From whom demons withdraw in terror and pain

The world’s quicksand is shifting under our feet.  More than ever we need the help that God sends us through the loving help of our Guardian Angels.

Yes, there are angels.  Open your Bible and, within a few pages, you’ll find angels.

From the Martyrologium Romanum (which you readers can put into perfect yet smooth and elegant English):

Memoria sanctorum Angelorum Custodum, qui, primum ad contemplandam in splendore faciem Dei vocati, a Domino etiam apud homines commissi sunt, ut iis invisibili sua, sed sollicita, praesentia adessent ac consulerent.

There are three types of persons, divine, angelic and human.  Of the three types, divine persons, the Holy Trinity One God, are uncreated.  Angelic and human are created persons.  Angels have no material component, but humans do.

Because angels are not limited by matter, or individuated in matter, and since they are purely spiritual persons, each angel is his own species. They are like in that they are angels, and unlike in that each one is particular to himself. There is, therefore, a hierarchy among the angels. But all of them always contemplate God, as angels can. They don’t have to be limited to any place, since they have no bodies. They simply are where they are in action. So aligned are they with the will of God that when they appear in Scripture and speak, sometimes it is hard to tell when God is speaking and when they speak.

Our angel guardians can be from the anywhere in the myriads and myriads of ranks of the angels. They could be from the highest of the high or even from the lowliest little angel at the bottom of the hierarchy. But even the lowliest of the angels is beyond any human conception of mightiness. The least of the angels, were God to will or permit, could mash the cosmos into a little pea and flash the Big Bang again.

Provided that it falls within God’s will, from which it is impossible for them to stray, the material universe presents no obstacles to them. They know the essences of things directly, without having to figure them out.

Do you pray to your Guardian Angel? I sure do. I am constantly asking for help with problems and, especially, with other people. I will sometimes also ask the angelic guardians of other people to help me work something out when there is great need. And I, a weak sinner, have need all the time.

Though I loath the pastels and the foofy portrayal of these fearfully beautiful beings, I love idea behind the old pious images made for children’s bedrooms.  You see a bright yet obviously invisible angel preventing a distracted little kid from plunging off cliff as she tries to pick a pretty flower that is just out of reach.  They guide us dopey children back to a safer path.

We all all get into trouble and we all need this help.

God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, sends us mighty help before whom the fallen angels of Hell withdraw in terror and pain.

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30 Responses to From whom demons withdraw in terror and pain

  1. mamajen says:

    I definitely believe in guardian angels, but I have a tendency to forget to pray to mine (though I often talk to those of my sons or nephews!). I tend to talk to the saints more when I’m worried about something. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. acardnal says:

    Pertinent post, Fr. Z. Thank you.

    I, too, pray daily to my guardian angel. I, also, pray to my guardian angel to assist a mother and her guardian angel at church with a fussy child. I encourage readers to pray every day and throughout the day to their and others’ guardian angels.

    FYI, Saint Josemaria Escriva founded Opus Dei on this day in 1928. He and the priests of Opus Dei have a true devotion to the guardian angels.

    “Have confidence in your Guardian Angel. Treat him as a lifelong friend — that is what he is — and he will render you a thousand services in the ordinary affairs of each day.”
    St. Josemaria Escriva
    The Way, no. 562

  3. StWinefride says:

    Guardian Angels are the best – I’ll stop there!

    St Thérèse wrote the most beautiful poem to her guardian angel, unfortunately it doesn’t translate well into English. So I post it in French.

    Ste Thérèse, priez pour nous!

    A mon ange gardien

    Glorieux gardien de mon âme,
    Toi qui brille dans le beau ciel
    Comme une douce et pure flamme
    Près du trône de l’Eternel
    Tu descends pour moi sur la terre
    Et m’éclairant de ta splendeur
    Bel ange, tu deviens mon frère,
    Mon ami, mon consolateur !…

    Connaissant ma grande faiblesse
    Tu me diriges par la main
    Et je te vois avec tendresse
    Oter la pierre du chemin
    Toujours ta douce voix m’invite
    A ne regarder que les cieux
    Plus tu me vois humble et petite
    Et plus ton front est radieux.

    O toi ! qui traverses l’espace
    Plus promptement que les éclairs
    Je t’en supplie, vole à ma place
    Auprès de ceux qui me sont chers
    De ton aile sèche leurs larmes
    Chante combien Jésus est bon
    Chante que souffrir a des charmes
    Et tout bas, murmure mon nom …

    Je veux pendant ma courte vie
    Sauver mes frères les pécheurs
    O bel ange de la patrie
    Donne-moi tes saintes ardeurs
    Je n’ai rien que mes sacrifices
    Et mon austère pauvreté
    Avec tes célestes délices
    Offre-les à la Trinité.

    A toi le royaume et la gloire,
    Les richesses du Roi des rois.
    A moi l’humble Hostie du ciboire,
    A moi le trésor de la Croix.
    Avec la Croix, avec l’Hostie
    Avec ton céleste secours
    J’attends en paix de l’autre vie
    Les joies qui dureront toujours.

    Sainte Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus et de la Sainte-Face, Poésies, Paris, le Cerf, Desclée de Brouwer, 1979.

