Thursday, January 23, 2014
Our Guardian Angel
"An Angel of peace, a faithful guide and guardian of our souls and bodies let us ask of the Lord," we pray during services. The Orthodox Church believes every child receives from God a Guardian Angel. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their angels in heaven always behold the face of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10).
The Blessed Augustine writes, "The angels, with great concern, and with untiring eagerness, reside with us at every hour and in every place. They help us, they foresee our needs, serve as mediators between God and ourselves, lifting up to Him our groans and sighs … Accompanying us in all our travels, they go in and out with us, attentively watching if we deport ourselves with piety and honor among the evil species, and with what effort do we seek the Kingdom of God." A similar thought is expressed by Basil the Great, "With every believer there is an angel, which, as a child's leader and pastor, directs his life." And in confirmation of this he quotes the Psalm that says about God that "He commands His angels regarding you to guard you in all your paths … The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them" (Psalm 91:11, 34:7). Bishop Theophan the Recluse instructs in one of his letters, "We must remember that we have a Guardian Angel and turn to him in our thoughts and heart. This is good during peaceful times and especially so during turmoil. When such contact with the angel is missing, he has no means of influencing us. For example, if one approaches quicksand or an abyss, and has plugged his ears and closed his eyes, how can anyone help him?"
Thus should a Christian remember his good angel, who for the span of all his life concerns himself with him, rejoicing in his spiritual achievements, and grieves over his downfalls. When a person dies, the angel takes his soul to God. Having found itself in the spirit world, according to many accounts, the soul recognizes its Guardian Angel.
The following is a short morning prayer to the Guardian Angel (from the Russian prayer book):
Angel of God, my holy protector, given to me from heaven by God for my protection, I fervently beseech you: enlighten me and preserve me from all evil, instruct me in good deeds and direct me on the path of salvation. Amen.