The Guardian Angel

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I found this book, The Angels and Their Mission, in a bookstore a few months ago. I didn’t realize at the time that it was a used-book. I read the first chapter or two and then the book sat in a milk-crate until a couple days ago when I picked it up again and opened to the chapter called The Guardian Angel. I suddenly realized that whoever the previous reader of the book was had circled and underlined parts of the text in this chapter.

Encountering the marks in the book felt somehow like the presence of an invisible awareness, offering direction. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to copy down the things that were circled and underlined in the chapter.

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Genesis 48:16

Matthew 18:10

Tobias 3:25

Acts 12:15

Origen

“All of the faithful in Christ, no matter how small are helped by an angel, and Christ says these angels always see the face of the Father who is in heaven.” (There is the word pipeline written in pencil in the margin)

“guardian”

“guard”

“protector”

“superintendent”

“overseer”

“assistant”

“shepherd”

The conclusion which St. Thomas reaches, moreover, is that toward which tradition leaned: that man receives a guardian angel at birth, but that this angel plays an entirely new role after baptism.

“instructor”

inspiration to souls

they protect the soul against troubles from within and without; they reprimand and punish the soul that turns aside from the right way; they assist it at prayer and transmit its petitions to God.

peace

penitence

prayer

St Ignatius “Rules for the Discernment of Spirits” : “It is characteristic of God and His angels that in their activity they give true joy and spiritual exultation while removing the sadness and affliction that the enemy excites.”

[“who instruct the sinner, reproaching him and rebuking him with severe words. It happens too that we are instructed by our guardians and our patrons, by which I mean the angels to whom has been confided the task of directing and guiding our souls, as is said of the angel of penance, who, according to the Shepherd, cares for us in order to correct us. Moreover, we are subject to various forms of remonstrance. We are not at first chastised by the Father of the family Himself, but by the angels whom He has sent as masters over us with the office of chastising and correcting each one of us.”]

But penance is not only chastisement; it also includes the remission of sins and the restoration of the soul to health.

“angel of prayer”

angels present the prayers of the saints to God

even when man is praying alone, his prayer is joined to the choirs of angels

Origen

The angel, indeed, of each one, even of the little ones in the Church, always seeing the face of the Father who is in heaven and beholding the divinity of our Creator prays with us and cooperates with us, as far as is possible, in what we seek.

One outstanding point in the early tradition is the teaching that man has at the same time an angel and a demon within him, just as the nations have their angels and their devils.

Origen

All men are moved by two angels, an evil one who inclines them to evil and a good one who inclines them to good.

Thus man finds himself in the middle of a spiritual combat between the powers of light and the powers of darkness.

It now depends upon man, who finds himself between two angels, each one seeking to lead him in a different way, to make the one triumph over the other. (“free will” is written in the margin in pencil)

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