In the Catholic faith we believe that God assigns a Guardian Angel to watch over us from the very beginning of our life on earth. Most of the time we will never see our Guardian Angel or be aware of their presence, but on occasion they may reveal themselves to us, though not always in the same way.
No physical body
Strictly speaking angels do not posses a physical body; this is the reason why we usually never notice them. They are pure spirits, but can take on a physical appearance when necessary. The visible form that is often reported in Scripture or popular news stories is a facade, a mask they put on so that we can see them with our eyes. Otherwise they are naturally invisible creatures.
A more common way that our Guardian Angel will “reveal” themselves to us is through an invisible action or “voice.” Sister Maria Antonia wrote a famous account of her lifelong friendship with her Guardian Angel in Under Angel Wings and explains such an incident in her childhood when her Guardian Angel preserved her from committing a sin.
“Why cannot I pick some peaches like the other children?” I stretched out my hand to pick a peach, and my fingers had already touched this big velvety peach, when I received the most sweet, calm warning of my New Friend. My arm, suspended in mid-air, was gently lowered by an “invisible hand,” which I felt as really as if I had been touched by one of the persons I could see. For I had a better and more clear understanding of the voice of my New Friend than of the spoken words of Mother Raphael, or Sister Pauline, or Sister Irene, whom I could see when they spoke to me.
In these cases the Guardian Angel is recognized as an invisible “presence” that is difficult to describe with words, but is more “real” than what can be seen with the eyes.
On other hand, Guardian Angels have been known to appear in various forms, either as an adult or as a child. One story recounted by Patti Maguire Armstrong explains how a lost soldier was guided by a “little girl” to safety.
Hoping [these women] would be friendly and willing to feed him, Eldon made his way toward the women. All of a sudden, a little blonde-haired girl around 10 years old, wearing a bright white dress, appeared by his side. She motioned with a finger over her lips, to remain quiet. Then, taking him by the hand the little girl led him in the opposite direction to stand behind a thicket of bushes. It was at that point that two German soldiers appeared and began talking with the women. Eldon realized then that he had just narrowly avoided recapture. When he looked around the little girl had vanished. She was nowhere to be seen.
If we are ever graced with an opportunity to notice our Guardian Angel, it is likely that they will appear to us in a form that brings along with it feelings of peace and security. Our Guardian Angel knows us better than we know ourselves and so expertly chooses a form that is specific to us, not wishing to frighten us, but to comfort us in our hour of need.
Even if we never see them in this life, our Christian faith gives us confidence that our Guardian Angel is always at our side, ready to help us when we need them the most.
The remarkable friendship between a saint and her Guardian Angel
A visual guide to Guardian Angels: Here’s what you need to know
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