The Scriptures promise that God sends to each one of us a guardian angel.
What is the guardian angels’ role and what is our proper relationship to our angel?
First we should reject false understandings of the guardian angel. The angels are not gods or goddesses, neither is your guardian angel your “spirit guide”, your soul, your “true self”, your conscience or your “inner light.”
We do not worship the angels, but we may honor and venerate them as great and beautiful spirits created by God. We remember also that the Blessed Virgin Mary is higher than the angels for she is the Mother of God–theotokos–the God bearer.
The guardian angels are sent to guide, guard, protect and teach us.
In order to facilitate their work we should firstly believe in their existence and presence and secondly, acknowledge their presence and work with them. The angels are gentle and do not interfere. They cannot use force against us and cannot contradict our free will. They may attempt to convince and cajole as part of their protecting role, but they cannot impose their will on us.
How do you work with your guardian angel? At the beginning of the day in your morning prayers give your angel a nod of acknowledgement. Your angel is present and praying with you. He wants you to pray. He wants you to worship God. He will assist you in your prayers and worship. (I’m using the masculine pronoun out of convenience, but angels are neither male nor female)
When you begin a good work invoke your guardian angel asking his assistance and blessing. He will overshadow your good work and perfect it.
When you are engaged in holy reading invoke your guardian angel and he will help to enlighten your mind–amplifying the gifts of wisdom and insight you received when you opened your heart to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of confirmation.
When you are tempted invoke your guardian angel to help you resist temptation. Ask him to repel Satan and his minions and preserve you from sin.
When you are traveling invoke the guardian angel as your traveling companion and protector. I am convinced that our safety in travel is attributed to our guardian angels more than we can ever know or see.
When your loved ones are far away invoke their guardian angels to watch over them and guide them.
How does this work? The guardian angel is not omnipotent, and like all angelic spirits, they have little power in the physical realm because they are incorporeal. Instead they will guide and protect through psychic and spiritual prompts–a nudge to check the traffic again before you pull out–an urge to check on that little one and catch them just before they fall.
How do you answer the question, “If Uncle John had a guardian angel why did he die in that motorcycle crash?” The answer is that the angels are not omnipotent and they cannot use force. They can’t stop that drunk from driving recklessly and they can’t stop Uncle John from riding without a helmet and going too fast.”
Therefore the more we align our will with God’s will the more we will be working with our guardian angels because their sole purpose is to do God’s will in the world. They are his messengers and servants. If we work with them we will know their presence in a more and more real and powerful way.
Finally, beware of the New Age trend in angel prayers, angel channeling and angel worship. There are loads of cranks and weirdos out there who claim to be messengers of angels and purveyors of angelic psychic gifts. They blend angel worship with astrology, fortune telling and other occult streams.
Awareness of, and co-operation with our guardian angels is only legitimate within a fully active life of grace and in the proper created order. We worship God alone, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This worship is called latria. We offer to the Mother of God hyperdulia —exalted honor and veneration. We offer to the angels and saints dulia –honor and veneration. If you come across an “angel guide” or an “angel teacher” who either ignores this sacred hierarchy or offers some other teaching reject it. So, for example, you may find someone who teaches that the angels are “spirit guides” and they encourage you to “meditate and invite your spirit guide to enter you.” Just say “No”. You may be inviting another sort of angel–a dark spirit–to enter your life.
However, the worry about this should not prevent you from being aware of, and working with your guardian angel in the right way. If you put God first in your worship and live, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a dynamic relationship with God’s Son Jesus Christ and you love and venerate his Blessed Mother, then you are also in the right relationship with the angels because that is where they are–circling around the throne of God crying Holy, Holy, Holy–in constant prayer and praise.
Thank you, Father, for this very practical, helpful reminder of the great gift God has given to us in our guardian angel.