Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
At its heart, today’s feast of the Holy Angels is not so much about their existence, rather it is a powerful reminder of how important we are to God.
Our first reading states this so clearly. God promises angelic guidance so that we are guarded and surely led to a place of safety. The angelic guides will speak for God, indeed in the ‘name’ of God, and they will be entrusted to go before us to show us the right path.
In the gospel Jesus reveals that those Angels entrusted to guide ‘the little ones’ (the poor, powerless and dismissed people who Jesus reached out to) stand in the place of closest relationship with God. Their status in God’s eyes is symbolized by the status their angels enjoy in heaven!
We see all of this, too, in the life of Jesus. Angels appear in the gospel accounts of his life at those times of special need – times where Jesus himself is in need or others like Mary need to hear God’s word. At the time of temptation and in his agony, the angels appear to comfort Jesus. At the other times they appear in order to announce the significance of the moment to others – i.e. at the Annunciation, the Angel reveals God’s plan to Mary, and at the tomb the Angel reveals the new life of Jesus on this, the first day of resurrection.
In times past Catholic devotion and prayer focused more particularly on angels. Today that is not so prominent. However, this feast-day does speak to us of God’s longing for us, of God’s desire to protect us and of God’s intention to be with us.
All of this is to remind us today that we too enjoy such love and care on the part of God.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia.