THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS
A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person, group, kingdom, or country. Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity. The concept of tutelary angels and their hierarchy was extensively developed in Christianity in the 5th century by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.
The theology of angels and tutelary spirits has undergone many refinements since the 400s. Belief in both the East and the West is that guardian angels serve to protect whichever person God assigns them to, and present prayer to God on that person’s behalf.
The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans such as Menander and Plutarch and Neo-platonists such as Plotinus held it.
The guardian angel concept is clearly present in the Old Testament, and its development is well marked. The Old Testament conceived of God’s angels as his ministers who carried out his behests, and who were at times given special commissions, regarding men and mundane affairs.
In Genesis 18-19, angels not only act as the executors of God’s wrath against the cities of the plain, but they deliver Lot from danger; in Exodus 32:34, God says to Moses: “my angel shall go before thee.” At a much later period we have the story of Tobias, which might serve for a commentary on the words of Psalm 91:11: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;” ( Psalm 33:8 and 34:5)
The belief that angels can be guides and intercessors for men can be found in Job 33:23-6, and in the Daniel 10:13 angels seem to be assigned to certain countries. In this latter case, the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” contends with Gabriel. The same verse mentions “Michael, one of the chief princes”.
In the New Testament the concept of guardian angel may be noted. Angels are everywhere the intermediaries between God and man; and Christ set a seal upon the Old Testament teaching: “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.” (Matthew 18:10). A twofold aspect of the doctrine is here put forth: even little children have guardian angels, and these same angels lose not the vision of God by the fact that they have a mission to fulfill on earth.
According to Saint Jerome, the concept of guardian angels is in the “mind of the Church”. He stated: “how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it”.
The first Christian theologian to outline a specific scheme for guardian angels was Honorius of Autun in the 12th century. He said that every soul was assigned a guardian angel the moment it was put into a body. Scholastic theologians augmented and ordered the taxonomy of angelic guardians. Thomas Aquinas agreed with Honorius and believed that it was the lowest order of angels who served as guardians, and his view was most successful in popular thought, but Duns Scotus said that any angel is bound by duty and obedience to the Divine Authority to accept the mission to which that angel is assigned. In the 15th century, the Feast of the Guardian Angels was added to the official calendar of Catholic holidays.
Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day (or night) be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide,
THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGELS – BENEDICITE DOMINUM
Greater Double / White
INTROIT – Psalm 102: 20
Benedicite Dóminum, omnes Angeli ejus: poténtes virtúte, qui fácitis verbum ejus, ad audiéndam vocem sermónum ejus.
Ps. Bénedic, ánima mea Dómino: et ómnia, quæ intra me sunt, nómini sancto ejus. Gloria Patri.
Bless the Lord, all ye His Angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute His word, hearkening to the voice of His orders.
Ps. Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless His holy name. Glory be to the Father.
O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence dost vouchsafe to send Thine angels to watch over us: grant to Thy suppliants to be continually defended by their protection and to share their companionship in eternity. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE: Exodus 23: 20-23
Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will send My angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and My name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to Thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee: and My angel shall go before thee.
GRADUAL: Psalm 90: 11-12
God hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
ALLELUIA: Psalm 102: 21
Alleluia, alleluia. Bless the Lord, all ye His hosts: you ministers of His who do His will. Alleluia.
GOSPEL: Matthew 18: 1-10
At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest Thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? and Jesus calling unto Him a little child, set him in the midst of them, and said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever there- fore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven: and he that shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me; but he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals: for it must needs be that scandals come; but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. And if thy hand or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if they eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 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.
OFFERTORY: Psalm 102: 20, 21
Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you ministers of His who execute His word, harkening to the voice of His orders.
PREFACE Common Preface
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Receive the gifts, O Lord, which we bring in veneration of Thy holy Angels, and mercifully grant that we be delivered by their perpetual guard from the perils of this life and at last attain unto life everlasting. Through our Lord.
COMMUNION: Daniel 3: 58
All ye Angels of the Lord bless the Lord: sing a hymn, and exalt Him above all for ever.
We have received, O Lord, the divine mysteries, rejoicing in the festivity of Thy holy Angels; we pray that we be continually delivered by their protection from the snares of our enemies and fortified against all adverse powers. Through our Lord.