Today, October 2, is the Feast of the Guardian Angels
“How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” – St. Jerome, 4th century
Today is the Feast of Guardian Angels, but how much do we really know about guardian angels? In recent years, two things have happened. Outside of the Church, theology about the role of angels has been twisted and altered to fit in with New Age ideas or else toned down so that angels are thought of as nothing more than kind, smiling “guys in sparkling pajamas,” as a child in the 90’s remake of the film Angels in the Outfield describes. As a result, Catholics have either adopted some these views, or on the other side, have taken a hands-off approach, backing off from the subject out of caution. However, belief in angels has been a part of our faith since the very beginning, even well before the time of Christ. The angels played roles throughout the Old Testament and the New. To briefly summarize the Catholic doctrine that angels were created, as was man, and that angels are pure spirit, the Catholic Encyclopedia states:
“The angels are represented throughout the Bible as a body of spiritual beings intermediate between God and men: “You have made him (man) a little less than the angels” (Psalm 8:6). They, equally with man, are created beings; “praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts . . . for He spoke and they were made. He commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:2-5; Colossians 1:16-17). That the angels were created was laid down in the Fourth Lateran Council. The decree “Firmiter” against the Albigenses declared both the fact that they were created and that men were created after them . . . We mention it here because the words: “He that liveth for ever created all things together” (Ecclesiasticus 18:1) have been held to prove a simultaneous creation of all things; but it is generally conceded that “together” (simul) may here mean “equally”, in the sense that all things were “alike” created. They are spirits; the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister to them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).”
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