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The Holy Guardian Angels (Memorial)
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all for ever. Cf. Dn 3:58
O God, who in your unfathomable providence
are pleased to send your holy Angels to guard us,
hear our supplication as we cry to you,
that we may always be defended by their protection
and rejoice eternally in their company.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In the month Nisan of the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when the wine was in my charge, I took some and offered it to the king. As I had never before been sad in his presence, the king asked me, “Why do you look sad? If you are not sick, you must be sad at heart.” Though I was seized with great fear, I answered the king: “May the king live forever! How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been eaten out by fire?” The king asked me, “What is it, then, that you wish?” I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king: “If it please the king, and if your servant is deserving of your favor, send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, to rebuild it.” Then the king, and the queen seated beside him, asked me how long my journey would take and when I would return. I set a date that was acceptable to him, and the king agreed that I might go.
I asked the king further: “If it please the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of West-of-Euphrates, that they may afford me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah; also a letter for Asaph, the keeper of the royal park, that he may give me wood for timbering the gates of the temple-citadel and for the city wall and the house that I shall occupy.” The king granted my requests, for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.
R. Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps. R.
Though there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!” R.
How could we sing a song of the Lord
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten! R.
May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy. R.
Bless the Lord, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will. Ps 103:21
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.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, O Lord, the offerings we bring before you
as we venerate your holy Angels,
and graciously grant
that under their constant protection
we may be delivered from present dangers
and brought happily to life eternal.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the presence of the Angels I will praise you, my God. Cf. Ps 138 (137):1
Prayer after Communion
As you are pleased to nourish us for eternal life
with so great a Sacrament, O Lord,
direct us by the ministry of Angels
into the way of salvation and peace.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Meditation: Matthew 18:1-5, 10
Their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. (Matthew 18:10)
Do you remember Clarence? He’s the guardian angel in the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life. When despair leads the main character, George Bailey, to contemplate suicide, Clarence intervenes to save his life.
The movie’s wide appeal may stem in part from the fact that it reflects two basic truths of our faith: that guardian angels exist and that they play an important role in our lives. Many people can tell amazing stories of how their guardian angel came to their rescue.
These protectors and guides are our constant companions: from the beginning of our lives until our death, we are “surrounded by their watchful care and intercession” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 336). That’s why the Church sets aside this day each year to acknowledge and honor them.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) had a name for guardian angels that seems especially appropriate—he called them our “bodyguards.” Bernard wrote, “We need only to follow them, remain close to them, and we will dwell in the protection of the Most High God. So as often as you sense the approach of any grave temptation or some crushing sorrow hangs over you, invoke your protector, your leader, your helper in every situation” (Sermons on Psalm 91, Sermon 12).
Certainly we should call on our guardian angel whenever we are in imminent physical danger. But St. Bernard’s advice also applies to less serious situations. For example, maybe we’re tempted to lose our temper, or we’re inclined to speak irritably to a family member or coworker who grates on our nerves. Our guardian angel stands ready to hear us when we call and to help us act in kindness. This helper, says St. Bernard, will “bear our prayers to God in heaven and return laden with graces for us.”
How great is God’s love for us, that he gives each of us such a faithful guide! On this feast of the Guardian Angels, thank your Father—and your guardian angel—for their heavenly care.
“Father, help me to be more mindful of the presence of my guardian angel in my life.”
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