We seem to read and talk a lot about what our guardian angels do for us. Maybe what we should be focusing on is what we should do for them.
St. Bernard tells it to us straight: "Reverence for his presence, devotion for his benevolence, confidence in his care. Always remember that you are in the presence of your Guardian Angel."
Yikes. (Any other red faces out there to join mine?)
Sure, it's easy to forget our angel. He's invisible and, well, we're not. We're stimulated by things we can see, hear, touch and taste. And even when we can see someone near and dear to us, how often do we still ignore them, are rude to them, or upset them one way or the other? Lots.
Being the infinitely patient otherworldly beings that they are, our angels no doubt cut us a lot of slack. But that doesn't mean we should ever quit trying to honor and love them to the best of our ability.
In deference to our 21st century byte-sized attention spans, here are some bulleted suggestions for giving our angels their due respect:
- Pray to them. A thought, a thank you, the Guardian Angel Prayer you probably learned as a child . . .these are all good. In fact, Pope John XXIII was in the habit of saying the Guardian Angel Prayer five times a day!
- Be respectful and modest in your words and deeds. As St. Bernard liked to remind his followers: "Never do in the presence of your angel what you would not do in my presence."
- Remember them on their designated feast days. The Feast of the Guardian Angels is October 2 and the Feast of the Archangels is September 29. Think what a kick it would be for the angels if you attended a Mass on those days in their honor.
- Honor the angels of people you meet. This one takes a little getting used to, but think about it a minute. You say hello to someone you pass on the street, right? And doesn't that person have an angel accompanying them? Yesss . . . So send that angel a mental hello. The key word here is mental.
- Learn more about them. Read good Catholic books on the angels. Beware of anything that looks too New Agey. (You may end up attracting the attention of another type of spirit "friend.") A great place to start is the Bible's very own Book of Tobit, which tells the story of how St. Raphael the Archangel disguised himself as a human in order to lend help to Tobit and his family.
The guardian angels are our most loyal and loving lifetime companions. It's high time we start giving them their due.