  4. OrthodoxChick says:

    AAAHHHH! I can’t speak French!! Isn’t there some way to translate this prayer into English, even if it doesn’t rhyme or the stanzas don’t flow?

  5. OrthodoxChick says:

    AAAHHHH! I can’t speak French!! Isn’t there some way to translate this prayer into English, even if it doesn’t rhyme or the stanzas don’t flow?

  6. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    “OrthodoxChick”,

    It’s a beautiful poem. I do read and speak French, so I’ll try to translate it well and send it along. Where should I send it, so we don’t clutter the combox?

    God bless,

    Chris Garton-Zavesky
    (stisidore@prolifeamerica.com)

  7. Marinco says:

    I pray to my guardian angel and the guardian angles of my children and grandchildren in the name of Jesus most mornings.

    I found this prayer from St. Therese of Lisieux:

    To My Angel Guardian

    O glorious guardian of my frame!
    In heaven’s high courts thou shinest bright,
    As some most pure and holy flame,
    Before the Lord of endless light.
    Yet for my sake thou com’st to earth,
    To be my brother, Angel dear;
    My friend and keeper from my birth,
    By day and night to me most near.

    Knowing how weak a child am I,
    By thy strong hand thou guidest me;
    The stones that in my pathway lie,
    I see thee move them carefully.
    Ever thy heavenly tones invite
    My soul to look to God alone;
    And ever grows thy face more bright,
    When I more meek and kind have grown.

    O thou who speedest through all space
    More swiftly than the lightnings fly!
    Go very often, in my place,
    To those I love most tenderly.
    With thy soft touch, oh! dry their tears;
    Tell them the cross is sweet to bear;
    Speak my name softly in their ears,
    And Jesu’s name, supremely fair.

    Through all my life, though brief it be,
    I fain would succor souls from sin.
    Dear Angel, sent from heaven to me,
    Kindle thy zeal my heart within!
    Naught but my holy poverty,
    And daily cross to give have I;
    O Join them to thine ecstasy,
    And offer them to God on high.

    Thine are heaven’s glory and delight,
    The riches of the King of kings;
    The Host in our ciboriums bright
    Is mine, and all the wealth pain brings.
    So with the Cross, and with the Host,
    And with thine aid, dear Angel Friend,
    I wait in peace, on time’s dark coast,
    Heaven’s happiness that knows no end.

    February, 1897

    - See more at: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?p=2169#sthash.gac3RY2B.dpuf

  8. Priam1184 says:

    Thank you StWinefride. Ces beaux anges qui nous protegent sont toujours la; il ne faut jamais les oublier.

  9. StJude says:

    I ask my guardian angel for protection all the time. There have been numerous times where I was delayed somewhere only to discover had I not been delayed I would have been somewhere when an accident happened.

  10. Sword40 says:

    I pray to my Guardian Angel every day. Which reminds me of a question I have; some recommend naming your Angel, others say its forbidden. Dr. Taylor Marshall’s blog says the latter. My priest says, its OK. What is your take on this subject?

  11. Bob B. says:

    “Angel of God, my guardian dear…” said this with all of my four children, now with my granddaughter. The Catholic school she attends gave the Transitional Kindergarten classes today an angel pin, blessed by one of the priests – nice ceremony.
    I always taught my Catholic school students the nine choirs of angels, which they were quizzed on throughout the year – we always had interesting conversations about angels in general and their guardian angel in particular.

  12. americangirl says:

    I pray everyday to my Guardian Angel and offer three Gloria in his honor. I ask him for assistance everyday. I send him to talk to other people’s Guardian Angels I send him to keep Jesus company in the Blessed Sacrament. I am certain he has watches over me ! Just last night ( 4:00 a.m.) I was awoken from a dead sleep to see a light shining in my room when I investigated someone was outside of my house looking through the window of my car. I scared them away. I was sure it was my Guardian Angel who woke me. Consecrate yourself to you Guardian Angel. http://www.opusangelorum.org/English/Consecration.html

  13. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    Thank you Fr. Z.

    This brings up very fond memories of Sr. Juventia in grade school, drilling us on our guardian angels. I can still picture her now at her blackboard: a ball of energy in full habit. The dedication and relentlessness with which she went about molding our little minds can only be described as “fierce”. They were a breed apart, those women. It saddens me deeply that they are mostly gone today. Pray for vocations!

    My Guardian Angel… how are you my old friend? It’s time we had long chat, you and I… it’s been way too long…

  14. StWinefride says:

    Chris Garton-Zavesky, if you do manage to translate St Thérèse’s poem I would be interested in seeing it too. I used to do many French-English translations but this poem is one that I feel is almost impossible to translate well. The version @Marinco posted illustrates this – to me so much is lost in translation!

  15. rbbadger says:

    I am a teacher. I not only ask my Guardian Angel’s help before entering the classroom, but I sometimes silently ask the help of the Guardian Angels of particular students. I’ve found that to be a huge help.

  16. JohnE says:

    Do non-Christians have a guardian angel as well?

  17. OrthodoxChick says:

    Chris Garton-Zavesky ,

    Just sent you an email to the address you provided above. Thank you for offering to translate it!

