Q’s and A’s on the Guardian Angels

I promised last September that I would post answers to questions I received from a high school student about the angels. It’s been over four months now since I have done that. My apologies to anyone who was waiting for the next entry.

Does every human being have a guardian angel?

Yes, every human being, whoever was, is, or will be, has a guardian angel. The existence of angels is a dogma of Faith, and the existence of guardian angels is clear from holy scripture and tradition; but whether or not every human being is given a guardian angel is a question that lies in the realm of opinion. Almost all the saints and doctors affirmed it, but a few of the early fathers believed that only the baptized are given a guardian angel. Saint Thomas affirmed that every man receives a guardian angel in his Summa Theologica (First Part, Question 113) and he provides irrefutable arguments why this must be so. It was the common teaching in his time and no doctor every questioned it since the thirteenth century. Therefore, if we look to the ordinary teaching of the Church, it would be rash and certainly offensive to pious ears to deny it.

Why is every man given a guardian angel?

Because God wills the salvation of all men. And all men need and receive sufficient grace to be saved. The guardian angel cannot force his trust to cooperate with grace, otherwise the will would not be free, but he acts as a channel of actual grace, working with God’s providential designs, to bring the person he is guarding in contact with outside occasions of grace: good Catholics, religious and lay, good books, a good teacher, good words and examples. The more a man cooperates with grace the more graces he will receive.

Guardian angels also have the power to help our imagination in meditation. Since the imagination is one of our inner senses the angel can actually place holy images in the mind, especially if we ask their assistance. If demons can place impure images in someone’s imagination, in their attempts to lure one into willful consent, then good angels can place holy images in the mind to move one to acts of love and virtue. Likewise, good angels can prevent demons from assaulting our imagination by guarding our minds. “Ever this night (and day) be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.”

The conversion of a sinner gives great joy to their guardian angel, indeed to all the angels. Remember Our Lord’s parable about the woman who lost one of her ten coins, and how she swept her house in order to find it. When she found it, how great was her joy! Our Lord then gives the meaning of the parable, equating the lost coin to a sinner, whose “finding” is a conversion, and the joy of the woman is that of the angels: “There shall be more joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance” (Luke 15:10).

What does the guardian angel do after his charge has died?

After death the guardian angel’s work of guarding is over. However, they do still have intercessory “work” to do if their charge is in purgatory. They carry the prayers of the suffering souls to heaven and continue to act as an advocate. They give comfort and solace to the souls in purgatory. Remember, too, that their work as advocate is most intense at the hour of death. The guardian angels of those who die in grace work to procure a peaceful death and ward off the demons from any final assault. Or, if God permits a final temptation, to increase the merit of the just, the guardian angels assist in the battle. Of those who face the last hour in sin, the guardian angels work by infusing holy images or providing a last occasion of grace by the exhortations of a good friend, or relative, nurse, or chaplain. It is only after the soul that was entrusted to them is in eternal beatitude that the “work” of the angel guardian is over. After this, the guardian angel rests for all eternity in the joy of the Lord. And they also have a special accidental joy if the soul they guarded is in heaven with them. If we are saved, our guardian angels will always thank God for our salvation.

The guardian angel never loses the beatific vision of God even while on their earthly assignment. They are always “in heaven” as far as the state of eternal bliss, even when they are not in the “place” of heaven. Don’t forget that heaven is also a place, the physical beauty of which is beyond our imagination.

What about the guardian angels of the damned?

These angels do not lose any of the joy they have in beatitude. Too, remember that they are spirits, and they have no sense emotion. Even if their trust is lost they rejoice in the justice of God. They feel no sorrow and certainly no shame for the final fall of their charge. No guardian angel “fails”; they all do a good job.

Can a guardian angel be assigned to be another human’s guardian?

They could be; but they are not. Your guardian angel is yours alone. There are plenty of guardian angels for the employ of each and every man. Some saints held that every angel of this lowest of the nine choirs will receive a trust to guard. When the last guardian angel is sent by God, that will be to protect the last man created by God. If I can borrow a Father Feeney pun (that is not de fide; that’s de Fini); that’s not de fide; it’s de BK.

