We know each of us has a guardian angel. But how often do we ask for his help? The first time I realized my guardian angel was my best hope was when I was scheduled to teach three workshops at a Christian writing conference several hours away by car. I woke up with a horrible migraine and cried as I wondered how I would manage the drive. I did not want to be unprofessional and cancel at the last minute. I cried because there is an element of shame in being chronically ill—I suffer from migraine headaches that can debilitate me for nearly half the days in a month—and I did not want to admit how weak I was. So, I prayed to my angel to bring me safely there and back. I still don’t know how I made the long drive. I put on my Rosary CD, and then listened to the Gospel of John, thinking how beautiful it would be to have Jesus upon my heart if I were to die. Not that I wanted to die. My children were still young. My husband would miss me. And I was loving my writing life even more since we had converted to Catholicism. I wanted everybody to have what I had—Jesus!
And boom! The revelation hit me—my guardian angel isn’t here just to protect me from bodily harm but to make sure I get to Heaven. Heaven! That’s the goal. God loves us so much He appoints an angel from the moment of our conception to guard and protect us from all dangers, and to guide us to our eternal home. This awareness, which I’ve had since I was a small child, still astounds me. As a child, I had complete trust in God’s protection. But the problem of suffering, so present in my life, was difficult to reconcile with belief in an omnipotent God. So, at age twelve I lost my faith, and ended my invocations to my guardian angel. But, without my knowledge, my angel was still guiding me.
I am very thankful to my angel for protecting me from death during my twenties because had I died then, my intellect so clouded by sin, I might have rejected God’s mercy and gone to Hell. It is by the grace of God, and the patience and long-suffering of my guardian angel, that I’ve been able to hear His promptings and return to God, and when my plans derail, to pray “not my will but Thine”. I am also returning to that childhood state of complete trust and surrender. If I am anxious about anything, I ask my angel to take care of the situation. I call upon the guardian angels of my children when I’m at the brink of losing my patience. I also call upon the angels of the people to whom I want to be a faithful witness. What a comfort it is to draw upon heavenly assistance.
Guardian angels carry our prayers and offerings to the throne of God; they come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with us, and if we are unable to attend, as it was for many during the pandemic, we can ask our angel to go in our place to praise and adore our blessed Lord. These heavenly creatures are a gift to us. Let us always remember they are watching over us and want us to reach Heaven! Cultivate a relationship with your angel. They are God’s gift to each of us. Dear angel! Ever at my side. How loving must thou be To leave thy home in Heaven to guard a guilty wretch like me. ~ Fr. Frederick William Faber (AD 1814-1863)