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The Catholic Defender: Feast of the Guardian Angels

Guardian Angels Day comes around once a year on October 2. It is a day that seeks to recognize the protective roles that guardian angels have in our lives.

Incorporate the Guardian Angel prayer into your daily prayer routine in the morning or at night. Have an “angel” themed meal. (Consider angel hair pasta with angel food cake for dessert! Or how about some chicken wings followed by angel wings for dessert?)

The feast of the guardian angels reminds us that we are not without spiritual help on our journey through life. The watchful care and intercession of the angels are but a reflection of the even greater watchful care and intercession of the Lord.

Originally this feast celebrated only St. Michael, and in some places was even a holy day of obligation. Eventually there arose a request to have a separate feast in honor of the guardian angels, those angelic spirits who are assigned by God to guide and protect each human soul.

each man has a guardian angel who stands before the face of the Lord. This guardian angel is not only a friend and a protector, who preserves from evil and who sends good thought; the image of God is reflected in the creature—angels and men—in such a way that angels are celestial prototypes of men.

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not only for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer, and to present their souls to God at death.

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. Saint Benedict gave it impetus and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.

Devotion to the angels is, at base, an expression of faith in God’s enduring love and providential care extended to each person day in and day out.

Angel sent by God to guide me,Be my light and walk beside me;Be my guardian and protect me;On the paths of life direct me.

ANGEL OF GOD, my Guardian dear,To whom His love commits me here,Ever this day [or night] be at my side,To light and guard, to rule and guide.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Bless the bed that I lie on. Before I lay me down to sleep, I give my soul to Christ to keep. Four corners to my bed, Four angels there aspread, Two to foot and two to head, And four to carry me when I'm dead. I go by sea, I go by land; The Lord made me with His right hand.


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