Dear Father Kerper: A friend of mine, who is a very devout Catholic,always talks about her so-called Guardian Angel. I heard about these angels when I was a child. Now that I’m an adult I regard them as legends or myths made up to make children feel safe. Are Guardian Angels real? Is there anything in the Bible about them?
As we grow into adulthood and become more sophisticated, we tend to dismiss some religious beliefs we learned as children. Guardian Angels fall into this category of “childish beliefs” that seem nice but also far-fetched. Rather than tossing them out completely, I suggest that you consider a deeper and more mature interpretation of what Guardian Angels really are.
Let’s begin with their existence. The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly affirms their reality. It repeats the words of Saint Basil the Great: “Beside each believer stands an angel protector and shepherd leading him to life” (no. 336). The Catechism uses this brief text to show that belief in Guardian Angels is both ancient (Saint Basil lived in the fourth century) and espoused by a highly reputable and holy theologian (Saint Basil is called “the Great” precisely because his works are considered of the highest quality).
More important, of course, is the biblical background. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus once gathered children to Himself and said, “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matt. 18:10–11). In the Old Testament, the book of Tobit has a scene in which Tobit spoke of the “guardian angel” of his son Tobias. The old man said: “For a good angel will accompany him; his journey will be successful, and he will come back in good health” (Tob. 5:22). ….
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