Be At My Side
In a beautiful act of love, God gave us the gift of everlasting protection when he gave us our guardian angel. They are a powerful resource in our lives – willing and ready to aid us on our journey to Heaven.
I have always been amazed at the heroics that our guardian angels get up to down here on Earth. News videos titled, “Angel saves man from certain death,” or “Angel saves child from tragic car accident” remind me of their intercessory power. A personal favorite story comes from the book Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart. The testimony follows Eldon Dahl, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force who was shot down over Italy. Captured by Italians when he landed, he spent time in two prisons before managing to escape with a group of Allied prisoners in the mountainous area north of Rome. Soon, he found himself separated from the others, and wandered alone through the villages. In the midst of his journey he stumbled upon two women outside, preparing food near a farmstead. In the hopes that they would feed him, he ventured towards them, only to be stopped abruptly by a little girl in a white dress. Putting her finger to her lips, she motioned for him to follow her and stand behind the nearby bushes. As they hid themselves, two German soldiers appeared and began talking to the women. Realizing she had just saved him from being recaptured, Eldon turned to thank the little girl – but she was gone. For two months Eldon traveled alone over two hundred miles on foot before his final breakthrough of the turbulent front lines to return to the American zone near Cassino on November 13, 1943. Two weeks later he returned to the United States.
It is instances like Eldon’s that remind us that God granted us guardian angels to watch over us and intercede on his behalf. Like a personal, Heavenly security guard, our guardian angels protect us from the evils that prowl this word. If we could see this protection provided by our guardian angels in the spiritual battles going on behind the scenes for our souls, we would have much more appreciation for them. We read in chapters one and two of the book of Job that God and Satan fought over the righteousness of Job. His life was directly influenced by the ebb and flow of the battle happening behind the scenes. Although we cannot see the fight, our lives are directly influenced by this battle too: we are in a constant spiritual struggle with Satan. Some demons are sent to directly attack us individually, others are designed to destroy nations. Regardless of the task, our guardian angels are always on duty and ready to help. Gifted to us at birth by God, they are our protectors in times of trouble, guiding us on the road to salvation while we are here on Earth.
Saint Padre specifically had an intimate relationship with the angels. He understood their powers in a way that many of do not. Often times he would remind those around him to have faith in them in their times of need, saying,
“Remember that God is inside of us when we are in the state of His grace, and outside of us when we are in grievous sin. But His angel never abandons us. He is our most sincere and trusted friend even when, through our fault, we sadden him with our bad behavior.”
It is a great consolation that the protection provided by our guardian angels is not contingent on the way in which we behave. Even when we stray from God, our angel will never leave us. However, they will travel for us. We have the ability to send our guardian angels where we cannot go ourselves. For example, they can attend Holy Mass during our time in quarantine or be with our friends when they are struggling and we cannot be physically present with them. In the face of suffering and isolation, our guardian angels can break the boundaries of distance and sickness, bringing our presence and comfort where it is needed.
Padre Pio was not the first to encourage sending angels in a time of need. This suggestion imitated that of our Heavenly Father, who sent angels long before and after Padre Pio lived. For example, we read in scripture that while in the Garden of Gethsemane, alone and in great agony, “there appeared to him [Jesus] an angel from Heave, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43) In a state of total despair, God the Father sent an angel to Jesus to strengthen him. In the words of Padre Pio,
“I think that the angel bowed low before the Eternal Beauty, sullied with dust and blood, and that with unutterable respect he entreated Jesus to drink the cup to the glory of God the Father and for the redemption of sinners.”
Likewise, we too can send our angels to those who are alone, abandoned, or suffering. In times of need, we are not helpless, for our guardian angels are at the ready – waiting to give the supernatural assistance that Heaven alone can provide. This is a powerful realization, affirmed in the book of Psalms,
“For he will give his angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” (Psalms 9:11-12)
In a beautiful act of love, God gave us the gift of everlasting protection when he gave us our guardian angel. They are a powerful resource in our lives – willing and ready to aid us on our journey to Heaven. I encourage you to call on them, to pray to them, and to imagine them present at your side. In the words of Padre Pio, get to know your, “most sincere and trusted friend.”
Prayer to your Guardian Angel
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love
entrusts me here,
ever this day,
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.