Chumminess and Our Guardian Angel

Attitudes to the feast of our Holy Guardian Angels can be quite revealing of how we approach the holy. Some people are clearly embarrassed by the very idea. For them, angels are chubby little putti, charming adornments to Rococo ceilings, but not to be taken seriously. We have outgrown all that, surely?  For others, angels are a constant presence — chums in the original sense of the word—sent to guide and guard us through life’s troubles. If a little sentimentality mingles with our devotion, what’s wrong with that? And then there are those who are awed by these mighty spirits sent to serve, these messengers of God whose dwelling is fire and flame. Their presence with us is a sign of the holy and we tremble at the thought. Siegfried Sassoon once wrote to D. Felicitas Corrigan that he had seen an angel. She replied very crisply that she did not think an angel of God could be so circumscribed as his description suggested. (I suspect D. Felicitas knew something about angels; she certainly had the measure of Sassoon!)

Have you ever stopped to consider the presence of angels all around you? St Benedict refers to their constantly reporting our deeds to God as they make their way up and down the ladder between earth and heaven Jacob saw in his vision. It is an arresting thought. We are more and more aware of State surveillance, of the long reach of the internet into our private lives, but we have forgotten that everything about us is known to God. Nothing escapes His merciful eye. The problem for most of us is how to live with that knowledge without being either crushed by it or making it into some kind of bugbear. You might try asking the prayers of your guardian angel to help you.

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17 thoughts on “Chumminess and Our Guardian Angel”

  1. I need and count on the presence and comfort of my Guardian Angel today.

    Today my beloved 18 year old cat, Lulle, must be put to sleep. She has been my constant and extremely loving companion for 13 years – always there for me in my darkest hours of which there have been many.

    Now I must be there for her since she no longer has the strength to walk on this earth.
    Some say that an animal has no soul, but I know that my Lulle has the most beautiful soul I have ever had the privilege to be near. I know animals have Guardian Angels just like humans, and that Lulle’s Angel will follow her soul to rest with God.

    Please pray for us and for me that I may be strong and calm when I hold her in my arms.
    Please my Guardian Angel, give me strength.

    • Also praying for you, Toolah. At moments of intense grief, crisis or danger, I’ve been borne up by a powerful sense of angels that sometimes is accompanied by indescribably beautiful singing.

      I also believe – no, stronger than ‘believe’ – that animals have souls and I understand your heartache so well. But nothing can separate us from the love of God and from those who are united with us in that love.

      Lulle will be waiting for you. Lulle will never be far from you, nor all the blessing, comfort and insight she has brought you taken away. Thank God for her. (I am sure you do.)

      May your grief dissolve in peace.

      • Thank you so much for prayers for us. It is over and Lulle has gone home to God. I know I did the best for her, so that she could keep the dignity that is so important for a cat

        It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do… even having lost most of my family to cancer. She was my soulmate here on Earth and she taught me to be a better person and gave of herself constantly.

        Death cannot separate soulmates and I strongly believe she will be waiting for me. This belief I will hold on to in the coming difficult days.

        May God bless her beautiful soul.

    • Bless your heart, Toolah. We had our Pomeranian Max for 14 years. At the end, he decided it was time and quit eating. After three missed meals, we took him to the vet so he could move on. I truly believe Heaven has dogs in it…if not, I’ll turn around and find the dog heaven…because they have the purest souls I know.

  2. Somehow the concept of a Guardian Angel had escaped me. Perhaps abandoned at the end of childhood?

    When I think about it with the logic (which we are all blessed with) it does seem to be an odd thing for God to do, providing a Guardian Angel for each of us, must be quite Angel Power intensive? 🙁 But I can see that it would be helpful as a myth to keep us in line.

    But, when I think about it within the grace of God and his Holy Spirit, it seems perfectly logical. I used to pray to my Guardian Angel as a young child, but have to admit that he/she/it (not sure if Angels have gender) has been there all along, watching over me, through the good and bad times.

    Perhaps, our conscience is our Guardian Angel? Because mine has the effect of pulling me up sharply these day when I’m being forgetful or thinking uncharitable thoughts or just being human. I could readily accept that concept that the small inner voice which we all hear constantly might be God’s voice, being whispered by a Guardian Angel.

    So, that’s me sorted. But what do we believe about those people whose behaviour is so evil, that they couldn’t possibly have a conscience or Guardian Angel? A theory that I’ve heard propounded is that some people are incapable of having a conscience for a number of reasons or are incapable of seeing the difference between good and evil due to some mental incapacity? I don’t know whether that’s a valid theory or not, but it could leave them more susceptible to the influence of Evil, or whatever else we describe the Devil as.

  3. The great philosopher Charles De Koninck once wrote “Even the most inferior pure spirit [angel] constitutes in himself a universe incomparably more perfect than the [physical] cosmos and humanity together.” The fact that each of us has such an awsome presence watching over us is a sign of our great dignity. As Christ says in the Gospel of the day, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father.”

    • I know how you feel on this, Christine. My way into thinking about the subject was listening to a short talk by Rabbi Lionel Blue; it may well have been a ‘thought for the day’. He suggested that angels may not be entirely other beings, but that we can all, at times, be guardian angels for each other. An example from my own life might be a football loving neighbour, who on hearing I was making a cross country trip on a Saturday, pointed out which cities had home games and therefore which roads to avoid. I saw some of the longest traffic jams I’ve ever seen on some of the roads he warned me against. For that journey, in Rabbi Blue’s theory, I might consider my neighbour a guardian angel.

  4. It was when I read the Book of Tobit that I began to understand a little about Angel Guardians. Nowadays, I pray for my Angel everyday to guard and keep me safe, and to lighten my path.

  5. Angel of God my gaurdian dear,
    to whom Gods love commits me here
    Ever this day be at my side to guard ,to govern , to rule and guide.
    Amen
    Old habits die hard. This has been my first prayer of the day since I was 4. I am not about to change it.

  6. The priest I’m training under (Anglican, I’m a transitional deacon) follows the Roman Catholic lectionary and office and not the Anglican one. They are normally very similar accept for things like Guardian Angels, Lady of our Rosary etc… I was quite taken aback by this memorial and I’m still not sure what to think of it. I have no doubts about Angels and Angels as messengers. I’m wondering if it’s the use of language that has led me to puzzlement. Would I have been so surprised if the memorial was Messengers of God? But then does that allow me to think in terms of the past messengers in the Bible and not the now? Another challenge to get my head around.

  7. My apologies for not responding to any of your comments yesterday.

    Toolah, I hope you felt buoyed up by the love and concern of everyone on this blog, it is such a hard thing to put a much-loved pet to sleep.

    If anyone wants to know briefly what the Catholic Church teaches about angels, including guardian angels, have a look at nos. 328-336 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and follow the references in the footnotes. Angelology is a vast subject . . .

    • Thank you Sister.
      Yes, I did feel surrounded by compassion and good thoughts for both my beloved cat and myself. It did help me to meet so much kindness on a terribly sad day.

      In her passing, my Lulle gave space for another cat to find a loving home. I visited an animal shelter and came home with the most beautiful little lady-cat… she picked me as her human before I had even seen her. She simply jumped up into my arms before I had a chance to see what hit me, so of course she came home with me.

      Since I wanted to preserve the sound of Lulle’s name, I gave the name MULLE to the new member of the family. Mulle has now made herself very much at home here, and is a great companion for my big wonderful male-cat, Pelle.
      I love the fun and new life she has added to my own life.

      I am so very grateful for the many years of love I shared with Lulle. Now I have another one of God’s creatures to love and I am doing my best every day.

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