I learned the prayer to my guardian angel for the first time when I was five years old. It is a popular prayer, so you may have heard of it.
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love entrusts me here. Ever this day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen
To this day, when I think of this prayer, I automatically hear a child’s voice praying it. When I picture the guardian angels, I imagine the famous image of an angel guiding two children safely over a bridge. Devotion to the angels has always seemed like something that was cute, something which was meant to comfort children in frightening situations. As I grew up, the idea of angels confused me. I felt uncomfortable whenever I thought about the presence of these other-worldly creatures whom I couldn’t see. So, I went many years without even thinking about my guardian angel.
And then I entered the convent.
It was my first day in the convent and we were driving to a nearby parish for Mass. The sister who was driving began the Sign of the Cross and then prayed, “Angel of God…” I joined in on the prayer that I knew from my childhood. I found it comforting, and yet I wondered why we were praying it. Weren’t the guardian angels for children?
Over the next few years, I would hear sisters say, “Angel of God…” when they heard an ambulance siren, when they were merging onto a highway during rush hour, or while working on a detail-oriented task. It was not uncommon for someone to tell a story to which a sister would respond, “Your guardian angel was looking out for you!” My understanding of the guardian angels began to change, but I still struggled to ask my own angel for help.
On one particular day, I was in the car with some sisters and the road had become extremely icy. We slid to a stop on a highway ramp because the sister who was driving had deemed it unsafe to continue. Cars were sliding around us and we were uncertain when, or if, we would make it home. After two years in the convent, I knew exactly what I had to do.
“Angel of God,” I prayed over and over again, realizing that the situation was completely outside my control. And as I came to this deep awareness that there was heavenly help surrounding me, something surprising happened. I felt this deep comfort that I was safe. Not just physically safe, but spiritually safe. I was comforted because I knew that God’s plan would be carried out as I entrusted myself to my guardian angel’s care. And as we know, God’s plan is not always the same as our plan!
This is why we pray to the angels, especially to our guardian angels. It is not only because we want to arrive safely to our home at the end of a long day, but because we want to arrive safely to our ultimate homeland: heaven. We know it will not be an easy journey to get there, but we can have peace because God has given us every possible help along the way. The angels are one of the most special gifts that God has given us in our journey of faith.
Jesus spoke of our angels! He said, “Do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father.” (Mt. 18:10) The angels are in heaven, beholding the face of the God who loves us unconditionally and has promised to do everything for us. These angels, who are loved by God and who love God, love us and want us to be with them in heaven. Our guardian angels’ mission, given to them by God, is to get us there.
Think about that. The archangel Gabriel’s mission was to announce the birth of the Messiah. The archangel Michael’s mission is to defend and protect the Church. Your guardian angel’s mission is to guide you to eternal happiness. That’s how important you are to God. That’s how much He wants for you to be with Him in heaven.
So, we can pray with confidence to our angels. They do not distract us from God, but lead us closer to him. They ensure we stay on the path he has planned for us. We can ask them for their heavenly assistance as we go about our daily business, as we face the major decisions of life, and especially in moments of temptation. The angels are our personal tour guides through our pilgrimage on this earth. Let us pray that we will listen to them, to heed their inspirations, and follow the path on which they guide us!
I'd love to hear any stories you have of angels in your life. Share them in the comments below.
by Sr Cecilia Cicone, novice