip. We do that before every road trip.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I just found the following article a few minutes ago. Pope Francis happened to be talking about Guardian Angels in yesterday’s homily during his morning mass at residence Santa Marta :

    From: http://www.catholicregister.org/faith/faith-news/item/21023

    Respect and listen to your Guardian Angel