Friday, October 2, 2009


“The Guardian Angel”
by Pietro Da Cortona, 1656


Additional Information about Guardian Angels [1]

Readings for the Memorial of Guardian Angels

Readings and Commentary:
The Gospel for this memorial is proper.

Exodus 23:20-23

Thus says the LORD:
"See, I am sending an angel before you,
to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.
Be attentive to him and heed his voice.
Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin.
My authority resides in him.
If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you,
I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.

"My angel will go before you and bring you to the
Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites,
Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites;
and I will wipe them out."

Commentary on
Ex 23:20-23

Moses gives prophetic warning following his presentation of the Law to the Hebrew peoples. In the oracle, he promises (this selection is the first of three times) to send someone before the people if they follow the precepts of his Covenant. In this instance, God sends has angel before the people; His emissary since God’s authority resides with the angelic messenger.

CCC: Ex 23:20-23 332
Psalm 91:1-2, 3-4ab, 4c-6, 10-11

R. (11) The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
Say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

R. The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.

For he will rescue you from the snare of the fowler,
from the destroying pestilence.
With his pinions he will cover you,
and under his wings you shall take refuge.

R. The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.

His faithfulness is a buckler and a shield.
You shall not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day;
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
nor the devastating plague at noon.

R. The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.

No evil shall befall you,
nor shall affliction come near your tent,
For to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways.

R. The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
Commentary on
Ps 91:1-2, 3-4ab, 4c-6, 10-11

The hymn of thanksgiving that is Psalm 91 gives praise to God for the salvation of his people. He saves those who believe in Him from the distress and fear. The warrior image of God’s heavenly hosts recalls angelic involvement and their divine intervention on behalf of the faithful whom they guard.

CCC: Ps 91:10-13 336

Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

"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."

Commentary on
Mt 18:1-5, 10

This Gospel passage is used on the Feast of the Guardian Angels each year. The event is also recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel at
Luke 9:46-50. The major difference is that here, in St. Matthew’s Gospel the Lord speaks directly of the Guardian Angels who protect and watch over the children in the presence of the Heavenly Father as opposed to going on to another saying of Jesus. The emphasis in this passage changes from a treatise on humility to one which emphasizes God’s care for those who are most helpless, His children.
CCC: Mt 18:3-4 526; Mt 18:3 2785; Mt 18:10 329, 336 

Taking the flow of celebrations in the Church over the days leading up to this date – it almost seems as if we have been building up to the memorial of Guardian Angels. We have celebrated the Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael and just yesterday the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. From divine messengers and Saints who invite us to be as children in accepting their divine aid, the Guardian Angels present themselves in this memorial – an angelic presence reminding us that God cares for us all and is with us constantly.

It is an opportunity for us all to reflect upon this question: If Jesus tells us the Guardians exist and are real (“I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.") do we accept and believe that aid is at hand or do we continue to fear, thinking we are alone, fighting against the world with only our own strength to protect us? After all, we do not see the angelic messengers. We do not observe them actively participating in our lives. Unlike their depiction in the movies, objects and people do not fly around, guided by the hosts of heaven.

Ultimately we are given God’s assurance that his messengers are here with us; that at once they face outward watching over us and inward, worshiping God and His Son in the Heavenly Kingdom. We are called once more today to have the faith of a child as we go about our day’s activities, may we accept God’s angelic aid and feel the peace flowing from his Son on this day.


[1] The picture is “The Guardian Angel” by Pietro Da Cortona, 1656 
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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