Catechism & Compendium
Popes on the Angels
Popular Piety Directory
FAQ on the Angels
The Work of the Holy Angels is not meant to be merely an abstract study of the angels, but an intimate collaboration with the holy angels as we live out in daily life our vocation and mission in the Church. For this reason, we want to provide our readers with some real life experiences of the help and intervention of the holy angels in the lives of OA members and of others. Although we should never seek out or pray for supernatural experiences, these testimonies can help to strengthen our faith in the hidden presence and powerful influence of the holy angels on our daily lives. We need only to call upon them more frequently and with greater faith. If you have any inspiring Guardian Angel story to share, please email contact@opusangelorum@org.
...a blessing from heaven
I live alone in a very old house, a home that was built around 1948. One night I went to bed and closed my bedroom door. I awoke around 3 am with a need to use the restroom. I got up and went to the door, reached for the door knob to open the door and to my surprise the door knob just spun around like in a circle and the door did not open. I tried to open the door several times and each time the door knob, just spun around. It certainly was not working
I felt some panic! What can I do? These were my thoughts. I could open the window, crawl out that way, but then I would be locked out of my home! No! I can’t do that. Next I thought I can call my daughter, but NO she and her family live 30 miles away and it’s 3 A.M. I asked again. What can I do? I sat and I prayed: “Please help me.” I believe I asked this a few times.
I got up and went over to the door again and I turned the door knob again. It hadn’t changed….it spun around, BUT something did happen… on the other side of the door, I heard a click! And the door opened! “Thank God” I said.
I walked into the restroom and when I returned to my bedroom, I did not close the door again, but I continued my thanksgiving prayer since I realized that I did not open the door. The click sound clearly came from the other side of the door and I knew that it was my Guardian Angel!
I shared this story with my pastor one time and he asked me: “What do you think happened?” I told him I think that the Holy Spirit gave a nod to my Guardian Angel as if to say “it’s ok, go ahead” and the door opened with the click from the hallway. What a blessing!
I will always remember that night as a blessing from heaven.
...I reconnected with the Angels and my holy mission
I was going through a very difficult time in November of 2021. Yet, there was a nudge and a calling deep within my heart, and the message was for me to begin attending daily Mass.
One day, when attending Holy Mass, the Gospel reading was the Annunciation. When the priest read the words, “The angel Gabriel was sent from God…”, my heart fluttered and I felt an overwhelming sense of love and tranquility. Gabriella is the name that I was consecrated to in the Sacrament of Confirmation. At the moment the name Gabriel was read, I reconnected with the Angels and my holy mission. I began researching everything that I could find about Guardian Angels and soon I began to experience how my Guardian Angel is a constant presence and guiding light in my life.
My father passed away when I was very young; he was a wonderful and loving father. I went to bring flowers to him at the cemetery on the 21st anniversary of his passing, January 10, 2022. As I approached his headstone, which is located in the Stella Maris section of the cemetery, I thought to myself: “My entire life I have passed by the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris) Church in San Francisco. Even though it is not my parish, I would very much like to attend Mass there one day. The church is so beautiful from the outside, surely it must be very beautiful inside.”
That evening I went online and searched “Star of the Sea Church San Francisco Mass times.” Before I even got to the Mass schedule section on the page, I landed on an entire section about the Opus Sanctorum Angelorum Consecration to the Guardian Angel! I had missed the deadline for the Star of the Sea parish consecration program, but found that I could still order the formation book and complete the program on my own. I immediately ordered the formation material on the Opus Angelorum website.
These series of events can only be explained through the divine intervention of my holy Guardian Angel. I thank God that my heart was not completely hardened by life’s trials, and was still receptive just enough to heed the gentle whisper and guidance of my Angel.
This is the reason, I would like to enter into the formation year towards the Consecration to the Guardian Angel. My beautiful Guardian Angel saved me! He led me out of darkness into the Divine Light and Grace of God. It is my most holy duty—it is our most holy duty—my beautiful Guardian Angel and I, to be a unified force of Light and Love in this world.
Our beloved and gracious Lord has gifted us Guardian Angels and free-will. My heart is filled with gratitude for the presence of my Holy Angel Companion guiding me to choose day-by-day, breath-by-breath, to love, to be a light, to have faith and to battle darkness for the greater glory of God and for our own salvation.
...my Angel came to me to give me a sign of HOPE
My husband and I were going through a very rough period in our marriage. I was feeling pretty hopeless, unloved, disrespected and un-listened to. Before he had agreed to couples counseling, I considered leaving him, as it was hard to see how we could save the marriage at this impasse. One evening while praying in bed, crying and feeling like I was literally in a “dark night of the soul”, I looked up through my heavy tears and saw a bright light in the corner of the room near my side of the bed. I immediately felt at peace and knew very deep in my soul, I would be okay and in time, with TRUST in God, our marriage would be okay.
I believe my Angel came to me to give me a sign of HOPE when I was in such a dark place. I woke up that morning with a renewed sense of Hope and Trust even though things were far from perfect in the household. Many years later—and finally getting some couples therapies—I am happy to share that our communication has greatly improved; we are totally committed to staying together and our love has been renewed. This October 12th we will celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary! If I had not received that sign, I am not sure what I had done… But since my Angel came to me with a sign, my hope and trust were strengthened so that I had the courage to persevere in this trial knowing things would eventually be okay. I pray now that our Lord may continue to bless our marriage as my husband slowly returns to practicing his faith! May the Angels guide our path to Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!!
...my story about my Guardian Angel
While on my way to a baby shower, I started praying because my car lease was extended due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I was leasing a Mazda Miata, which was very small and had no backseat. My prayer asked for guidance on whether I should buy out my car. When I leased it, I became extremely ill, which kept me restricted to my bed. As I recovered, COVID hit and I was still at home. Therefore, I had very few miles racking up.
