7 Interesting Facts About Our Guardian Angels
“Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule, to guide. Amen.”
This is the first prayer that I can remember learning as a child after the Our Father and Hail Mary. I can remember reading board books about guardian angels. I had an image in my room of two angels with long flowing robes and gentle faces watching over two children playing in a stream. While these images are beautiful, our guardian angels are so much greater than what we see on Hallmark cards.
We really don’t know much about guardian angels. We hear about them all the time. As we approach the Feast of Guardian Angels on October 2 (See also: Rejoice on the Feast of the Guardian Angels), let’s learn a little about our heavenly friends who are on this journey with us.
#1 Everyone has a Guardian Angel
Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, everyone receives from God a guardian angel from the moment of conception. On guardian angels, Pope Benedict XVI said, “From the beginning until the hour of death, human life is surrounded by their constant protection.”
I once read a story about a mother who had a son struggling with addiction and she didn’t know where he was most of the time. She prayed to and for his guardian angel daily and her son later credited his mother’s prayer and his guardian angel’s intercession for his eventual recovery.
#2 Guardian Angels Help Us Avoid Physical Dangers, Especially If the Protection Will Help Us Achieve Salvation
How comforting is it to know that we have a friend with us always, protecting us from all harm? Our guardian angels are with us constantly, protecting and guiding us. Psalm 91:11-12 declares, “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands, they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
Not only are they protecting us from physical harm, but also from sin. They ward off evil, and also give us strength, especially in times of temptation. St. Bernard said, “As often, therefore, as a most serious temptation is perceived to weigh upon you and an excessive trial is threatening, call to your guard, your leader, your helper in your needs, in your tribulation; cry to him and say: ‘Lord, save us; we perish!’”
#3 Guardian Angels Not Only Protect Us, But Also Pray For Us
Our guardian angels have a very unique relationship with the Lord and can carry our needs to Him on our behalf. They are wonderful intercessors for any intention you may have. They are our friends and they love us deeply. They want to hear from you occasionally!
#4 Guardian Angels Have An Intellect and A Will, Just Like Humans
We are used to seeing the image of angels with flowing robes and wings, but they do not have physical bodies. Frequently when an angel appears to a human in Scripture, their first words are, “Do not be afraid.” It would be unsettling to see a guardian angel. But they have their own personality and sense of humor. They are created unique and individual, just like people are.
#5 Guardian Angels Have Names
Tagging along on the last fact, yes, just like the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael have names, your guardian angel has a name. While it has been a common practice in Christian churches to give these heavenly beings names or to ask your guardian angel to reveal their name, the Magisterium actively discourages this. According to the Office for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament’s Directory On Popular Piety and the Liturgy, “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” (no. 217).
Naming something implies you have a sense of authority over them. We name our pets, we name our children, we name a newly discovered molecule because we have command over it. But not our guardian angels. Only God has command over them. It’s another thing to look forward to when I enter heaven: thanking my guardian angel and learning their name.
#6 The Church Encourages Us To Pray and Thank Our Guardian Angels
Our guardian angels are not at our constant beck and call. They have free will. So the fact that they are guiding and watching us is a gift that we should be grateful for.
#7 We Do Not Become Angels When We Die
When I attend funerals, I frequently hear, “He/she is an angel now, watching over me.” While the second part might be true that the deceased is now praying and interceding for us, we do not become angels when we die. Since angels are their own celestial beings, we cannot become one. It’s like saying a fly becomes a cow when it dies. It’s inaccurate. Instead, when we die and go to heaven we remain ourselves with a glorified body.