  18. Kent Wendler says:

    I can remember more than one incident in which the guardians of my family *may* have physically intervened to preserve us from harm.

    Also, I have confidence that each and every one of our guardians is vastly more effective in protecting each of us individually than, say, legions of Secret Service personnel is in guarding the POTUS. If they do permit apparent harm to be done, then it in some way is for our greater benefit. If death is allowed, then it is only through (at worst) the permissive Will of God, calling us out of mortal life, and for Whom there are no accidents.

  19. philologus says:

    panem Angelórum manducávit homo (Ps. 77:25)

  20. Tom in NY says:

    “Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, who were first called to contemplate the face of God in his splendor, were then sent by the Lord to mankind, so that by their invisible and loving presence they may aid and advise mankind.”
    Cf, Is. vi, Apoc. viii in “ad contemplandam faciem Dei”
    Salutationes omnibus.

  21. Sandy says:

    I LOVE the angels!!! A day does not go by that I don’t call on them, the major archangels we know about also – Michael for binding evil, Raphael for healing, and Gabriel for strength. St. Padre Pio told us to send our guardian angels to someone else’s angel to help the other person or for other reasons. I did that when my children were young one time, asking my angel to speak to my little son’s angel, reminding him to be well behaved in class. My little one brought home a good behavior award, after having had a slight problem previously! Angels are awesome!

  22. The Sicilian Woman says:

    I’ve always believed in angels, but not a “guardian” angel assigned specifically to me. I’ve never prayed to one, instead always praying to God or asking a saint for intercession instead. Ironically, a liberal “Catholic” friend and I were discussing guardian angels within the last couple of weeks; she totally believes she has one, and was shocked that I didn’t believe I did.
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Ouch! Something just smacked me in the head!

  23. VexillaRegis says:

    The Sicilian Woman: How are things going for you?
    (Quick question, not meant to derail the thread, Fr. Z.)

  24. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    Anitphons, Hymn, and Prayer from today’s Vespers (1960 rubrics)

    God hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways…

    Let us praise the Lord, Whom the Angels do praise, unto Whom Cherubim and Seraphim do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy…

    In heaven their Angels do always behold the face of My Father, Which is in heaven…

    Praise ye God, all His Angels Praise ye Him, all His hosts…

    Blessed be God, Who sent His Angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him…

    Chapter Hymn Verse {from the Proper of Saints}
    Exod. 23:20-21
    Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice
    R. Thanks be to God.

    Hymnus
    Angel-guardians of men, spirits and powers we sing,
    Whom our Father hath sent, aids to our weakly frame,
    Heavenly friends and guides, help from on high to bring,
    Lest we fail through the foeman’s wile.

    He, the spoiler of souls, angel-traitor of old,
    Cast in merited wrath out of his honoured place,
    Burns with envy and hate, seeking their souls to gain
    Whom God’s mercy invites to heaven.

    Therefore come to our help, watchful ward of our lives:
    Turn aside from the land God to thy care confides
    Sickness and woe of soul, yea, and what else of ill
    Peace of heart to its folk denies.

    Now to the Holy Three praise evermore resound:
    Under whose hand divine resteth the triple world
    Governed in wondrous wise: glory be theirs and might
    While the ages unending run.
    Amen.

    V. Before the Angels will I sing praise unto thee, O my God.
    R. I will worship toward thy holy Temple, and praise thy Name

    Prayer {from the Proper of Saints}
    V. The Lord be with you.
    R. And with thy spirit.
    Let us pray
    O God, Who in thine unspeakable Providence hast been pleased to give thine holy Angels charge over us, to keep us, mercifully grant unto our prayers, that we be both ever fenced by their wardship here, and everlastingly blessed by their fellowship hereafter.

  25. Bob the Ape says:

    JohnE says:

    Do non-Christians have a guardian angel as well?

    Yes.

  26. Kathleen10 says:

    What a good reminder, and what lovely poems, memories, and comments! I so enjoyed them, even in French which I do not read.
    One visual portrayal of angels I do really love is called “The Watcher in the Night” by artist Thomas Blackshear.
    The child in that image is surely safe.

  27. Jim McCrea says:

    Each angel is its own species because it does not have matter.
    It has no physical shape, size, form or location in space – it is pure species without those things.
    Such a concept cannot at all fit into an imaginative form and is difficult to conceptualize.
    In this life we have no notion of the nature of those species and what they are, just like a person who never saw in his life would have no notion of color.
    An angel is one of those principles that the mind is incapable of understanding in this life – it is mystery in the strict sense.

  28. kelleyb says:

    I love my Guardian, as I call her, comes to my aid when asked. I know she has kept me out of a few bad situations. I am deeply touched when she does. When I was very young I learned this prayer with my personal twist.
    Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to LIKE and to guard, to rule and to guide. Amen. I was almost a grandmother before I realized it was written to say to light and to guard. I guess it made sense to a little girl to ask her guardian to like her if the angel had to be around all the time. :-) Thank you Guardian.

  29. The Sicilian Woman says:

    VexillaRegis, thank you for asking! Answer is in the prayer request thread.

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