I began praying aloud to God for advice. I asked if I should purchase and then sell the car to make some money, however, I added “But Lord, I know the car isn’t safe because it is so small.”
After I attended the baby shower, I began to drive home. During the drive, I noticed an Amazon truck making an illegal U-turn, so I crept along, driving only a few miles per hour while looking straight ahead. Suddenly, a male voice came from the passenger side and said “Relax your body,” and I did. Within a second, my car was hit by a large Jeep truck. It rear-ended me violently and my trunk collapsed. I could feel the bumper pressing up against my back.
Fast forward a week later, I went to the junkyard to pick up papers from my totaled car, where I was greeted by a big, burly tow truck driver who has seen it all. He asked me who was driving the car. I told him myself. He said he’s never seen anyone survive this. The accident that I was in is called a crusher.
I told the tow truck driver my story about my Guardian Angel that I am certain that it was his voice which said “Relax your body.” I told him that I did not expect him to believe me; however, it is my responsibility to tell my story. I felt his heart softening and he told me he believed me. He waved so softly as I drove away.
“I can see the angels! I'm coming!”
My mother died on December 3, 2020 from the Coronavirus. As I was going out the door to be with her during her final days, Mary Sue handed me the book of formation letters so I could begin my preparation for consecration to my Holy Guardian Angel. When I arrived in St. Louis my sister told me that she could “see” two angels at either the foot or head (I can’t recall now) of my mom’s bed in the hospital. By the grace of God, we were able to bring my mom home to care for her until she passed to her eternal reward. At one point we were praying and singing with her and she exclaimed, “I can see the angels! I’m coming!” Shortly after she took her last breath the CD player in the room turned on by itself and played the “Salve Regina” – maybe her Guardian Angel turned it on – a tribute to the Queen of Angels who helped us so much during those final days and to whom my mother was so devoted.
This time of preparation (towards the Consecration to the Guardian Angel) has been such a grace for me. As I grieve I find such comfort in knowing I have this wonderful heavenly companion at my side to walk with me through this.
Suddenly there was this Brilliant White Light
In February 2018, I was working on a movie … and on my last few days there, I received permission and access to enter and visit the prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison. On my day off, I was blessed with the privilege to see, talk and pray with the prisoners. It was a delightful and very rewarding experience for me. The faces of the inmates lit up with a radiance of hope, that they will soon know, through the mercy of God, of a better life.
That night, which was my final night working at this location with the rest of the movie crew, I went back to my hotel room as usual to go to sleep. Though later into that night (at around 3am on February 07, 2018) suddenly there was this brilliant white light that was coming into my room from my window. The light was so bright, that it was blinding, but it didn’t hurt my eyes. Initially, I was slightly afraid, for I had no idea what in the world was coming into my room! The light slowly and gently came closer to me and I began to feel so much peace and ease. I laid back (on my back, on the bed) because I saw that the light kept coming over me. Right then, I suddenly levitated from my bed. Slowly and gently, I was spun 360 degrees back to my original position and then lovingly placed back down onto my hotel mattress. That “light” then left my room, and I couldn’t believe what just happened.
After that incident, I couldn’t help but want to ask and seek for answers on my experience. Less than two weeks later, I was already given signs through our Beloved Jesus Christ that this was an Angelic experience.
Ever since that day, all I’ve ever done was go deeper with God in seeking His love, light and truth. I’ve grown exponentially in my faith and it hasn’t stopped. I continue to soak in and pray for as much Wisdom and Understanding as possible. This was truly a life changing experience. I have since consecrated my life to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary, through Father Saint Joseph and to Jesus through the Gospel of St. John and have become a Cooperator of Opus Dei. I Praise God for the Gift of my Guardian Angel and for all Holy Angels and the work they do that bring us closer to the King of Kings. In my present day, I am now consecrating myself to my Guardian Angel.
A Guardian Angel Experience
I would like to share a recent guardian angel experience that I had. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, CA, that happens to be very near the Port of Los Angeles. I work in a city nearby and I have to travel on the Los Angeles Freeways to and from work. My route home from work takes me on a stretch of freeway that is heavily travelled by huge Semi-trucks. For most of my travel home the trucks stay in the slower right lane. These trucks have numerous huge double-wheels that are located under the metal shipping containers that they are hauling. One thing that you will often see on the freeways are large pieces of rubber tread that come off of their worn tires. These treads often have zig-zag pieces of steel that has been embedded into the tire itself during manufacturing. I guess you would say that they are ‘steel belted’ tires that helps them to grip the road.
I was on my way home one evening and as usual I was almost to the off ramp that I needed to take to get home on a connecting freeway. All of a sudden, I see this car in front of me swerve as though they were trying to avoid something, we were both traveling at around 65 mph, but the car in front of me had ran over this huge piece of steel belted tire from off of one of the big rigs! I saw the piece fly up into the air and it was twisting as it came down and it was coming straight in the direction of my windshield. I knew that it was going to hit my windshield and there was nothing that I could do to prevent it. But, the most incredible thing happened. It seemed like everything went into slow motion, even though my car continued traveling at the same speed, the movements outside of my car were in slow motion.
I have no explanation as to how this happened, other than it was my Guardian Angel that was watching over me. Everything grew completely silent, I could no longer hear the radio. I just tried to prepare myself for the impact. But, all of a sudden this huge piece of tire seemed to stop in mid air and then it slowly fell straight down onto the freeway. I mean, it was as though it had hit this glass barrier and slid down it, until hitting the ground right in front of my car. But, yet my car didn’t roll over it the way the other car had. To this day I can’t explain what I saw and I can only say that it had to be my Guardian Angel who prevented this piece of tire from crashing into my windshield! I feel most certain that I would have died that day in a car accident. It was definitely divine intervention — my Guardian Angel.
