You are in a war zone. There’s a fierce battle going on and the stakes have never been higher. This is a most serious war. It’s a battle for life or death--your life or your death! And the life or death that I’m talking about is not the physical life or death of your body but the eternal life or eternal death of your soul!
Unfortunately you’re in enemy territory. The “prince of this world” is Satan and he wants to destroy any chance you have on reaching salvation. Satan is powerful and has myriads of fallen angels (demons) who want nothing more than to stop you and as many of mankind as possible from reaching the eternal home for which you were made for: Heaven. Heaven, where you'll be at rest, experience happiness that you can’t yet possibly imagine, and where you will never be bored. Heaven, where you can enjoy the Beatific Vision! Heaven, where the infinite God is present who will love you and protect you for all eternity!
Fortunately you are not alone in this battle. God wishes you to be saved and he provides you with the graces and means necessary to triumph over evil. Despite God’s help though, it’s not a slam dunk that you’ll win. You are free to choose whether to cooperate with or reject the Lord’s graces. But if you come to love God above all else, nothing will stop you from reaching your goal of eternal life.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans 8:38-39)
In this article I’ll discuss one of the ways that God equips us for surviving and even thriving in a world where it often seems like evil is dominant. I’ll talk about one very powerful ally that we all have at our disposal—the good angels and in particular our own guardian angel.
God loves hierarchy. Throughout all creation he’s made some of his creatures higher or lower than others. Plants are more complex than rocks, with some plants, like a rose bush much more complex than simpler plants like algae. Animals and insects can do more than plants with some animals such as monkeys being more complex and clever than snails or slugs. Next above the animals are human beings. We’re special in that we are rational beings who have a free will and can choose our own destiny. We are also the lowest level of being that is endowed with an immortal spirit we call the soul. Angels are the next “step up” from humans. Unlike humans, angels are purely spiritual beings. Though they have no physical bodies, angels are incredibly intelligent and powerful. It is said that each individual angel is its own species. That is, each angel occupies its own unique level within the hierarchy of God’s creation.
God also loves to delegate. He has used angels countless of times throughout history as messengers of his word and to influence the outcome of events. Most importantly, God has assigned each human being a guardian angel. Your guardian angel is with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, at this very moment, your guardian angel is next to you, reading this article along with you.
Your guardian angel is your heavenly advocate. He channels the graces God wishes to give you, into your life. For example your guardian angel may aid you in meeting other good people who will inspire you to live a more holy life. He may steer you toward good books, or inspire you towards holy thoughts. Equally as much he will do what he can to prevent demons from placing sinful thoughts or evil inspirations into your mind.
Your guardian angel (and angels in general) can protect you from physical harm as well. There are countless stories of people encountering angels in moments of crisis. One example of this took place in Birmingham, Alabama on April 8, 1998. On that day an F5 tornado hit the Open Door Church. The storm came upon the church members so quickly that they had no time to evacuate. They took shelter in a hallway on the lower level of the church. When the tornado had finally passed, everything was destroyed except the hallway where the pastor, church members, and a number of children were taking shelter. A dozen people were injured but everyone survived. What’s fascinating is that the children reported seeing angels during the storm holding the walls of the hallway in place. (The storm was so intense that one of the angels was heard saying that they needed more help!)
Guardian angels can also assist us in more mundane situations as well. There are many published testimonials of people being assisted by mysterious visitors who suddenly appear out of nowhere and then disappear as quickly as they come. Often these visitors alert someone of an imminent danger that needs to be addressed. It may be a fire that has just broken out, or a baby about to fall. While you may not believe in all the individual accounts that have been published, there have been enough such incidents reported on, over the years, that it is highly unlikely they’re all untrue.
Your guardian angel is your great protector from the supernatural forces of evil who are out to thwart your chances of obtaining eternal salvation. Guardian angels are nonstop in being present with you and fighting against the devil and all the fallen angels in the supernatural realm. However, they cannot force you to do or not do anything you choose. You still have free will. You are still free to choose between good and evil.
…neither angels nor demons take away our free choice. Your guardian angel casts a vote for you, and a tempting demon casts a vote against you, and you cast the deciding vote. (from the book “Angels and Demons” by Peter Kreeft)
It is widely believed throughout the Church that each human who has ever lived has had a guardian angel. Furthermore, guardian angels are not “recycled” but are uniquely assigned to each individual. It is estimated by some scientists that, over the course of the ages, roughly 100 billion human beings have lived and died on earth (so far). Thus there must be at least 100 billion angels. If there are other intelligent “body and soul” beings in other solar systems, then there may well be trillions upon trillions of angels.
The hour of your death is when Satan and the other evil spirits will attempt their most intense attacks upon you. It is at this time that your guardian angel will work his hardest at procuring your salvation. If you are dying in a state of grace, your guardian angel will assist in warding off any demons from these last assaults. If you’re in sin, your angel will still be doing what he can to inspire you to perform a final repentance, a “last ditch effort” to save you from an eternity of being separated from God.
After your death, your guardian angels’ task of protecting you is over. But he will continue to work as your advocate and provide you with some comfort and consolation for any time you may spend in purgatory. Only after you have entered Heaven (or Hell), does the work of your guardian angel come to an end.
It is only after the soul that was entrusted to them is in eternal beatitude that the “work” of the angel guardian is over. After this, the guardian angel rests for all eternity in the joy of the Lord. And they also have a special accidental joy if the soul they guarded is in heaven with them. (“Q’s and A’s on Guardian Angels” by Brian Kelly)
There’s a reason that the Church on earth is called “the Church Militant”. It’s because we’re all in a battle against the devil, flesh, and other evil temptations of this world. Unlike those already in Heaven (the Church Triumphant), or those in purgatory ("the Church Suffering" who will be in Heaven one day), our fate is still up for grabs.
As you undergo this war as a “soldier of Christ”, you’ll want all the help you can get to win this all-important battle for your eternal life. So take a little time each day to thank God for giving you a heavenly advocate who watches over you every moment of every day. You may even want to start saying the Angele Dei prayer.
It translates into English as:
Angel of God, my
to whom God's love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.
Recently my Dad passed away. In the funeral program was a prayer my Dad had written called Your Guardian Angel. Until the funeral, I had never known that my Dad had written anything about angels.
Your Guardian Angel
Though you may travel very far,
Let your Guardian Angel be your guiding star.
A star that beckons with its light
To steer you on to what is right.
A star that sends forth its rays
To light your path, to guide your ways.
A star that twinkles day and night
To cheer you up and calm your fright.
And when you reach that eternal gate,
A repentant sinner to become a Saint.
Your Guardian Angel who loves God too,
Will be there to welcome and guide you through.
Benjamin H. Kantack
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(This article was last updated October 14, 2017.)