Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Feast of the Guardian Angels (Dom Guéranger)



[Personal commentary: I think too many artistic portrayals of angels show them to be too ethereal. I found the above picture via a Google search, using the search term "guardian angel." Not only does it include Holy Michael the Archangel, it shows his "heavenly host" armed and supporting him. That's how angels should be portrayed.]

(The following is excerpted from Dom Prosper Guéranger's entry in The Liturgical Year for 2 October, in Volume XIV of the 1983 Marian House edition of the English translation by the Benedictines of Stanbrook.)

"It is of faith, on the testimony of the Scriptures and of unanimous tradition, that God commits to His angels the guardianship of men, who are called to contemplate Him together with these blessed spirits in their common fatherland. Catholic theology teaches that this protection is extended to every member of the human race, without any distinction of just and sinners, infidel and baptized. To ward off dangers; to uphold man in his struggle against the demons; to awaken in him holy thoughts; to prevent him from sinning, and even, at times, to chastise him; to pray for him, and present his prayers to God: such is the office of the Guardian angel. So special is his mission, that one angel does not undertake the guardianship of several persons simultaneously; so diligent is his care, that he follows his ward from the first day to the last of his mortal existence, receiving the soul as it quits this life, and bearing it from the feet of the sovereign Judge to the place it has merited in heaven, or to its temporary sojourn in the place of expiation and purification."

“... [W]ith regard to the work of salvation, the Guardian Angel has no fear of being left alone at his post; at his request, and at God's command, the troops of his blessed companions, who fill heaven and earth, are ever ready to lend him their aid...."

"In conclusion, let us listen to the Abbot [St. Bernard] of Clairvaux, who here gives free reign to his eloquence: 'In every place show respect to thy angel. Let gratitude for his benefits incite thee to honour his greatness. Love this thy future coheir, the guardian appointed for thee by the Father during thy childhood. For though we are sons of God, we are as yet but children, and long and dangerous is our journey. But God hath given His angels charge over the, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk; and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon [Psalm 90: 11-13]. Yes, where the road is smooth enough for a child, they will content themselves with guiding thee, and sustaining thy footsteps, as one does for children. But if trials threaten to surpass thy strength, they will bear thee up in their hands. Oh those hands of angels! Thanks to them, what fearful straits we have passed through, as it were without thinking, and with no other impression left upon us, than that of a nightmare suddenly dispelled.'"

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