Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not just for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.
The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. St. Benedict gave it impetus and Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.
A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar.
Catholics believe in the existence of angels and in the participation of angels in God’s plan of salvation. Throughout the Scriptures, angels have played an important role in God’s revelation to humanity. An angel is a pure spirit created by God who constantly praises and glorifies God. Unlike saints, angels were never human and living on earth. The word angel means “messenger” and as messengers of God, angels can be seen as spiritual beings who communicate God’s love and presence to us on earth. They make known God’s plan and can challenge people to grow in holiness. Angels also guard and protect us – these angels are known as “guardian angels.”
Types of Angels
Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim
The Choir of Angels is divided into three groupings, each with specific concerns:
The 1st triad:
Angels, Archangels, and Principalities: Concern themselves with the minute ordering of the universe and specific causes, including the welfare of people. Each human being, each church, and each country has a Guardian Angel. The Feast of the Guardian Angels is October 2.
The 2nd triad:
Powers, Virtues and Dominations: Known as the “angels of creation” because they concern themselves with the ordering of the universe and a plurality of causes.
The 3rd triad:
Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim: Concern themselves with contemplating the glory of God. It is the 6-winged Seraphim who sing the Sanctus, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts”