Oh Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
My Guardian dear
To Whom His love
Commits me here
Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guard
To rule and guide.
In Italy, in my grandparent’s day, when a baby was born of the aristocracy, a child was chosen to be his or her companion for life. When my grandmother was born, such a girl-child became her companion. When grandmother grew up and married, the companion went with her to America. After they arrived in the New World, although my grandparents released her from any obligation to remain with them, she stayed with them until she died, and is buried in a plot between my grandmother and grandfather.
Our Church teaches us that at birth we are given a Companion who will remain with us until the day we die, and then continues with us, even to visiting us in Purgatory to console us in between his trips to our loved ones, pleading with them to pray for us. This Companion, whom we call our Guardian Angel faithfully stays by our side right up to the day, his work done, he presents us at the entrance of the Kingdom of God.
There are many stories that can be told of a mysterious voice warning you of danger, of something or was it someone interfering in the nick of time. As we started to write this book on Angels, we found ourselves remembering incidents in our lives we had long forgotten. Could it be our Guardian Angels reminding us? Why not?
Penny and her Guardian Angel on the Road
Many years ago, when our children were very young, Bob and I decided to bring them and my mother on a tour of the Southeastern part of the United States. We thought we could incorporate a vacation with business, by selling merchandise to retail stores, as well.
We lived on Long Island, in New York, at the time. The night we began our journey, Bob had to remain behind. He would join us in a couple of days. I had been up for about 17 hours, when we set out for Washington, D.C. I was so excited to be bringing our family on this holiday, I was not sleepy. Besides, I thought there would be less traffic on the highway at night, and I could make better time.
My family and I arrived in Washington D.C. early in the morning. I left my mother and two children at a very pleasant family-type motel where they could swim and relax, until I returned from calling on my two accounts. The only problem was, the two accounts were department stores in Richmond, Virginia, about 150 miles from Washington, D.C., and I had to see the buyers in the daytime hours; so, I set out without resting. I worked until 7 in the evening. When I left Richmond to return to Washington, I had been up, without sleep, for 36 hours.
Not even stopping to have a cup of coffee or a bite to eat, eager to return to my family (as I was sure my mother would be worried), I got in my car and began the long drive back to Washington, D.C. I was not aware I had fallen asleep until I’d hear a sharp commanding voice call me by my baptismal name: Pauline! I would snap my head upright and swerve my car to the right, just as I was about to collide head-on with a huge Mack truck coming straight at me from the other side of the highway.
This went on for hours, over and over again, because I was too much of a fool to even stop to get a cup of coffee. I’d fall asleep, and a voice would sharply awaken me, just in the nick of time. Not having been brought up with knowledge of the Angels and in particular my Guardian Angel, I could not explain it. I just knew someone kept waking me up, calling me by a name I had not used in years. While we were researching this book, I found a passage which explains to me what had happened during that trip. “They (Angels) protect our spiritual and corporal bodies…They often shield us from sudden dangers that threaten our lives, or come to our rescue when some harm has befallen us.”
I now believe it was my Guardian Angel.
“And the Angel who talked with me
came again, and waked me,
like a man that is awakened out of his sleep.”
The Angels and the Rosary
How many times, Dear Friends, have you been there to save us, even from ourselves? Bob and I were still in the business world. On this particular day, I was receiving some very upsetting phone calls from customers and manufacturers. Time came for me to pick up my grandson from high school; he was not old enough to drive. As I drove toward his school, I became concerned that the anger that had invaded my heart and soul might spread to my boy. Seeking peace, as only the Lord and His Mother can provide, I prayed the Rosary for a half hour, right up to the parking lot of his school.
Rob (my grandson) got in the car, and we then tried to get onto the freeway. I was in the far right lane trying to merge into traffic. I could barely squeeze into the slow lane on my left. Cars were barely moving. Finally, having entered it, I tried to get into the faster lanes, to no avail. I was blocked in: first by the car in front, then by the car in the rear, and then by the car on the left who would not move up and give me room to get in, no matter how much I flashed my left-turn signal. Well, this was not helping my former attitude a bit. Now, I was really getting upset!
Suddenly, I felt the car go out of control! I tried to steer the wheel; it was locked! I shot out my right arm to block my grandson from going through the window. I shouted, “No, Lord, not him.” The car stopped dead! My foot started to shake. It was still on the brake which had not worked. I had tried to push the brake pedal through the floor board. When my trembling had subsided, I got out of the car on my side. On Rob’s side, we were on the edge of a precipice about forty feet above the road below.
A highway patrolman came to our aid. He shook his head and said there was no earthly reason why we were not dead. The tow truck arrived. The driver used some expletives, I will not repeat, and shook his head as he helped us into the cab of his tow truck. Our car was helplessly raised in the air behind us. When we arrived at the gas station, the mechanic dialed the phone for me. I burst into tears, as I tried to tell Bob what had happened. I really didn’t know myself.
The mechanic later told Bob if Rob and I were not standing there in front of him, and if the highway policeman had not verified the story, he would not have believed it. He showed us how the axle had snapped in two, severing the wheel from the rest of the car. The wheel should have spun off; we and the car should have capsized and plunged into the road and the cars below. Instead, it became wedged in the fender, and prevented the car from moving and turning over. No one could explain it at the time. They had never seen anything like it. It was as if someone had jammed the wheel, bracing the car.
Was that an Angel who had wedged the wheel beneath the car? Were they Angels who blocked my path, and locked me in the right lane, not allowing us to go into the fast lane? If we had been in the fast lane, we would have been going so fast, not only would we have died but we would have taken other lives with us. There would definitely have been a pile-up. Maybe it was someone else’s Angel who interceded. Maybe it was the Guardian Angel of someone who would discover the cure for Cancer.
Or could it be, it was that God heard my cry and called upon our Guardian Angels to save my grandson? Or was it the Queen of Angels to whom I had been praying the Rosary before I picked up my grandson. Had She summoned her army of Angels? After all, our grandson had always loved her. He had been in the Junior Legion of Mary when he was a little boy. Did she have a special plan for him?
Or was it because one day the Lord would fill us with the desire to write about Him, His Mother, His Saints and now the Angels? Were the fallen angels upset? Did they not want you to know you are not alone? Was there another battle between the good Angels and the fallen angels being waged? Did the good Angels block the fallen ones from trying to prevent us from doing God’s work? I don’t know; your guess is good as mine. But the Angels were there; you can count on that.
As you drive up to EWTN, you immediately become aware of the Angels and their Queen. Right in front of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel an Army of Angels is posted on a hill, honoring Mother Mary and protecting Mother Angelica, her Nuns, the Monastery and her Apostolate, The Eternal Word Television Network. Even the truck containing her portable studio, including a satellite uplink, that EWTN uses to go on-site to bring us so much of their fine programming, is named after the Angel Gabriel.
When we first began delving into Mother Angelica’s story, we wondered how a little girl with so little to live for became the powerful woman she is, today. As we studied more about her, we discovered the strong place the Angels have always played in her life.
To the eyes of the foolish, it would have appeared she was alone much of the time. When we wrote one part of her story, in particular, we could see how, like the Prophets before her, the Lord had a plan and He never left her alone until that plan was fully executed. Thank God, she and He are not finished, yet.
“With no earthly father to watch over her, Rita (Mother Angelica) was to have the love and watchful care of The Father, our Lord and Savior. One day, as a young girl, when crossing a heavily trafficked street, tired and a little distracted, she did not see an oncoming automobile until it was too late to avoid the speeding, fatal impact. She closed her eyes, waiting for the worst, when she felt hands lifting her up. Upon opening her eyes, she discovered herself standing on the median, safe and untouched. It was her first experience with the protective love of her Guardian Angel. The bus driver who witnessed the event, later recounted the story to Mae (Mother Angelica’s mother). He said it was as if Rita leaped in the air, or had been hurled high above the car and onto the median.”
Padre Pio and the Guardian Angels
Padre Pio would ask Padre Agostino to stay with him during some of his ecstasies. As he was having ecstasies, Padre Agostino would hurriedly try to jot down Padre Pio’s words. He said that Padre Pio’s Angel would laugh as Padre Pio playfully teased him. This is an excerpt from one of Padre Pio’s ecstasies recorded by Father Agostino. It’s dated November 29, 1911. You can see that Padre Pio and his Guardian Angel were like two very close friends. My Bob only teases people he trusts. And so, it is obvious Padre Pio trusted his Angel enough to kid with him.
