Memorial of the Guardian Angels

The term guardian angel refers to the belief that each person has an angel who is available to shepherd their soul through life, and to help bring them to God. The feast of the guardian angels first appeared in Spain during the sixteenth century. It was extended to the universal Church and made obligatory in 1670 by Pope Paul V who authorised a feast day in honour of guardian angels. Pope Clement X changed the date to 2 October and Leo XIII, in 1883, upgraded the date to a double major feast.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims that “from infancy to death, human life is surrounded by the angels’ watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God” (CCC, n. 336).

This teaching on angels also comes directly from Christ who said, “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven”. Matthew 18:10.

We have learnt previously (see the feast of the Archangels, 29th September) that there are nine choirs of angels. It is from the lowest of the nine choirs, the nearest to ourselves, that the Guardian Angels are selected.

An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.

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