Behold, I Will Send My Angel, Who Shall Go Before Thee…
For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone…
A pious woman, having one night received information that a poor person in the suburbs was lying in extreme necessity, and none of her domestics being within, sent her son with something for her relief. The boy, being very young, was greatly afraid going by himself to such a lonely place, until a page appeared, bearing a flambeau, and conducted him safely to his destination. His mother doubted not that it might be his good angel who had rendered him the charitable office.
These blessed spirits have often appeared visibly to man. The learned interpreter of the Holy Scripture, Cornelius a Lapide, supposes that after the resurrection they will sometimes assume bodies of exquisite beauty to recreate us. It is amazing to see them take every form to render services to us. They have appeared in various shapes, as pilgrims, etc., to serve and benefit man, who does almost nothing to testify his gratitude. If it were only at certain times they rendered us assistance, it would not be so wonderful; but to be conferring favors on us every moment we exist, is inconceivable—and it is this our good angel does for us.
If a prince of the royal blood came and spent some time in waiting on an humble peasant, in a poor cabin, every one would be amazed; but if this peasant was his enemy, one from whom he could expect nothing like gratitude—if, moreover, he not only passed some months with him, but even resolved on remaining in his service as long as he lived, notwithstanding all the vicious propensities and vile habits which he discovered in him, the wonder would be infinitely greater.
Yet it is in this manner, O my soul! thy good angel guards thee. It is thus, O ye whom I address! that the Holy Spirit, appointed to be your guardian, executes His commission. This amiable prince never quits us in this valley of tears.
The angels, says St. Augustine, enter and go forth with us—they have their eyes ever fixed on us, and on what we do. If we remain at home, they stay with us; if we walk out, they accompany us; let us go where we will, on land or at sea, they are always with us; they are no less present with the merchant in his counting-house, or the matron in the cares of her household, than with the recluse in his desert, or the religious in his cell.
O excessive bounty!—even while we sleep, they watch over us —they are always at our side—though we are sinners, and consequently their enemies—though our interior deformity is so great, that if we saw it we could not support the sight—though we spend our lives in sin, or in such frivolous occupations as certainly excite the pity of these blessed spirits—though we corrupt our best actions by numberless defects, they are never weary of our company.
Even after death, they visit us in purgatory, and render us in its flames very great consolations. Is not this to be our slaves? Where would we be able to find persons who would sacrifice their liberty so perfectly in the service of kings? O bounty of our God! the princes of paradise our slaves and servants! Well, indeed, did the holy Vincent of Caraffe say that the life of a Christian was a life of astonishment.
But the angels not only protect man, they also give their cares to everything that is destined for his service. According to St. Augustine, these blessed spirits preside over every animate and inanimate thing in this visible world.
The stars and the firmament have their angels—the fire, the air, the water, have their angels—kingdoms have their angels, as is seen in the Scriptures—provinces have their angels, for the angels who appeared to Jacob, says Genesis, were the guardians of the provinces through which he passed—towns and cities have their angels—altars, churches, nay, even particular families, have their angels.
Thus the world is full of angels, and it seems that the sweetness of divine Providence renders it necessary; for if, as some say, there be in the air so great a number of evil spirits, that if they were permitted to assume bodies, they would obscure the light of the sun, how could men be safe from their malicious arts, unless protected by the angels?
It is not for nothing that these blessed spirits are sent on earth. As each star has its peculiar influence, so each of the angels produces some particular good. We must be obdurate, indeed, if we are not touched by their services.
It is a great pity, that we seldom think but of sensible objects. In vain are we spoken to of spiritual things; we either understand them not, or forget them with facility. Whatever Eliseus might say to his servant of the protection of these blessed spirits, the poor man could not believe it, until God miraculously opened his eyes, and manifested them to him under visible forms.
If the same favor is not given to us, still have we not faith? and can we not behold with our interior eyes these amiable spirits, and acknowledge them as our greatest benefactors, and the faithful ministers of God alone, whom we adore, who is admirable in all His works, and deserves for them eternal, everlasting praise?
The Glories of the Catholic Church -The Catholic Christian Instructed in Defense of His Faith
A Complete Exposition of the Catholic Doctrine, Together With A Full Explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass Including the Triumphs of the Church in Every Age
The Ret. Henry A. Brann D. D.