  • Jeff Harrison

    Dear Brian,

    As a fellow “Baby Boomer” and brother in Christ…

    I must say that your article concerning Angels was the most straight forward, simple, and scripturally factual rendering of Angels, in a short article, that I have ever read.

    Your descritions were presented in a most scholarly fashon, and easily understood.

    As a Retired Marine, my dog tags were always stamped “Protestant”, due to my Baptist roots.

    Angels are also a large part of the Baptist culture. As children, we too were taught that “Our Angels” would always watch over us”.

    Thank you for encouraging me to re-focus on my Angel … that I have ignored for far to long.

    Semper Fi

    Jeff Harrison

  • Judith

    Do you think your guardian Angel would come to you in human form to guide you and help you in a fight for your faith in God?

  • Sunny Wong

    I wanna be religious now. Knowing that I have a guardian angel.

  • leo

    Can anyone explain to me about 2 angels images I captured on my mobile on Sept 26, 2011 in Simala church in Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines?

  • leo

    This is the original capture I had with my blackberry mobile. This was captured around 2PM
    at the time I arrived at Simala Church, sibonga, Cebu Philippines to visit Mama Mary.

  • leo

    This is the total front view of Simala Church, Lindogon sibonga Cebu, Philippines
    located on top of the mountain. By the way, this is a miraculous church that hail
    people from disease and will grant your wish through your faith and belief. She
    grant my wish of having a good wife and a beautiful daughter before I took this
    picture…Mama Mary, thank you and I love you. I wish something good will happen
    to my job and career.

  • Novarum

    Thank you, this was incredible. A couple of Knights and I were discussing this last night and we were honored to know that God sent an angel just for each of us. But, to find out that my angel is also on a epic mission to light and guard, to rule and guide me is incredible. It is humbling and inspiring.

  • leoncio teneyuque

    Is there a way to know the name of our guardian angel?

  • Kidd-Dahn

    My mother once told me, when as a child with the similar question, that if you ask to know the name of your guardian angel it will be revealed to you. I actually did this in my recent years one night in prayer before falling asleep. I had no clue as to when my question would be answered. I went to sleep, and during my sleep it was revealed to me that my guardian angel’s name is Michelle. To me, the name Michelle didn’t seem very spiritual. I thought about it after I awoke, but not for long. I don’t think that I have thought too much of it until just recently. I am a semi-stickler for “J” names. I kind of think that my guardian ange’s would have had a “J” name. Hmmmm…I wonder if I’d be disrespectful by asking again? I will have to give that one some thought. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth either. (Sun23Apr2017)

  • James Wimmer

    If we have aGuardian Angle how come all those innocent children were abursed ?

  • Evelyn Chew

    You can always ask for a confirmation, or give your angel a nickname? :)

  • Evelyn Chew

    Because God also respects human freedom – which is what the abusers took advantage of by misusing their freedom to trample on others’ rights. To me, God weeps wherever a child weeps, and He takes on Himself all the suffering of the Cross to tell us that He always stands with the victim. We can’t understand it, true, but with St Augustine I believe that in the end, all things work out for the good, and that a good, all-wise, all-powerful God who permits evil to occur can only do so in order to draw a greater good out of it (though certainly it seems hard to imagine from our point of view).

    CS Lewis in The Problem of Pain has a lot on that question of evil in the world; St JPII also talks about it in the encyclical Salvifici Doloris. But it is ultimately a mystery of both human freedom and evil. Human freedom makes evil possible, yet it is itself a great good, without which man would not be man.

  • Kate

    You shouldn’t give your guardian angel a name though, it’s discouraged greatly by the Church. Then you would be asserting a sort of authority; parents name their children, owners name their pets. We don’t have authority over our guardian angles, even in the prayer it says ” to light and guard, to RULE and guide.” So I wouldn’t call him by a name unless he reveals to you a name.

  • Evelyn Chew

    Hm, that’s a deep and profound thought. Thanks for that. Though, another way of looking at it – no disrespect to you or to the angels – is that they can’t possibly get upset if we just want to be able to call them by name, and give them a nickname because we don’t know their true angelic name? Anyway – I came back to this thread after stumbling upon a lovely page about St. Padre Pio and the guardian angels. Thought I’d share it :)