A Guardian Angel Story
I come from a very rough childhood with much abuse. I met my wife when I was 18 years old. We dated for a year and a half. I learned all about her up-bringing etc. She came from a loving family; no divorces, no drugs, alcohol or violence, parental support and guidance etc., completely opposite of my up-bringing. We married after a year and a half of dating. About 5 years into our marriage, I slipped into anxiety attacks, depression, anger issues and drinking. We already had two small children at this point and all I could think of was, “I am going to destroy this family, like my parents did.” My wife is and was a born-again Christian, but never encountered ‘voices’ from God or angels, but she told me one day, at a point where our marriage was struggling (because of my inability to cope), that a very clear and audible voice told her while she was doing dishes in the kitchen of our home, “I am commanding you to love *** *** [my 1st and last name] and be obedient in this and you will be blessed.” She only told me about this, years later. This was the only time she has ever heard an audible voice from our God and Creator, whether it was God Himself or an angel. She literally endured and here we are having our 29th anniversary next month. She is my earthly angel and I thank God for her every, EVERY DAY.
Because of the Holy Guardian Angels
Before I entered religious life, I managed a convenience store not far from my sister’s house. Occasionally, I would spend the night there and help her as she has 7 children. I always slept downstairs on the couch but this particular night I felt that I should sleep upstairs in the girl’s bedroom. My nephew, Anthony, who was 2 at the time, wanted to sleep in the bunkbed with his 6-year-old sister.
During the night, all of a sudden I was awakened out of a deep sleep by my Holy Guardian Angel. He said “Look!” and there was my little nephew hanging from the safety slats of the bed, completely blue and choking to death. Somehow he had slipped in between the slats.
I was so afraid to lift him up, because I didn’t know if could slide back or if he was already dead. But I was able to lift him out and save his life. I continued to pray through the night. After quite some time I could see he was okay and then I could rest. Soon after I was able to talk with Fr. McGowan, who said to bring him for the consecration to the Guardian Angel as soon as possible. And today because of the Holy Guardian Angels, Anthony is now a faithful priest in the Lansing Diocese and I am a Sister of the Holy Cross.
~ Sr. Maria Gemma
Theresa, your Guardian Angel did a good job
Two years ago, my Dad and I were going for a walk in our neighborhood. While he was walking behind me, a speeding truck verged off the road and hit me. From behind, my Dad said that he saw me being whirled up in the air and then gently placed on the ground. I remember the first word that my Dad said when he saw me lying in front of the truck, “Theresa, your Guardian Angel did a good job.”
As I was lying there, my Mom prayed and started singing the Regina Caeli and asked me to join her while we waited for the ambulance. I never felt any pain until the ambulance arrived. I found out only later that the only injury I sustained was a broken femur. The policemen said they never saw an accident like this result in such a minor injury. It was usually a whole lot worse! They asked my Mom what church we went to and my Mom told them. My Mom was very calm and when I asked her if I would die, she said, “No, the Lord will take care of you, you will not die.”
I recovered from the injury and was back in school the following month. My Mom said that when we sing the Regina Caeli, the Blessed Mother comes down from heaven with the Holy Angels, that’s why I was saved. I want to share my story with you, so that you can share my story with other teenagers like me. It is very important to love and listen to our Guardian Angel. I am so grateful to God for my Guardian Angel. I was only saved from death because of him. That is why I am so happy that I am now finally consecrated to my Guardian Angel.
Theresa R. from Tacoma
Angels and God's Loving Providence
A few years ago, my God-child, a woman who came into the Church at around 60 years of age, called me and wanted to go to Easter Mass together. I picked her up at her home and after Mass, we went for a quick breakfast. I then asked her if she wanted to go for a walk, thinking it would do both of us good. She responded no. I asked again and she responded, no. So I dropped her at home and was depressed, because I was alone on a holiday and nobody seemed to want to do anything. But as I started driving home, I said to myself… I can do this myself and go for a moderate walk at Ridley Creek Park. After parking, I walked across a bridge and started walking up a paved inclined road through the park.
I noticed a young man and woman coming off the rarely-used left bank, which I thought was unusual. More surprisingly, I noticed the young woman had a very pure face and seemed to be radiating the virtue of purity. As she passed by she said, “Hello, sir.” Even though unusual, it kind of lifted my spirits. I continued on my walk. A few days later, I said to myself that that face looked familiar. So I paged through my Precious Blood book which I had often used in the adoration chapel and WOW, there on one page was a detailed illustration of two pairs of angels on either side of the monstrance, in adoration of Jesus. The angel on the right at the top was the face of the person I saw in the park 3 days earlier, Easter Sunday after Mass.
One need not doubt that there was a human couple walking through the park, nor do I doubt that God through a singular angelic grace – working through that young lady – touched my soul that Easter Morning with the joy of the Resurrection. All I could say was thank you Lord and Blessed Mother… Thank you for having compassion on me that day in the park when I was lonely and depressed. Now I truly know how much heaven loves us, watches us, listens and acts to console and protect us in times of distress and loneliness and special need.
Praise God, Rick B.
A Guardian Angel Story
My Guardian Angel saved my life when I was 13. I was caught in an undertow at Virginia Beach and lost my inner tube. I was pulled far from the shore and the only swim stroke I knew was the dog paddle. I was afraid of dying alone. We hadn’t gone to Holy Mass in a long time. My Dad was deployed overseas and Mom didn’t drive. But I made a deal with God that if He saved me, I would find a way to go to Mass for the rest of my life. As soon as that prayer went up I was surrounded by Angels. I didn’t see them, but their high pitched voices sounded like children speaking directly to my mind and bypassing my ears. They spoke reassuring, encouraging words. I was no longer afraid as they remained with me.
A helicopter hovered over me briefly and then flew away. I don’t know why they didn’t attempt a rescue. I was so far from the beach the people looked like bugs!
