「人的生命由開始至死亡，常由天使所保護和代禱。每個信徒都有一位天使在他身旁作為保護者和牧者，為引導他達到永生。」聖女吉瑪(Gemma Galgani, 1878-1903)和創辦「主業會」的聖施禮華(Josemaria Escriva, 1902-1975)神父，均對自己的護守天使特別恭敬。事實上，聖施禮華在一九二八年的十月二日，受到啓示而創辦了「主業會」。
Our heavenly friends
This week we celebrate two feasts in honour of holy angels. Sept. 29 is the feast of three archangels and Oct. 2 is the feast of the Guardian Angels.
According to our Catechism, “Our Guardian Angels help us by praying for us, by protecting us from harm, and by inspiring us to do good.” Both St. Gemma Galgani (1878-1903) and St. Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975), founder of Opus Dei, had special devotion to their guardian angels. In fact, it was on Oct. 2, 1928, that St. Josemaria was inspired to found Opus Dei.
Praying for us
In her life St. Gemma often saw her guardian angel. Sometimes the angel appeared to St. Gemma to inspire her to pray and to pray with her. When it was time for meditation, the angel inspired her with sublime ideas. He moved her affections so the result of this holy exercise would be perfect.
Whenever St. Josemaria greeted Jesus in the tabernacle, he also thanked the angels present there for their unceasing adoration of God. Let us remember that our guardian angels never cease praying for us and present our petitions before the throne of God.
Protecting us from harm
Once, after she had experienced severe temptations, St. Gemma’s guardian angel appeared. The saint complained to her angel because she wished help in such times. Her guardian angel, however, assured her that whether she saw him or not, he would be always above her head.
Another time, St. Gemma was afraid of an attack by the devil. She begged her guardian angel to be with her while she was sleeping. When she went to bed, her guardian angel spread his wings over her. In the morning, he was still there.
St. Josemaria was convinced God placed a guardian angel beside each human being, so he would have recourse to his guardian angel for both spiritual and material needs.
From 1928 to 1940 St. Josemaria’s alarm clock didn’t work, and the saint had no money to replace it. He asked his guardian angel to wake him up in the morning at the right time. His angel never once failed him. St. Josemaria called his guardian angel “my dear watchmaker.”
According to Father John Hardon, author of the Modern Catholic Dictionary, “Guardian Angels protect us from evil by preserving us from temptation that would be too strong for us; by enlightening us on how to cope with the world, the flesh, and the devil; and by shielding us from physical evil that would bring us spiritual harm.”
Inspiring us to be good
Guardian angels give us heavenly inspirations, telling us what we should do to please God and how are we to carry it into effect.
During her long illness, St. Gemma often received consoling words from her guardian angel. Once, he said, “If Jesus afflicts you in your body, it is always to purify you in your soul. Be good.”
Sometimes the angel counselled her, and occasionally scolded her very severely for her faults, every now and then repeating, “I am ashamed of you.” The angel also taught St. Gemma to speak but little, and only when she was spoken to. The guardian angel reminded St. Gemma to guard her eyes and told her that the eyes that are mortified shall behold the beauties of heaven.
St. Josemaria had the habit of always greeting the guardian angels of the people he met. Perhaps before we help others, we can ask the guardian angels of those for whom we work to lend us their help.
Our duties toward our guardian angel
According to St. Bernard, we should have respect and devotion for as well as confidence in our guardian angel. We should have respect, because of his presence; devotion, because of the solicitude for us that he manifests; confidence, because of the protection with which he surrounds us.
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