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The reality of guardian angels

06 Oct 2019, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Doctrines

Every second day of October is set aside by the Catholic Church to celebrate the memorial of the holy guardian angels. I won’t be wrong to connect the celebration to our Catholic faith in the communion of saints. Like some others, this doctrine may provoke some uneasiness among some very few none-Catholics who are convinced that Catholic doctrines are mostly based on imaginations and are fabricated; they may question the possibility of an angel been assigned to every individual as a companion through life. But in the midst of these doubts and questions, the Church remains so unperturbed and confidently proclaims what she holds as truth.

First, it may not be an exaggeration to state that there are more angels than humans. I hope and pray this does not cause any form of a tumor for those who believe it must be expressly stated in the bible to be considered true; at least, the uncountable number of angels is biblical (Heb. 12:22). If therefore, angels are innumerous and humans are possibly numbered, then it is a possibility for every human person to be assigned an angel, a guardian angel. This undoubtedly sounds like mere logic, but the Church’s doctrines go beyond reason to draw its authority from divine inspiration; hence the two sources of our faith, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

The Catholic doctrine about guardian angels calls for no bickering at all, for I’ve heard some unnecessary arguments against the reality of individual guardian angels. But by the way, does it really matter if an angel is assigned to a person or a group of people? An angel was sent to guard the Israelites as they journeyed across the desert (EX.23:20-23), a guardian angel for a group of people. The angel Raphael was sent to Tobias as his guardian angel, that was an individual guardian angel (The book of Tobit 5f), Peter experienced a miraculous escape from prison with the help of an angel who accompanied him alone to safety (Acts 12), and Jesus taught the fact about the reality of guardian angels when he warned not to despise any of the little ones because their angels in heaven continually see the face of the Father (Mt. 18:10). Talking about THEIR ANGEL as the Lord puts it clearly defines some personalized relationship, theirs, and not ours. This teaching is far from what some Christians insinuate: imagination or a mere fabrication by the Church.

The Catholic Church may be human as a few of us have exhibited in our actions that define not what the Church stands for, but that does not take away the teaching authority of the Church nor diminished in divine inspiration. The Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, confidently proclaimed and continued to proclaim the truth about guardian angels’ reality.

A closer look at this doctrine reveals the Church’s faith in God as the ultimate protector of life; the angels are only ministers of God. It is God who caused his angels to encamp around those who fear him (Psalm 34:7), sends them ahead of us (Genesis 24:7, exodus 23:20, etc.), minister, and walk with us (Heb. 1:14, 13:2, Acts 5:19, etc.). It is all about God’s love for us and our faith in his continued presence; he is with us to the end of time.

Expending so much energy into questioning the authenticity of the Catholic doctrine of guardian angels is a waste; the question should rather be, do I listen to my guardian angel? God still speaks!