“…Angel of God, my Angel…Are you not taking care of me?…Are you a creature of God?…Either you’re a creature of God or a creator…You’re a creator? No? Therefore you are God’s creature and you must have laws which you must obey…You must stay beside me whether you want to or not…He laughs…what is there to laugh about? Tell me one thing…who was here yesterday morning?…He laughs…an Angel laughs!…Tell me …I won’t leave you until you tell me…”
“If not, I will ask Jesus…and then you’ll catch it!” Padre Pio turns to Mother Mary. She laughs. Seeing he is getting nowhere fast, Padre Pio turns to Jesus…”Jesus, You tell me.” Father Agostino assumes the Angel answers Padre Pio because he says, “It took a lot for you to say it, little man.”
As close as he was with his Guardian Angel, so he was under constant attack from the fallen angels. During one of his ecstasies, Father Agostino heard him say,
“Jesus, will the evil one come tonight? Well, help those who assist me, protect them and defend them.” (Padre Pio is referring to the friars, he would ask to stay with him, at times to help him ward off the onslaught of the fallen angels.) He continues, “I know you are there…but Angel of mine, stay with me!”
Padre Pio would always tell his spiritual children to send their Guardian Angels to him. Then he would complain that their Angels kept him up all night.
Pope John XXIII and the Guardian Angels
Angelo Roncalli, known to the world as Pope John XXIII, the rotund little man who was supposed to be an “interim Pope”, but wound up being responsible for changing the Church as we know it today, had an unbelievable devotion to the Angels, especially his Guardian Angel. He never had a problem talking about the Angels, not only to his priests and bishops, but to non-Catholics and non-Christians for that matter.
Pope John XXIII had more to say about his Guardian Angel than anyone in the Church, with possible exception of Padre Pio. John XXIII encouraged familiarity with the Guardian Angel. “Get to know him. Talk to him. He will answer you.” This Pope was a very simple man. He took the Lord’s words at face value. There was never in his mind, any question regarding the existence of Guardian Angels or their role in the lives of humans. It came from the Word of God, and that was good enough for him. He didn’t argue the fact. He didn’t try to blow the Angels out of proportion, or make them into something they were not. They were important enough; their role in salvation history was overwhelming.
He used every opportunity he could to expound on the Guardian Angels, especially how they were working in the world during his time. He encouraged parents to teach their children about Guardian Angels.
“Parents should teach their children that they are never alone, that they have an Angel at their side, and show them how to have a trusting conversation with this Angel.” On another occasion, he said, “Your Guardian Angel is a good adviser; he intercedes near God, on your behalf; he helps us in our needs; he protects us from dangers and accidents. The Pope would like the faithful to feel the wonderful help the Angels give.”
Send your Guardian Angel
We can send our Guardian Angel to link wings with the wings of the Guardian Angels of loved ones, encircling them, protecting them from danger. If our loved ones are in danger of being hurt physically, spiritually, mentally or emotionally, we can send our Guardian Angel to speak to the Angel of the person who could hurt them. Either the two Angels could join together to block that person from hurting our loved ones, or to talk to him to convince him not to harm them.
John XXIII was the greatest proponent of having your Guardian Angel appeal to the Guardian Angel of another person that you may be having difficulty with. Very often, when he was preparing to go to a meeting with someone or someones he knew to be antagonistic, he would call upon his Guardian Angel to speak to the Guardian Angel of his adversary, and soften his heart. He could not recall how many times this had changed the course of some very important meetings.
Pope John XXIII also gave credit to his Guardian Angel for the inspiration of convening Vatican Council II. He claimed always, to pray to Our Lord through his Guardian Angel. He believed sincerely that his Guardian Angel brought him the message from Jesus for Vatican II.
Bring my husband back to me
There was a famous television personality who, one day, told his wife he was leaving her. There was no other woman, he said, but he didn’t want to be married any longer. She cried. She pleaded, but all to no avail. Good solid Christian friends told her she must pray, to remember that Jesus abhors divorce! She was to live her life as if her husband would come through the door the next moment. Believing, praying and hoping, she persevered as the months turned into almost two years. There was no sign of her husband coming back. The gossip columns and scandal magazines were having a party!
Often alone in her home, (or was she alone) she could barely keep from running out and making a life for herself. Then one night, she answered the door and who do you think was standing before her? Her husband! He asked her if he could come back home, if she would take him back. He said, he didn’t know what happened to him, but all of a sudden, he was sitting in a restaurant and he had this irresistible urge to return to her and his home. Not only have they reconciled, but they are actively giving testimony on the power and hope of prayer. Who put that thought into his mind and that desire into his heart? Could it be Guardian Angels at work?