Meanwhile, my grandfather and 8-year-old brother were searching for me as it was lunchtime. My brother noticed the helicopter and my head in the water just below. He said, “Look, Papa! There’s Joan. Could I have her hot dog?” Papa sent a young man out to get me. As he approached, I heard him through my ears calling out the same encouragement the Angels had used. The Angels then vanished. Later I was able to arrange rides to Mass for my brothers and myself with a neighbor. Now I also go to daily Mass.
St. Michael Story
I wanted to share with you an Angel experience of my son, Joel.
When he was a toddler and not yet speaking, we moved to a new apartment. He would get up each night at about 2 or 3 am by himself and sit in a corner. We were very scared, and when we would see him go by, we would get up and bring him back to his bed.
This went on for months and was very creepy. Then one night I saw him walk by, but I was too sleepy to get him. I thought I saw a very tall person dressed in white walk him back to his room (that was next to ours), but I did not give much mind to it.
After that night, he never got up in the middle of the night by himself. A year transpired, and he could now speak. One day when I was in front of the computer there was a picture of Saint Michael on the screen, he told me “That’s Michael”. And I asked him how did he know. And he said that one night Michael took him to his bed and tucked him in. I asked him if Michael said anything to him, and he responded “He said that I was a good boy”
Prayer is a powerful thing...
For months, my 4-year-old great-niece, Ellie, was having nightmares. Night after night, she would wake up screaming and crying. My niece, Debbie, said it was like having a newborn again. Debbie (and Ellie) were getting rundown and she was ready to take her to the doctor. You see, when Ellie was 2 years old, she contracted a viral infection and nearly died. She remained in the hospital for months and was intubated for quite some time, which was terrifying for us all.
One night, as Debbie tucked Ellie into bed, she told her to ask God for help. She said, “When I go downstairs, ask God all by yourself to send His Guardian Angel to stay with you tonight and keep all of the bad thoughts and bad dreams away.” Debbie heard her praying while she was tucking in the boys in the adjoining room. She prayed fervently for Ellie that night.
The next morning, Debbie woke up and ran upstairs in a panic because it was the first time in months that Ellie had not woken up crying in the middle of the night. There she was, sleeping soundly and snoring away!
Two weeks later and Ellie still had not had a nightmare! Every night, she asks God and His Angel for protection. When Debbie asked Ellie why she thinks the nightmares stopped, she said, “I believed God would help and I knew God would help and He did, because He loves me.”
Debbie cried in bed that night. The next day, she told Ellie that God does not always answer every prayer because it might not be what He has planned, but when she is scared or needs help, God will always listen and be there to help. Prayer is a powerful thing and this 4-year-old girl gets it. God and His Guardian Angel showed her that she is loved and important.
I felt assured by my Guardian Angel that it would be okay
As a result of chemo therapy for stage four cancer, I had an ICV filter put in because of blood clots. It should have been removed seven years ago. The vascular surgeon said it was a surgeon’s worst nightmare, because it had come undone and they probably would not be able to remove it, but they would try. If not, I would have to be sent to UCLA for extensive surgeries.
I started praying and asking for prayer from everyone, received the anointing of the sick and asked my Guardian Angel for help. At the time of surgery, I again prayed the “Sanctus” (the Angel’s Holy, Holy, Holy prayer of the Mass) and my Guardian Angel prayer. I felt assured by my Guardian Angel that it would be okay and all would go well.
The doctor explained how the procedure would go, and that, if successful, at one point I would feel the ICV filter being pulled up through my chest and out my neck. I told the surgeon it would not be “if” but “when”. He looked at me and laughed.
The surgery team were two brothers, both vascular surgeons and brilliant. When I felt the ICV filter coming up, I called upon my Guardian Angel and felt as if he had surrounded it. The next thing I knew, the doctors said it was OUT! Thank you, JESUS, through my Guardian Angel!.
I knew the voice was my guardian angel
It was the day that Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005. I was a student in Rome. My friends and I were in the Piazza San Pietro in the morning in time for the ballot, and black smoke came out of the chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel. It meant that the Pope had not been elected yet. There were rumours that a second election would be taken by the Cardinals in the afternoon, but that was just a rumour. Since I was feeling sick with a slight fever, I decided to go back to the apartment and rest, thinking that the election in the afternoon would also end up with black smoke.
I left Piazza San Pietro leaving for the apartment, I went straight to my room, wanting to take a nap. As I lay down in bed, I “heard” this voice, or it was more like an interior voice. I can’t really describe it. It’s not like I heard it with my ears, it was almost like I understood it as one would understand a thought. It said: “Go to Piazza San Pietro.” My response: “But I just came from there, I am sick. I am taking a nap.” It insisted: “Go to Piazza San Pietro NOW.” My response again was: “No, I am taking a nap.” A third time it reiterated much more gravely, “GO…TO….PIAZZA….SAN…PIETRO….NOW!”
My response: “Ok.Ok. I will go.” So I got up, left the apartment, and waited for the Bus to San Pietro. In that crowd of thousands, I ran into a friend of mine who told me a ballot was just taken by the Cardinals. In about 20 to 30 minutes, smoke came out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, it was grey. But somehow, interiorly, I knew they had already chosen a Pope. Everyone around me thought it would turn to black smoke again, but I told my friend to run with me to the front of the crowd, closest to the balcony of the Basilica where the Pope was to be presented. We did so, and just as the smoke was turning white, a whole mass of people crashed behind us, but we were able to be near where the Pope was to be presented. In an hour or so, Benedict XVI was on that balcony. That’s when I knew the “voice” was my guardian angel.
