Yesterday we celebrated the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced the Incarnation. This scene is one of a few in the Bible where angels appear and play a role in salvation history, but the reality is that angels play a role in our lives every day, we just don’t always recognize it.
“Angels are messengers and servants of God,” Mladinich explained. “They belong to God. But the Catechism tells us that they are also unique, individual, personal beings with intellect and will. They are completely free to accept or reject God themselves. Because they live outside of time they all kind of collectively made that decision at the moment of their creation.”
And while angels usually don’t appear to us in dramatic fashion, each of us has an angel who is always by our side.
“Our guardian angels are appointed to us,” Mladinich explained. “These pure and holy spiritual beings who are also mighty warriors. They walk with us from the moment of birth until we enter heaven. So I’m quite honored by that.”
“We should pray to our guardian angels every day,” she said. “They can help us with everything, they can jog your memory on an exam, they can help you find the courage to speak to someone, and we can use them as emissaries and sort of almost like diplomacy helpers. If you’re having a conflict with someone ask your guardian angel and the guardian angel of the other person to help you come together to find that unity that we need.”
And while we each have a guardian angel, Mladinich emphasized that they do not belong to us, and our relationship with them should reflect that.
“It should be one of respect and honor,” she said. “Our guardian angels are not our pets. There’s a practice that has popped up, that the Church has tried to discourage, which is naming our guardian angels as if they are our buddies. The thing is that in our sacred history of the Church naming is sacred. And the naming of the angels, because they belong to God, belongs to God as well.”
Another common misconception that Mladinich addressed was the concept of referring to people who have died as angels.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about that, and kind of an appropriation of angels,” she said. “I’ve heard people often say, ‘My loved one who died, he’s now is an angel in heaven.’ And they’ll tell their children these things. Angels and our human souls are very different. We are a unity of body and soul, and eventually those of us who have really accepted the mercy of God will be reunited with our glorified bodies, but we will not be angels. Angels are completely distinct.”
If it’s been awhile since you’ve talked to your guardian angel, here is the traditional guardian angel prayer that you can pray right now:
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.
Listen to the full conversation with Lisa Mladinich below: