You might not have thought much about angels, or your guardian angel, or the angels in scripture. Now’s your chance!
In Angels: Help From on High, Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP, writes,
“Angels have gotten some bad press. Artists often depict them as chubby babies with wings, flying lazily around clouds dotting a blue sky. But who would ever turn to such creatures for protection or help? Wouldn’t that be like asking a two-year-old to balance your checkbook or change a flat tire? We can’t see angels, and perhaps this is why artists often come up with the chubby babies. Consider instead this description of a mighty angel:
“And I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He held a little scroll open in his hand. Setting his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, he gave a great shout, like a lion roaring. And when he shouted, the seven thunders sounded (Rev 10:1–3).
“Now that’s an angel to reckon with! The imagery in the Book of Revelation is not meant to be taken literally. But it does help us realize that angels are mighty beings. Anyone who can snap the seven thunders to attention gets our respect. And God has given the angels to us as our helpers, protectors, and friends. They’re on our side. They’ll help us in all the difficulties that may creep into our lives. Their main job is to help us spiritually, but they also help us in all of life’s problems. When the heat of temptation starts to burn, the angels come to our aid. When our relationships spin out of control like a jackknifed eighteen-wheeler, the angels come to our aid. When we have to mark another week of unemployment on the calendar, the angels come to our aid. No matter what upheavals we face, we can count on the angels.”
Has there been a moment, a situation, an event in your life when you were mysteriously saved from something seemingly inevitable? Many of us have experienced such a situation. I sometimes feel that God should give my guardian angel a raise, because I am sure keeping that particular angel busy saving me from myself!
Angels: Help From on High is a wonderful way to explore that relationship. It includes The story of the angels (what the Bible teaches us about them, how the angels were tested, Jesus and the angels, and how the angels can help us); it introduces three familiar angels (Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel); it specifies who our guardian angels are (as life coaches and as bringing peace, repentance, and prayer); it addresses Mary and the angels and especially the Angelus prayer; it draws us into walking with the angels and concludes with prayers and devotions.
We can read about St. Thomas Aquinas, who was clearly fascinated by angels. “Aquinas wrote in the question and answer format that was popular in his day,” writes Sister Lorraine. “He would pose a question, present both sides of the issue, and offer his own reply. The following are a few of the questions Aquinas asks about the angels that would probably be of interest to people today. They are by no means an exhaustive summary of his work on angels, but these highlights give us a lot to think about.” The questions are indeed interesting: how many angels are there? What are the choirs of angels? Do angels have bodies? Do angels know the future? Can angels know our thoughts?
Definitely a lot to think about!
Another way of entering more fully into appreciating the holy angels is through prayer, and here, too, Pauline Books & Media has you covered, with the Holy Angels Prayer Book, written and compiled by Sr. Mary Mark Wickenhiser, FSP.
You can either deepen or begin your devotion through these beloved traditional prayers honoring the angels. Our belief in angels is confirmed by scripture and the continual teaching of the Catholic Church throughout the centuries. As messengers of God’s providential love, angels can enlighten our minds and inspire our wills so we are better able to respond to the graces they bring to us from God. “We can use all the help the good angels provide to overcome the powers of darkness and the spirit of evil active in our world today!” writes Sister Mary Mark.
Part of the Catholic Treasury series, this beautiful collection includes daily prayers, the Rosary of the Holy Angels, litanies and novenas to St. Gabriel the Archangel, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Raphael the Archangel, prayers to the guardian angels and devotions to one’s own guardian angel, plus scripture references and suggested readings. It included a catechesis on angels as they are understood through scripture and the Catholic Church.
This is the perfect book for anyone looking to deepen their prayer life and thank God for these heavenly spirits watching over humanity.
Want more stories?
Angels: Help From on High includes a number of personal stories of encounters with angels. Here are just a couple of them:
Bernadette from California says…
When I was about ten or eleven years old, my mother and I were in our station wagon driving along a street that did not have much traffic. We stopped at a red light, but my mother did not start to accelerate when the light turned green. Whenever that happened, I used to gently tell my mother that the light had turned green. But that time, for some reason, my mother remained immobile. A few seconds later, a car flew through the red light. My mom and I sat there stunned, realizing that I would probably have been killed if she had started to accelerate when the light turned green. As soon as she could catch her breath to speak, my mother turned to me and said, “Something told me not move. It must have been my guardian angel because every time I get in the car to drive, I always say a prayer to my guardian angel.” I owe my life to whoever that angel is!”
And from Sr. Sharon Anne, in Massachusetts:
“All through my life I have been very devoted to my guardian angel, and I often pray to the angels for protection and help. On two occasions I experienced this in a particular way. The first occurred several years ago when I was visiting some homes in an apartment building with another sister. We were going door to door with our religious books and magazines, inviting people to read the word of God in various forms. We had finished knocking on all the doors of the first two floors of the building. However, no one had answered the door and no one seemed to be around. We then made our way to the third floor and had walked halfway up the stairway. Suddenly a woman opened her door, came out onto the landing, and called out, ‘Who are you?’ We explained who we were, and she said, ‘I’m not interested.’ Just then her dog ran out of the apartment. When he saw us, he growled, bared his teeth, and jumped off the landing to attack us. When I saw the dog coming, I immediately shouted, “Angel of God!” Suddenly, the dog was swung around in midair as if someone had slapped its side. It landed on the stairs, away from us, and meekly turned around and ran whimpering up the stairs. I believe that my guardian angel protected us from danger that day.
“Another incident occurred when I was assigned to working with the young women who entered our community wishing to become sisters. One night I had retired for the evening and prayed to my guardian angel as I always did. After I had fallen asleep, one of the young women knocked on my door. She said, ‘What is it, Sister? You called me.’
“But I hadn’t called her. As she turned to go back to her room, she suddenly saw smoke coming from the end of our building complex. “Look, there’s smoke!” she called out. I went to the window and saw a fire at the far end of the building. I woke up the other sisters on the floor and called the fire department. When the fire truck arrived, the firefighters found that a burning car had been deliberately put near the side of the building. They quickly extinguished the fire. One of them told me that we had called them just in time, because the car had been burning near a window that was on the verge of bursting under the heat pressure from the flames. If that had happened, the fire would have quickly spread into the basement of that building, which was where we stored all the paper we used for the printing presses (in those days we did our own printing for our publishing house). If the paper had caught fire it would have been almost impossible to put out. I believe that our guardian angels alerted us to the danger that night.”
There are many ways to understand your own personal relationship with angels in general, and your own guardian angel in particular. These two books, each in a different way, can provide stepping-stones to your understanding and devotion to these heavenly beings.
Heavenly Father, I thank your infinite goodness for having entrusted me to the care of an angel. I also thank you, my guardian angel, for accompanying me daily on my return journey to my heavenly Father. Your holy inspirations, your continual protection against spiritual and physical dangers, and your powerful prayers to God give me great comfort and sure hope. (Blessed James Alberione)