I thank my Guardian Angel for getting me out of bed and for prompting me to turn around and take the time to help someone
I wanted to share an Angel story with you. Recently, I was contacted by the person responsible for the Perpetual Adoration chapel at our parish. I told her I could make the 5 am holy hour on Tuesdays. One day, I was extremely tired, but my angel woke me up promptly at 4:30 am. I reluctantly got in the car and made my way to the chapel. When I arrived, there was a man in the chapel who made me very uncomfortable. So eventually, I went to the main church to finish my holy hour and then attended the 6 am Mass. As I left, I said to myself, I cannot do this anymore. My devotion was poor, I thought, and of no merit!
As I drove home, I was contemplating calling the lady back and telling her I could not take this hour. At the same time, I noticed I was making all the lights, so I would get home much earlier than usual. (I think this was part of God’s providence, because timing was crucial on this morning!) Just before I reached my house, I noticed a woman lying on the ground in the parking lot of the Baptist Church. Beside her was a bicycle on the ground. At first I thought she must have been doing some stretches. After having driven by and thinking about it some more, I thought it strange, so I went back to check on her. As I approached the church again, I now saw two men kneeling beside her. I pulled in, jumped out and ran towards them. I told them I was not a nurse, but was willing to help. Apparently, neither of the men were in the medical field either. One was on the phone with 911. I knelt down beside him and he handed me the phone.
The woman was having a seizure and foaming at the mouth. She was not breathing and her body was growing cold and stiff. I told the operator, and she asked me if I had ever done CPR. I told her no. She said she would tell me what to do and I was just to do it. I listened carefully to her instructions. We laid her on her back and the man held her neck, while I began pushing on her chest. She was still not breathing. Finally he put his hands by mine, I removed my hands and he pushed very hard. On the third attempt, she exhaled and opened her eyes. The first thing I could say was, “Thank God you’re alive!” She could not speak, but continued breathing. It was still several minutes before the ambulance arrived. When I returned home, I was quite shaken. But my husband wisely brought to my attention, if I had not taken that holy hour, I would not have been there to help save that young woman’s life. Seeing her exhale and open her eyes is a sight I will never forget; it reminded me of seeing my children for the first time at birth. Praise God! Now even if I do not think my devotions merit any grace, I will be faithful to my holy hour. I thank my Guardian Angel for getting me out of bed and for prompting me to turn around and take the time to help someone.
Portal of Heaven… our Holy Mother the Catholic Church, with the escorting of my Guardian Angel!
Years ago I had asked Jesus to help me love Him passionately, because I didn’t want to see Him face to face, after passing from this earth, until I did love Him passionately. I was not living inside of the Catholic Church’s life giving Sacramental graces at that time. I had left it due to discouragement with changes that had taken place in the church, etc. This is where I was when I had prayed that prayer.
Months later, I began desiring to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, to give honor and placement to Mother Mary again in my life, enjoy the Communion of the Saints, and receive the other Sacraments and sacramental graces that I had abandoned years before. I finally yielded to the Holy Spirits promptings and reentered ‘the fullness of life’ in our Holy Mother Catholic Church. After I did, I began seeing one miraculous working of God after another, in my life. The most beautiful insight God gave me, in answer to my prayer to love Jesus passionately, was that He wasn’t requiring ‘me to do’ extra things in order to love Him more…instead I saw how God was opening me to receiving ‘more of Himself’, which caused me to automatically love Him more.
So many new and rich graces are mine through the devoted life I now live in Him through daily Mass and reception of Jesus in Holy Communion…Mother Mary has been restored to me as my Heavenly Mother, who is ever with me, guiding me as she did Jesus, and leading me constantly to Jesus her beloved Son…the Saints are with me encouraging me on by their lives’ examples and intercession…the holy gift of Reconciliation that restores me to a deeper love of God and mankind, and graces me to cooperate, willingly, with the Holy Spirit… I have better understanding about, and appreciation for my Guardian Angel and enjoying the protecting and guiding benefits God has given us through His Holy Angels…the devotions such as daily Rosary, Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross, etc. all strengthen me as I journey in this mortal life. All of this causes me to grow in my love for Jesus, because ‘He’ has filled me with more of His love! “It is not I who live, but Christ lives in me…”, as St. Paul said in Galatians 2:20. Jesus is my enabler in all things, for He has literally brought me to the ‘portal of Heaven’…our Holy Mother the Catholic Church, with the escorting of my Guardian Angel!
Look in your rearview mirror
In the early 1990’s my husband and I and our 7 children moved into a rental home quite far from where we had lived before. One day 4 of the children and myself were returning from an outing in our family station wagon.
We were traveling over the 2 large hills back home. As we were streaming down the second hill I stopped at the bottom to make the necessary left turn towards home. Very quickly my Guardian Angel said “Look in your rearview mirror.” I immediately looked in the mirror and saw a truck barreling down the hill. My Guardian Angel then said “he’s not going to stop.” For one quick second I thought what do I do? Then I heard My Guardian Angel say “get over” so I wheeled the big station wagon quickly off to the side of road still not realizing the full impact of what was really happening. Then like a flash the truck flew right past us and the driver looked back through the window with a look of fear probably realizing that he had almost killed us. As I sat there for a moment to catch my breath, thanksgiving started flooding from my heart for the wonderful Guardian Angel God had given to me! It had all happened so fast. In just a matter of seconds I was given the 3 warnings and the truck came flying past us. But because of the warning of my Guardian Angel my children and I were safe and sound including my young son, who is now a priest, who was sitting in the back seat with no clue as to what had just occurred.
Many years ago when our children were young we had decided to take a summer vacation in Michigan. When we all arrived at the spacious hotel, Dad and all the boys were in one room and mom and all the girls were in another room. Very quickly My Holy Guardian Angel brought me to the big window that faced the back of the hotel. As I looked out there was only a parking lot and empty land. I then heard my Guardian Angel say “bless all you see before you” and I said “I am not a priest I have no power to bless” and he repeated again “bless all you see before you”.
