On the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, here's how to introduce children to their angels and strengthen that relationship.
Today is an unusual feast in the Church calendar. Most holy days honor the amazing humans who we call saints. This day honors beings of an entirely different species, but whose lives and purpose are intimately connected with our own.
These are angels, of course. The Church teaches that angels are pure spirits who serve God in various ways. While we humans must choose between right and wrong all day long, these spirits made that choice once and for all, very long ago. Those who chose evil became demons, while those who chose good are angels, agents of God’s goodness here on earth.
There is a whole theology of angels, and it’s really fascinating. There are nine choirs of angels, each with a distinct mission. Some choirs spend their time worshiping God for eternity, but others are assigned to help us here on earth.
We call these our “guardian angels.” Scripture is filled with references to them, and many Church Fathers and theologians have written about them. St. Jerome wrote, “The dignity of a soul is so great, that each has a guardian angel from its birth.” The Catechism tells us,
“… The whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels…. From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels …” (CCC 334, 336)
Unlike God, however, the angels are not omniscient. They don’t know what we are thinking unless we tell them.
That’s why we should make sure to ask for our angels’ help and guidance. It’s a great gift to have these angelic helpers. St. Ambrose explained, “We should pray to the angels who are given to us as guardians.”
Childhood is a wonderful time to begin a strong and loving relationship with one’s guardian angel. Those of us who have children or grandchildren, or educate children as a Catholic schoolteacher or catechist, have the perfect opportunity to teach kids about these heavenly companions.
In honor of today’s feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, here are 3 ways to introduce children to their guardian angels and help strengthen that relationship.
1Teach them the Guardian Angel Prayer
Angels are ready to help when we ask, so let’s encourage our kids to ask for their help every day. This short and sweet prayer is easy to remember and say every morning:
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard, to rule and guide.
2Model a relationship with your guardian angel
Modeling a behavior is the best way to get kids to imitate it! Look for little occasions to talk to your guardian angel in front of your kids.
You might say something like, “Guardian angels, please protect us on our drive to school today!” or “Guardian angel, please help me remember to make good decisions today and choose what’s right.”
Just remember not to name your guardian angel. They already have names God gave them.
3Encourage children to ask their angels for help
Remind kids regularly that they, too, can receive aid from these heavenly beings. Asking their angel for guidance will always make things better!
Not sure when a situation calls for angelic assistance? Tell kids they can use the words of the guardian angel prayer, “to light and guard, to rule and guide,” as a reminder of how angels can help them:
- Angels can “light” the way through a difficult decision or intellectual dilemma
- Angels can “guard” us from bodily harm and temptation to sin
- Angels can “rule” by strengthening our willpower to choose the right
- Angels can “guide” us to Heaven and pray for us always
Today’s feast is a helpful reminder of the unseen but constant presence of our heavenly friends. Let’s resolve to ask our angels for help more often, and teach our children and students to do so too.