I got a guy in Heaven: Feast of the Guardian Angels
It just seems to be human nature that we all want a connection to power. We want someone “on the inside” who can whisper in the ear of the boss and get things done for us. Sometimes, we just need a guy that can talk to the boss and things get done.
Growing up there was a guy that would advertise on TV, and his punchline was “You’ve got a friend in the carpet business!” I think the name of that place was Buddy’s Carpet, but it was amazingly powerful — it incited that “I got a guy for that” feeling. He’ll get me a deal because he’s connected. There is a deep human need to be connected, and it works for places and organizations. It’s always fun to be able to say you’ve got a connection to a place. Very typically, if you mention a famous place to a crowd of people, someone will want to point out that they have a friend, cousin, or someone connected to them at that place. Car dealers will often play on this and advertise that you’ve got a friend in the business and they’ll give you a friendly deal. Many times, people like to compete as to who has a stronger connection…
Well, I got a guy in Heaven. He’s there all the time, and he’s in good with God. So I got a line. He’s always there for me and he answers every call. Yeah, I’m connected, see. Don’t mess with me or I’ll call my guy.
Before you think I’m boasting, I got news for you: you do, too!
The other day we had the feast of the Archangels and angels, and while I get excited for that, today is even more special to me because it is a day that is set aside by Mother Church to commemorate that there is one angel, out of all the hosts of angels, just one is mine. His job from God is to be my angel. God told my guardian angel, “You. I want you be John’s guy on the inside. If he needs anything, you tell Me.” How cool is that? Thanks, God!
But, explains Fr. Hardon, your angel has some specific goals: If you are baptized, he attempts to protect your state of grace, to bring peace to you. You have to cooperate. And, your angel, yes, will help you do penance. You read that correctly — penance.
On Peace, Fr. Hardon explains:
The first of these ministrations of the guardian angels is to bring us peace. In the Eastern tradition, St. Basil tells us: “We must pray to God who is well disposed towards us in order that He might give an angel of peace as a companion to protect us.”
How are the guardian angels messengers of peace? They are messengers of peace by teaching our minds the truth, the truth about God, about ourselves, and about our relationship with those whom God’s providence has placed into our lives.
The first meaning of peace is the experience of knowing the truth. How many people in our day are in deep internal conflict because their minds are not in possession of the truth .
Instinctively we ask ourselves: Is there a God? Is there a purpose in life? Why are we here on earth at all? What is the meaning of suffering? What is the meaning of love? All of these and an ocean of other questions keep coming to our minds from the dawn of reason until our last conscious moments here on earth. Only those who can answer these questions truthfully can be at peace. It is not pious rhetoric or a poetic cliché to say that peace of mind is the experience of possessing the truth. The first function of our guardian spirits, therefore, is to tell us what is the truth and thus provide what is so desperately needed in today’s confused humanity. Millions are in deep interior turmoil because they do not know the truth in their lives.
But our guardian angels are also angels of peace because they are sent by God to tell us what is the will of God in our lives. If knowing the truth gives peace of mind, responding to the will of God gives peace of heart. It is here especially that our angels are both our guides and our guardians. They guide us to know what God wants of us, and they guard us against the greatest danger in our lives, the risk of choosing our own will instead of the will of God. Being specially enlightened by God, Whose face they constantly behold, the angels know what God expects of us and they are His principal agents in communicating this divine expectation to us. There is no better prayer to the guardian angel than:
“Angel of God, obtain for me the grace to know what God expects of me. If I choose to do His will I will share in the peace that you now enjoy in a blessed eternity.”
What else would you expect your “guy on the inside” to do? Because your angel is in Heaven, and sees God constantly… always… he is aware of what Heaven and God are like. Wouldn’t you expect him to tell you about it? If you have a guy on the inside at Donald Trump’s offices, wouldn’t you ask him what Donald is like in daily life? You’d ask things like “what is it like to work there? has he spoken to you? what did you say?” Have you ever asked your angel such things of Heaven and God? If not, you should.
Secondly, for the baptized soul, the angel has a purpose to get you to Heaven. That means assisting you to stay in a state of grace and become more pleasing to God. For all of us, that includes penance for sin. Explains Fr. Hardon:
The last title by which most people would call their guardian angel is to speak of him as the angel of penance. But so he is. We have all offended the goodness of God. We have sinned by insisting on doing what we want instead of surrendering our wills to the divine majesty. This is where our guardian angel is our constant reminder, or shall I call him warner, that, having sinned we must do penance. There is no choice.
How does our guardian angel serve as our angel of penance? In two ways: He knows far better than we that every sin we commit deprives us of the grace of God. He knows what happened to the rebellious spirits, led by Lucifer, who refused to submit their wills to the Creator and have been suffering eternal punishment for their pride. But our angel is also an angel of penance in reminding us, dare I say every moment of the day, that the most effective penance we can perform is to make reparation for our failures in loving God by loving Him more deeply, more generously, more patiently than we would ever have done had we not sinned. Once again I suggest a short prayer to our angel of penance:
“Angel of God, you love God so deeply because you understand God’s love so completely. Ask our Lord to give me something of your great love for God, a repentant sinner, that I may join you in heavenly glory. Our Lord promised that ‘There will be joy among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’ May I give you and your fellow angels something of this joy over my own generous repentance for my sins.”