Again I said “I have no power in my hands to do this” And then with a stern voice he repeated again “bless all you see before you” so this time without hesitation I made the sign of the cross over the parking lot and the open land. Around 2 or 3 am I was awaken but very groggy and I was taken to the window to see what looked like I man getting fishing equipment from what I had presumed was his truck. Being so tired I turned around and went back to bed. The next morning my children said the Police are in the parking lot. Many vehicles had been robbed last night. So I decided to call down to the front desk to tell them what I had witnessed during the night. The police took the information and within a few hours they were able to track the man to a place he had deep in the woods that was not visible from the parking lot. Everyone’s things were recovered and our vehicle was left completely untouched Thanks be to God and my Holy Guardian Angel.
“Out of sight is out of mind”
“Out of sight is out of mind” goes the saying. How often this is true with respect to our relationship with our Guardian Angel; we forget him because we do not see him. Guardian Angel stories serve as a tonic helping us cultivate a personal relationship with our Guardian Angel and bolster our confidence in him. Such stories do illustrate well how the Angels take interest in our personal lives and not infrequently do intervene tangibly in behalf of their wards.
Wrapped in Comforting Angel Wings
In 1982 my husband was offered a job in southern Idaho. For work related reasons he went ahead of me, by a couple of weeks. He took our 11 year old son with him. I was left alone with our 10 and 7 year old sons and our newborn baby daughter, whom I was nursing at that time. I had chosen to nurse ‘only’, with no other type of supplemental feeding. I was attending a support group, and my feedings were very successful, so I didn’t feel the need of any substitutes, since my mother’s milk was fully sufficient for her at that young of an age. Since she was still an infant, I fed her regularly during the night as well.
Once, during my husband’s absence, I woke from a very intense nightmare in the middle of the night. I was one of those people afraid of being left alone at night time. So, it took all the grace God could give me to strengthen me through the time that my husband and I were apart. This particular night I was going to need even more grace since I was in no condition to nurse our sweet baby, because I was still under the influence of the frightening dream. So, I began to earnestly implore God to help me and protect me so that I would be able to nurse our precious daughter. The baby began waking up and I knew I couldn’t wait for the intensity of the effects of the dream to wear off. Trusting God for what I needed in order to care for her, I lifted her from the bassinet beside our bed and held her in my arms. As I sat propped up in bed and drew her closer to me, I was amazed to see (not literally physically, but with what I call “my spiritual eyes”) a large Angel wing coming from the right, as if the Angel was positioned behind me and wrapping us up with its protective wings. Then another wing proceeded to do the same thing as it came from my left side. Both our precious baby and I were enveloped in God’s amazing protection by his Holy Angel, given to us as an answer to my outcry for help. I felt peace and was then able to successfully nurse our baby with confidence and calm.
Saved from Plane Crash
I grew up praying to my Guardian Angel every night and I never “outgrew” this important practice. For my own family, I faithfully beseech my children’s and my husband’s Guardian Angels every day by praying the Guardian Angel prayer one time for each of them, “Angel of God, [family member’s name] guardian dear…”, inserting the family member’s name where it fits. A recent family experience confirmed for me the importance of this practice.
My son celebrated a major college milestone by going skydiving for the first time with some friends. Despite the company having 20 years of safely helping people experience this sport, my motherly concerns were in high gear. We spoke to him while on the way to Mass – and just before he boarded the plane – and everyone prayed to his Guardian Angel at Mass for his safety. Independently of this, his brother was also praying at Mass almost 300 miles from our location. The priest gave an excellent homily about us not having any idea when God will call us home…and yes, our son called us after Mass and began with, “Mom, I’m calling before you see this on the news.”
All of his friends made their jump, with my son being the last one to leave the plane (in fact, he was the last jump of the day). He came safely to earth and then turned to see the plane suddenly point straight downward and nose dive straight into the earth. The young pilot tragically died on impact and we grieve for him and his family. An investigation determined that the engine failed right after my son jumped from the plane. At that point, the pilot lost control and crashed.
We believe God and our son’s Guardian Angel intervened in saving our son and his friends. Interestingly enough, our other son was in a motorcycle accident one week prior to this event and walked away with only minor injuries. I asked both of my sons to please let their guardian angels have some rest!
I am middle-aged, and believe I have experienced the protection of angels twice in my life.
The first time was approximately 10 years ago, when I was taking a walk through my neighborhood. I approached a creek at the edge of the neighborhood when three large stray dogs came up from the creek banks and began to head straight for me. They seemed menacing and began approaching me faster. I knew they would be close to me very soon, and I had no time to do anything but start saying a prayer to my guardian angel. As soon as I finished the prayer, all three dogs froze immediately, and all three dogs looked at the same point in the air about 5 feet above my right shoulder. Then, as if on cue, they all turned around at the same time, away from me, and went back to the creek area. The way they froze in unison, and the fact that they were all staring at something above me which I couldn’t see leads me to believe my Guardian Angel showed himself to the dogs to protect me.
Another time involved the protection of someone else. I was driving slowly through the parking lot of the local pharmacy, and became distracted when I was changing the radio station. When I looked up from the dial, I saw that two women were about to step in front of my car, and I realized I wouldn’t have time to stop without hitting one of them! (Although I was driving very slowly, my skin crawled because in an instant I realized I could still harm them as they were about to step in front of my car.) Just as I began braking (and praying to my Guardian Angel!), a gust of wind came. One of the women was wearing a straw hat, and the gust blew the straw hat off of her head. Both women spun around, turning away from my oncoming car. They were laughing and trying to catch the hat. The thing is…. it was a very still, stifling hot day in the middle of the summer, with no breeze to speak of (there hadn’t been one for days), much less a gust of wind. I believe, our angels were working together to prevent the women from being hurt (and maybe one of them inspired the woman to wear a hat that day).
