|GUARDIANS GIVEN TO
Angels lead us to our true destiny: to behold the face of God
Fr Jean Galot, SJ
Science enables scholars more and
more to understand that the material world is far richer than we imagine. The world of
nature, in particular, has not ceased to reveal its secrets to us.
So why should it surprise us that the spiritual world is vaster and richer than we would
have thought? Faith helps us discover this world, which is inaccessible to our senses. Its
discovery demands great openness. Those who are sceptical about all invisible realities
will be tempted to shrug their shoulders about what the Scriptures say of angels. However,
Scripture retains its value as Revelation. The intervention of angels, in human life is
frequently affirmed; the testimony of the Gospels confirms the truth of what was
abundantly attested in the Old Testament.
Angels are present at the most important moments of Jesus' life: at the Annunciation, then
at the Nativity; during the time he spent in the wilderness, in his prayer at Gethsemane,
at the empty tomb to announce the Resurrection and, lastly, as a conclusion at the time of
his Ascension, Indeed, Jesus himself emphasizes this presence of angels in the course of
his public life: "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the
angels of God ascending and descending upon the
Son of man (Jn 1:51). These angels, who symbolically represent the union of heaven and
earth, testify to the mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus likes to mention the angels who
accompany the Son of man on his mission especially in gathering individuals into the
Church (Mk 13:27) and
at the last judgement of all who enter the world to come (Mt 25:31,32).
Thus the Son of God expressly wished that the angels should participate in his earthly
life and his saving mission. By asserting their presence, he confirmed the truth of the
existence of angels and the value of their role in the work of salvation.
He especially wanted us to be accompanied by angels throughout our life, as he himself
was. He let us understand that we are in the habitual company of angels when spoke of the
"little ones", to show the esteem we must have for the lowliest beings:
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven
their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" (Mt 18:10). This
warning is explained in the social context in which the doctors of the Law were given to
scorning simple people whom they took to ignorant; even if they were not knowledgeable
about the law, these "little ones" possessed a superior wisdom, thanks to their
angels who contemplate the Father. However, the warning has a broader scope: because of
the angels, no human being, however humble or poor, may be despised.
In using the expression "their angels", Jesus suggests that angels in some way
belong to these "little ones", in keeping with their specific purpose which is
to accompany them in their life as they have been made available to them. These are what
the Christian faith calls "guardian angels". The expression is correct but too
limited. The angels' role is not only to provide protection, but to help guide each
individual to his true destiny.
Since they never cease to contemplate the face of the heavenly Father, angels cause a
reflection of his divine light to penetrate the mind and conduct of every individual.
Angels ensure that our behaviour is properly directed to the face of the Father who is the
goal of our life.
This invites us to seek their help, so that this guidance may become more and more a part
of our life.
Weekly Edition in English
1 October 1997, p. 4
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