The Catholic Church celebrates the Memorial of Guardian Angels in Autumn. You might remember learning that rhyming prayer to your guardian angel in childhood.
Perhaps you’ve seen lovely pictures depicting guardian angels watching over little kids in danger.
But if you’re anything like me, you might not give too much thought to your guardian angel on a day to day basis.
Even if you are in the habit saying an occasional prayer to your guardian angel, it can be a pretty good idea to take that practice even further.
According to the teaching of the Church, our guardian angels are particularly assigned to each of us for the express purpose of helping us get to heaven. That sounds like a pretty worthwhile devotion to me.
What does the Church teach?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “each believer” benefits from the “watchful care and intercession” of a guardian angel.
The Church doesn’t definitively teach that each person has a guardian angel from the time his or her conception. However, they certainly believe in guardian angels at least from the time of someone’s baptism.
Many theologians hold the opinion that even non-Christians have their own guardian angel from their life’s start.
So just what are these guardian angels watching and interceding for on our behalf?
If we look to those probably well-meant but somewhat lacking devotional pictures of the angel protecting people in danger, we might not have as great an appreciation for our angels as we should.
Our guardian angels’ chief purpose is to help us on the path of holiness! However, I don’t doubt that they do their fair share of protecting us from physical dangers sometimes as well!
A help in temptation
Concretely, our guardian angels probably help us grow in holiness in more ways than we can ever imagine. Certainly one of those ways becomes clear if we try to keep them in mind when we’re tempted most.
Temptations of all kinds, though perhaps especially those against chastity, tend to come strongest when we feel as if no one can see us.
While we probably know at least on some level intellectually that God can see everything we do, sometimes that’s not enough to help us overcome the temptation to a sin that feels hidden.
When this happens, it can be very helpful to remember the presence of our guardian angels beside us.
Particularly for Catholics living in a season of singleness, life can sometimes seem solitary. It can be hard to find other like-minded people to help keep us accountable in our trouble spots.
If this is the case for you, developing a close relationship with you guardian angel can help fill that gap when you most need help.
A help for our future vocation
Another way devotion to one’s guardian angel is particularly important for single Catholics is in reference to a future marriage.
If a guardian angel’s purpose is to help us get to Heaven, we can only assume they’ll be more than ready to help us find that future spouse who will be essentially working with them to get us to Heaven.
Just like our guardian angels can help guide us in making other decisions that will influence our future holiness, they can help us make good decisions for our dating lives as well.
Not sure whether that person you met online is as Catholic as you were hoping for? Ask your guardian angel to help you discern rightly.
Don’t know if your date is concerned enough about chastity to have a holy relationship? Ask your guardian angel to guide you and to help you understand if you need to get out.
Even in a general sense, considering that we ask Mary, the saints, and perhaps even friends or relatives to pray for our dating relationships or that we find a good person to marry, we should definitely be asking our guardian angel as well.
The same thing can be said of asking for your guardian angel’s prayers as people sometimes say about asking the saints: “It’s good to have friends in high places!”
More than just a childhood bedtime prayer
Even though a lot of us probably learned about our guardian angels in childhood and might have had a sort of romanticized idea of them protecting us from falling off cliffs and things of that nature, a real devotion to them is anything but childish.
The reality is that God gave them to us as a concrete help to fight against the demons that very much want us to fail.
Try to think of your guardian angel often, and ask him for help until he’s exhausted (which would be never!). If you ever do pray that catchy rhyming prayer, make it sincere:
“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, to rule and guide. Amen.”