One Hundred Year Angel of Fatima
The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Angel of Fatima to the three shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. The angel prepared the children for for the visit and messages of Our Lady of Fatima as well as for their own mission in the Church. The angel’s words and gestures—expressing a basic and at the same time most profound spirituality—are to be found in every true disciple of Jesus Christ and Mary! Following an excerpt from “FATIMA, IN LUCIA’S OWN WORDS.”
Apparitions of the Angel in 1916
Around this time, as I have already related to Your Excellency, Francisco and Jacinta sought and obtained permission from their parents to start taking care of their own flock. So I left my good companions, and joined my cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, instead. To avoid going to the serra with all the other shepherds, we arranged to pasture our flocks on properties belonging to my uncle and aunt and my parents.
One fine day, we set out with our sheep for some land that my parents owned, which lay at the foot of the eastern side of the slope of the hill that I have already mentioned. This property was called Chousa Velha. Soon after our arrival, about mid-morning, a fine drizzle began to fall, so fine that it seemed like mist. We went up the hillside, followed by our flocks, looking for an overhanging boulder where we could take shelter. Thus it was for the first time that we entered this blessed hollow among the rocks. It stood in the middle of an olive grove belonging to my god-father Anastacio. From there you could see the little village where I was born, my parents home, and the hamlets of Casa Velha and Eira da Pedra. The olive grove, owned by several people, extended to within the confines of the hamlets themselves.
We spent the day there, among the rocks, in spite of the fact that the rain was over and the sun was shining bright and clear. We ate our lunch and said our Rosary. I am not sure whether we said it that day, in the way I have already described it to Your Excellency, saying the word Hail Mary, and Our Father on each bead, so great was our eagerness to our play! Our prayer finished, we started to play Pebbles. We had enjoyed the game for a few moments only, when a strong wind began to shake the trees. We looked up startled, to see what was happening, for the day was unusually calm. Then we saw coming towards us, above the olive trees, the figure I have already spoken about. Jacinta and Francisco had never seen it before, nor had I ever mentioned it to them. As it drew closer, we were able to distinguish its features. It was a young man, about fourteen or fifteen years old, whiter than snow, transparent as crystal when the sun shines through it, and of great beauty. On reaching us, he said: “Do not be afraid! I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.”
Kneeling on the ground, he bowed down until his forehead touched the ground, and made us repeat these words three times: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” Then rising he said: “Pray thus. The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications.” His words engraved themselves so deeply on our minds that we could never forget them. From then on, we used to spend long periods of time, prostrate like the Angel, repeating his words, until sometime we fell exhausted. I warned my companions, right away, that this must be kept secret and, thank God, they did what I wanted.
Some time passed , and summer came, when we had to go home for the siesta. One day, we were playing on the stone slabs of the well at the bottom of the garden belonging to my parents, which we called the Arneiro ( I have already mentioned this well to Your Excellency in my account of Jacinta). Suddenly, we saw beside us the same figure, or rather, Angel, as it seemed to me. “What are you doing? he asked. “Pray, pray very much! The most Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you. Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the most High.” How are we to make sacrifices? I asked. “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country. I am its Guardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all, accept and bear with submission, the suffering which the Lord will send you.” A considerable time had elapsed, when one day we went to pasture our sheep on a property belonging to my parents, which lay on the slope of the hill, I have mentioned, a little higher up than Valinhos. It is an olive grove called Pregueira. After our lunch, we decided to go and pray in the hollow among the rocks on the opposite side of the hill. To get there we went around the slope, and had to climb over some rocks above Pregueira. The sheep could only scramble over these rocks with great difficulty.
As soon as we arrived there, we knelt down, with our foreheads touching the ground, and began to repeat the prayer of the Angel: “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You, I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.” I don’t know how many times we had repeated this prayer, when an extraordinary light shone upon us. We sprang up to see what was happening, and beheld the Angel. He was holding a Chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of Blood fell into the Chalice. Leaving the Chalice suspended in the air, the Angel knelt down beside us and made us repeat three times: “Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.” Then rising, he took the Chalice and the Host in his hands. He gave the Sacred Host to me, and shared the Blood from the Chalice between Jacinta and Francisco, saying as he did so: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” Once again, he prostrated on the ground and repeated with us, three times more, the same prayer…”Most Holy Trinity…”and then disappeared. We remained a long time in this position, repeating the same words over and over again. When at last we stood up, we noticed that it was already dark, and therefore time to return home.
An Angel is Passing by
I was having a conversation with my dad. It was about obtaining material wealth and working hard towards that goal. I tried to explain to him from stories in the Bible that the love of “gold” is not good. I gave the example of the time when the Israelites lost their focus on God and created their own god, Baal. This angered God. I also gave my dad the example of our Lord, Who was poor Himself.
Despite my best efforts of trying to convince my dad that material wealth is not the highest good to obtain, he kept insisting that maybe “God desires it”. I was saddened by this. Our conversation was going nowhere, and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable. So, I began to pray in my heart to my guardian angel that he may stop this fruitless conversation. In an instant there was SILENCE! After a few minutes of silence the conversation changed almost very naturally into other more helpful subjects. I knew in my heart that my Guardian Angel had achieved this change.
In the Philippines, there is a saying that when there is sudden silence in the middle of a conversation, and no one has more to say, that “an angel is passing by”. I know now from experience that that statement is true. I was in so much awe of what I experienced that I could hardly sleep. I became keenly aware of the “spiritual world” and that there is truly a battle going on between good and evil. I am so thankful for the gift of faith and for my Guardian Angel. I pray to God every day that my angel will converse with my dad’s guardian angel to keep him close to God and protect him from evil.
