Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, During this month of October, the month dedicated to Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, let us ask our Blessed Mother for the Peace of Christ for country and world and the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart in our world! This Sunday, I share with you a teaching on the Guardian Angels (Feast day is October 2). I encourage you to reflect over this message a few times this week: “October 2 - The Guardian Angels - Memorial: Devotion to the Guardian Angels goes back to the beginnings of Christianity. Pope Clement X proclaimed the feast a universal celebration in the seventeenth century. The Guardian Angels serve as the messengers of God. The Almighty has allocated a Guardian Angel to each one of us for our protection and for the good of our apostolate. The existence of the guardian angels: Bless the Lord, all you Angels of the Lord. Sing His glory and praise for ever. (Entrance Antiphon: Dan. 3:58) The Angels often appear in Sacred Scripture as ordinary ministers of God. They are the most perfect creatures of Creation with one exception. They can grasp reality beyond the capacity of our human intelligence, and they contemplate God face to face as glorified beings. At the most important junctures in human history Angels have served as ambassadors of God to point out the way for us, or otherwise convey the Divine Will. They act as messengers of the Most High to illuminate, exhort, intercede, punish, and preserve us from danger. At times they appear in corporeal form. Angel, meaning messenger, expresses their role as intermediaries between God and men. (cf. John Paul II, Address, 30 July 1986) The chosen people have always venerated them and shown them respect. Sacred Scripture has this to say of them: Are they not all ministering spirits, sent for service, for the sake of those who shall inherit salvation? (Heb. 1:14) Faith in the mission of the Angels to protect individual persons is what made Israel exclaim when he blesses his grandchildren, the sons of Joseph: May the angel who redeemed me from all evil bless them. (Gen. 48:16) The First Reading of the Holy Mass [for the feast] recalls the Lord‟s words to Moses. Today we can imagine them addressed to each one of us: Behold, I send an Angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. (Ex. 23:20-23) When the Prophet Elisha awoke to find himself surrounded by menacing Syrian forces, he said to his frightened servant: Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed and said, O Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes that he may see. So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (2 Kings 6:16-17) What security the presence of the Guardian Angels lends us before God! They console and illuminate us. They battle in our favor against unseen forces. At the climax of that conflict, when the battle became fierce, there appeared to the enemy from Heaven five resplendent men on horses with golden bridles, and they were leading the Jews. Surrounding Maccabeus and protecting him with their own armour and weapons they kept him from being wounded. And they showered arrows and thunderbolts upon the enemy, so that, confused and blinded, they were thrown into disorder and cut to pieces. (2 Mach. 10:29-30) The Holy Angels intervene daily on our behalf in many different ways. How lovingly manifest is God‟s provident vigilance over us is shown through the protection afforded us by these spiritual companions. May we seek their help in our ordinary ascetical struggle as God‟s children, and may we constantly call on them to help set our heats on fire with Love of God. The continuous service of the Guardian Angels: In the sight of the Angels I will sing Your praises, my God. (Communion Antiphon) The life and teaching of Christ is filled with reference to the presence of ministering Angels. Gabriel announces to Mary she is going to be the Mother of the Savior. An Angel enlightens and reassures St. Joseph and the shepherds in Bethlehem. The purely spiritual servants of God witness the Flight from Egypt, the Temptations of the Lord in the desert, His sufferings in Gethsemane, and the Resurrection and Ascension. They constantly watch over the Church and each one of its members as the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 5:19-20) and ancient Tradition testify. Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. (John 1:51) Many saints and holy people enjoyed friendship with their Guardian Angel, whose intercession they frequently besought. (cf. G. Huber, My Angel Will Go before You, p. 33 ff.) St. Josemaria Escriva had a special devotion to the Guardian Angels. Precisely on this Feast the Lord let him clearly see the founding of Opus Dei. Through this institution the universal call to holiness would resound throughout the world. People from all walks of life would seek God in the midst of their everyday life and daily tasks. St. Josemaria dealt with his own Guardian Angel and customarily greeted the angel of the person to whom he was speaking. (A. Vasquez de Prada, The Founder of Opus Dei, Madrid 1983) He called him „a great accomplice‟ in the apostolate, and asked him for material favors too. During one particular period he called his constant companion my watchkeeper, because he had entrusted him with getting his watch going when it stopped, since he didn‟t have enough money to have it repaired. (ibid.) He set aside Tuesday as a day on which to put more effort into communicating with his Guardian Angel. (ibid.) Once during a time of intense anticlerical persecution in Madrid a would-be aggressor stood menacingly in Josemaria‟s path with the obvious intention of doing him harm. Someone suddenly stood between them and drove off the assailant. It all happened in an instant. The protector came up after the incident and whispered to him: „Mangy donkey, Mangy donkey‟, the expression St. Josemaria used to refer to himself in the intimacy of his soul. Only his confessor knew about this. Peace and joy filled his heart as he recognized the intervention of his Angel. (cf. ibid.) You seemed amazed because your Guardian Angel has done so many obvious favors for you. But you shouldn’t be: That’s why Our Lord has placed him at your side. (J. Escriva, The Way, 565) Today can be a great day to reaffirm the devotion to our Guardian Angel since we are in so much need of him. Using the words of the Holy Mass we can pray: God our Father, in Your loving Providence send your Angels to watch over us. Hear our prayers and defend us always through their protection. Let us share Your life with them forever. (Opening Prayer) The Guardian Angels, our very good friends: St. Bernard comments on the following words of Scripture in a reading from the Liturgy of the Hours for today: He has given His Angels orders to watch over you in all your ways. He says: These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instill confidence because of their protection. The Angels are at your side, with you, and present on your behalf. They are there to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge we should nonetheless be grateful to them too for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need. (Liturgy of the Hours, Second Reading, St. Bernard, Sermon 12 on the Psalm ‘Qui Habitat’ 3:6-8) On their hands they will bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Ps. 90:12) They sustain us in their care as if we were a precious treasure entrusted them by God. Just as older children help to watch over the younger ones as they grow up, the Angels will keep us safe until we enter happily into the home of our Father. Only then will the celestial host we so depend on for many favors have fulfilled their mission. We have to deal with our Guardian Angels in a familiar way, while at the same time recognizing their superior nature and grace. Though less palpable in their presence than human friends are, their efficacy for our benefit is far greater. Their counsel and suggestions come from God, and penetrate more deeply than any human voice. To reiterate, their capacity for hearing and understanding us is much superior even to that of our most faithful human friend, since their attendance at our side is continuous; they can enter more deeply into our intentions, desires and petitions than can any human being, since angels can reach our imagination directly without recourse to the comprehension of words. They are able to incite images, provoke memories, and make impressions in order to give us direction. How many times will they have helped us to keep on going as they did Elijah, who was so tired while being hunted down by Jezebel that he prepared to die under a bush on the way. Like Elijah‟s angel, ours will draw near to us and help us understand: Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you. (1 Kings 19:7) If we get used to dealing with our most intimate, faithful and generous friend, we will never feel lonely. (cf. A. Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life, 187) The Guardian Angel unites his prayer to our own and presents it before God. (cf. Origen, Contra Celso, 5,4) First, however, it is necessary for us to speak, at least mentally, since these spiritual entities cannot penetrate our understanding as the Almighty can. At this point our own Angel will be able to deduce from our personal interior dispositions more than we ourselves are capable of doing. We have no right to claim that the Angels should obey us – but we can be absolutely sure that the Holy Angels hear us always. (J. Escriva, The Forge, 339) This is sufficient. Our Guardian Angel will accompany us to the end of the way. If we are faithful to grace we will join the Angels and Saints in contemplating the Blessed Mother, Queen of Angels, whom everyone will praise for all eternity.” (From: In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez) Through the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Joseph, St. Columbkill, and all the Holy Angels, may God grant us the grace of true devotion to the Virgin Mary and love for His Will! In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kasel
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