Catholic Classroom: Scriptural and Traditional Roots of Guardian Angels
Question: How do we know that we have guardian angels?
If you’ve read our blog on guardian angels, you’ll recall that these celestial beings have been tasked by God to protect each of us and help us on the path to salvation. We know that angels exist because they are spoken of frequently in Sacred Scripture; but how do we know the truth that we each have a guardian angel?
Psalm 91 is a good place to start. It reads, “For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” Although the term “guardian angel,” is not explicitly mentioned, the author describes an angel guarding a specific person.
In Hebrews 1, regarding the angels Saint Paul says, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” Here Saint Paul affirms that angels are meant to help the faithful; so it follows that there are certain angels who specifically guard us and help us on our journey to salvation.
According the Church, the Word of God comes to us through both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Most of what we know about guardian angels comes through tradition. Saint Basil the Great and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, both Doctors of the Church, taught about guardian angels. According to Saint Basil, “Each and every member of the faithful has a Guardian Angel to protect, guard, and guide them through life.” Saint Bernard of Clairvaux promoted devotion to the guardian angels, and wrote that “these celestial spirits have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us, and to guide us.”
The Catechism affirms this, stating that “from its beginning until 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 and men united in God” (CCC 336).
Knowing this truth should give us comfort and inspire us to ask our guardian angels to intercede for us!