And finally, if you have a guy on the inside, he knows how to “Talk to the boss.” Your angel knows how to talk with God. I bet you’ve never asked him to convey a message to God for you. Or asked him to help you talk to God. Yet, explains Fr. Hardon, this is one of his chief purposes!
There is no single angelic theme in biblical revelation that is more commonly described than the role of the angels as communicating our prayers to God. But our focus here is on the guardian angels as angels of our prayers.
How, we may ask, is our guardian angel the angel of prayer? He is first of all the angel of prayer by enlightening our minds with holy thoughts, without which we could not pray. Let me emphasize, the foundation of the spiritual life is in the mind. What we think, we desire. What we desire, we choose. What we do, makes us what we are. It all begins, I repeat, in the mind. How desperately we need the help of the angels to continually enlighten our minds with holy thoughts without which prayer would be a pious fantasy.
Our natural tendency is to be so preoccupied with the things of this world that we have to, dare I say, do violence to ourselves to place ourselves in the spirit of prayer. When Christ taught us the Our Father, He told us to say, “Our Father, who art in heaven.” This is the primary need of our souls if we are going to pray. We must lift up our minds and hearts beyond the perishable things of this world and raise them to the heavens above. Who is better equipped to raise these earthly minds of ours to the thoughts of God and the heavens where He lives? Surely it is the angels who are inhabitants of that spiritual kingdom which they merited not long after their creation by their fidelity to their Creator. What do the saints and the angels mainly do in heaven? They pray! Needless to say, they enjoy the experience ecstatically.
In so many ways, Christ tells us, reminds us, warns us to lift up our souls to the heaven in which He lives. We might say this is the deepest spiritual struggle of our lives here on earth. It is the struggle of living physically in this world of noise and tinkling cymbals, and yet constantly raise our souls to the heavens where the angels dwell. They are not only inhabitants of heaven. Heaven is familiar to them. They enjoy their heavenly surroundings. They know what it means to be in the constant vision of God and experience the beatitude, which this vision provides.
Whatever we know about the theology of prayer, we know that we need the assistance of those experienced in prayer who can teach us what it really means to pray. It means to be in the presence of God, enjoy His intimacy and experience the nearness of His presence. The angels are experienced-prayers. We should therefore expect that, in many ways, the principal assistance they can give us as our guardians and guides is to train us in the art of prayer. In this connection, there is no more important phrase reporting Christ’s words in the gospels than when He told us that the guardian angels always see the face of the Father who is in heaven and therefore constantly behold the divinity of our Creator.
Prayer is many things, and by now a library of volumes has been written on the theology and practice of prayer. But one thing is certain, prayer here on earth is seeing the face of God by faith. We are to communicate with this God who we believe engages in conversation with us whenever we pray. That is what the angels are constantly doing in heaven, engaging in conversation with the Most High. We might say they are professionals in the practice of prayer and we are still little children who need to learn the rudiments of talking with our Heavenly Father.
There is another profound sense in which our guardian angels are the angels of prayer. Strictly speaking whenever we pray, the principal object of our prayer is God Himself. There are so many things that we need from the hands of God. So many things that only He can provide. But we need mediators between God and ourselves. We believe there is such a thing as praying directly to God. But there is too much in Scripture to remind us that we need persons who are closer to God than we are to be our intercessors with the Almighty. That is where the angels serve the function of mediating between the Almighty and ourselves. The closer a person is to God, the more holy that person is, the more pleasing to God, the more effective is that person’s intercession before the throne of the Holy Trinity. We define the Beatific Vision as the face-to-face, intuitive seeing of the Trinity. The angels not only see God, they are deeply loved by God. Their power, therefore, as pleaders for us before God is beyond human explanation. What we know by faith is that these angelic hosts are potent interceders on our behalf.
The more devoted we are to them and the more fervently we invoke their aid, the more of God’s blessings they will obtain for us who are still living in the shadows of faith. One last prayer to our guardian angels:
“My guardian angel, you always behold the Holy Trinity. You are deeply loved by the divine Majesty. You know how desperately I need the grace of God to know what He wants me to do and the strength I need to surrender my stubborn will to His divine will. How I need your powerful intercession with the Almighty. I trust you will hear my prayer and I am confident that with your help I will live my life as a sacrifice of myself to God and thus merit to join you in that celestial glory where you are waiting for me. Amen.”
Today is your day to make anew! Talk to your guy on the inside today! Get the scoop! Get cracking!
This article, I got a guy in Heaven: Feast of the Guardian Angels is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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