We can send our Angel to summon someone to Church.
One day, in Little Rock, Arkansas, there was a Healing Service to be given by Father Ralph Di Orio. But before it began, the Bishop of Little Rock processed into the Arena with the Blessed Sacrament. As he passed by and raised the Blessed Sacrament, blessing the people, you could hear “I can walk. I can hear. I can see.” People were throwing away crutches, rising from wheel chairs. There were those who began to hear and see with the eyes of the heart as well as those of the body: healings of hurts and painful memories were taking place. The faithful sought reconciliation, forming long lines to have their confessions heard. There was an air of peace and joy that filled the room. As all the people who had come there to be helped had been healed, what could Father Di Orio do but praise the Lord for the next hour and a half.
A man came up to him and gave this testimony. He had come there to disrupt the Service, to expose Father Di Orio and the Catholic Faith. He had been away from the Church and the Sacraments for 25 years. But, he said, when the Blessed Sacrament was raised and the Bishop blessed him, he felt something like a bolt of lightning shoot out of the monstrance and knock him down. He went on, crying, that he was suddenly filled with the desire to come back home to his Church.
Maybe when this man set out, he thought his intention was to disrupt the Service and discredit the Church; but did his Guardian Angel know his heart’s true desire? Did he know that, as with the Crucifixion, what may begin as a negative can be resurrected into a positive?
The Guardian Angels – Teaching of the Church
Our Lord Jesus referred to the Guardian Angels when He said, “See that you despise not one of these little ones, for I say to you that their Angels in Heaven always see the Face of My Father Who is in Heaven.” He said their Angels, not the Angels, therefore we know that He was speaking of the Guardian Angels of the “little ones.” This Truth of the Guardian Angels comes to us as a revelation from the Lord, Himself. The doctrine of the Guardian Angels comes down to us, by the teaching authority of the Universal Church. It reflects Holy Scripture and our Catholic Tradition down through the ages, right from the times of the early Fathers of the Church.
St. Basil the Great said, “…each one of the faithful has an Angel who directs his life as a teacher and a shepherd.”
Our Saint John Chrysostom, who wrote extensively on the Angels and the Sacrifice of the Mass, said, referring to Jacob of the Old Testament, “Every faithful Christian has an Angel, for every just man had an Angel from the very beginning.” And then quoting Jacob: “The Angel that nourishes me and delivers me from youth.”
The early Fathers of the Church taught that every good Christian has the special protection of a Guardian Angel. But that is not to say that God, in His unlimited love and generous Heart, does not have the same concern and does not likewise grant the same fatherly protection over non-believers and sinners. They are His children, just as we are, and as their Creator, He has never stopped loving them. I believe that we, in the narrow scope of our ability to love and forgive, have a difficult time understanding how much God loves us, how He remains faithful as we turn our backs on Him, how He continues to love us even as we continue to take part, in His Crucifixion by crucifying others.
When I think how difficult it is to see our loved-ones go off, whether to college, to Seminary, to a Convent, to get married, or to the missions, all good things, my heart aches for our Heavenly Father Who sends His precious creations, the Angels down to be with us. How very much He loves us! And if God is willing to part with them, out of love for us, then it must be important that they are here, and it follows, we should listen to them and love them.
So now you know. There are no more excuses. When you find yourself in the occasion of sin, when the temptation is so strong to do whatever it is you know you shouldn’t be doing, and an even more powerful voice within you keeps telling you not to do it, that’s your Guardian Angel. Or if you are with your friends, and an instance arises where you’re called upon to do something good but not necessarily popular, for someone in need but not particularly socially acceptable, when that voice inside of you urges you to go beyond yourself, pleading with you to allow yourself to be ridiculed for the sake of a child of the kingdom, that’s your Guardian Angel bugging you until you give in. He won’t force you, but he won’t let you live either, until you do what’s good for you. It’s a fact that he loves you. And you can’t even see him. Or can you?
PROMISE TO THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
Kneeling before Your Majesty, we thank You, O God
that You have given each of us a Heavenly companion
to be at our side, one who leads us according to Your Will
directs us to Your Glory, and manifests to us Your Love.
Here before Your eyes, we promise to love our holy companion
as a brother, and heed him when he speaks to us in the voice of conscience. He shall surely lead us to Heaven.
LORD JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR
Take my hand and place it in the hand of my Angel, and make the sign of Redemption over it, Your blessing for our Salvation.