I asked my Guardian Angel to talk to his Guardian Angel
My husband has asbestos in his lungs and is on oxygen full time. He was very angry and very difficult to deal with. At night I prayed on my knees and asked my Guardian Angel to talk to his Guardian Angel to help me. The result was miraculous! Soon afterward his attitude changed much for the better. I know my Guardian Angel helped me. I feel him near me all the time.
The Lord heard our prayer and sent His angel
On December 31, 2014, my son Joseph David, four months old at that time, was admitted to the Hamad Medical Centre Hospital, Al Wakrah ,Qatar, with a 101 degree fever. He also had eczema. Suddenly his leg also became swollen and red. The nurses were trying to find his vein to do a blood test. But they were perplexed since they could not find his vein. My wife and I started praying, calling out to Jesus to help us. We were also continuously praying the Hail Mary. After some time the nurses pricked and found the vein. Immediately they asked me whether or not I was a pastor. We said that I was not, but that we were praying in faith. They said it was due to prayers they could find the baby’s vein. Praise God! The Lord heard our prayer and sent His angel to guide the nurses. The subsequent blood test revealed that my son had an infection and, consequently, was given antibiotics. The fever and swelling soon vanished and he is very well now.
I thank God everyday for the loving protection of our Guardian Angels
I am very grateful to God for blessing me with my Guardian Angel. He has protected me many times throughout my life. I have a Guardian Angel story that involves my Angel and that of my three children.
It was a snowy day in February, the year was 1989, and after picking up the children from school we drove about three miles into town for banking and groceries. The bank teller at the drive through said “Drive carefully,” and as I finished my transaction, I assured her that I would.
As I said, it had snowed earlier in the day, but by early afternoon the sun had started to melt some of the snow. Unfortunately it was less than an hour when the temperature dropped and the melted snow began to freeze. After our groceries were purchased we started our drive back home. As I rounded a sharp turn which was shaded by large fir trees my left front tire suddenly slid on black ice.
The roadway, which had appeared wet to me, was a sheet of ice. My first reaction was certainly the wrong one as I slammed on the brakes and turned sharply to the left! The vehicle I was driving at the time was a 1975 Toyota LandCruiser. The LandCruiser rolled over and into a deep ditch with the front end facing the opposite direction in which we were traveling. We were sitting top side up, but at a very steep angle. My two older children were buckled up in the rear of the vehicle. My youngest son was in the front passenger seat. The top was torn off of the LandCruiser, the windshield and the right front passenger window and door were broken and mangled. My youngest son, without my knowing, had removed his seat belt before we left the store.
As our vehicle started to roll I could see the roadway coming up to my side window. I cried out “Oh God” as I gripped the steering wheel with all my strength. As we landed back on our wheels I could hear my two children who were seated in the back. My daughter was crying hysterically and my son was moaning. They both had received bumps on their heads from the roll-bar. Thankfully their injuries were not life threatening.
As I looked to my right I could not see my son in his seat! I looked up and saw his lifeless body hanging over the broken and mangled window/door frame. I took off my seat belt and tried to extract him from the broken frame. We were sitting at such a steep angle that I could not leverage him down. He wasn’t moving or speaking. Very soon a large, helpful gentleman was able to remove my son from the broken frame and place him in the passenger seat. My son had sustained lacerations to the side of his head and a cut tendon on the top of his left wrist.
As my son’s injuries were made known, and as he was not yet speaking, my daughter began saying “Is he going to die, is he going to die!!!” I said “NO, he is NOT GOING TO DIE!”
David and all of us survived that horrible accident because God was Gracious and heard my cry. Sometime later, months later, my son, David, said to me. Thank you mom for putting your arms around me and holding me in my seat! I was astonished. I had wondered why he was not thrown out and crushed under the vehicle as it rolled! I told him that I would have put my arms around him and held him if it had been possible, but it could only have been his Guardian Angel that he felt holding him in place.
The only injury I sustained was a slight cut to my finger when I put my hand in my pocket that was full of glass from the broken windshield.
I thank God everyday for the loving protection of our Guardian Angels.
Thank her Guardian Angel
About one year ago my family was watching my daughter run in a high school cross country race in California. At the end of the race, we watched in horror as she collapsed at the finish line. My husband and I are both physicians, so as we ran to the medical tent where she had been carried, the worst thoughts came to us. I saw the medical staff carry her lifeless body to the tent. My husband would share later that he feared she had suffered a fatal heart attack or arrhythmia. The next few minutes were horrendous, watching the staff resuscitate her. I briefly stepped away from the stretcher to update her coaches who were just outside the medical tent. As I walked back to my daughter, about 30 feet from her, I suddenly was stopped. I couldn’t move as if someone was holding me. No one was directly next to me, but I was prevented from moving. And then I “heard” a voice tell me to thank her Guardian Angel.
The last time I had ever thought about the Guardian Angels was over thirty years ago, in my bedroom as a young child, right after reciting the Guardian Angel prayer. The force holding me and the voice in my mind was too powerful, so I obliged and thanked the Guardian Angel of my dear daughter.
Immediately, I looked at her stretcher a few feet in front of me and saw the most beautiful sight. Surrounding her were the most beautiful beings. I can’t put into words, nor could I ever fully describe the radiant light and the powerful presence around her. Suddenly an overwhelming feeling of love and peace came over me. I knew my daughter would be ok. Had I not been so hurried to return to her, I would have fallen to my knees in adoration for I knew I was in the presence of the holy. That image of my daughter in the care of supernatural beings of light was all I needed to assure me she is cared for. The experience lasted but a few seconds, but it was a vision into eternity. It was pure gift. And indeed my daughter awoke slowly, and recovered completely.
As any good scientist, I needed confirmation of what I saw, and I needed to understand. The next day was Sunday Mass, September 29, the feast of the Holy Archangels! On the drive home from work, that week, on EWTN was the familiar voice of Mother Angelica who explains the role of … the Guardian Angels. “Ok, I’m getting the message,” I thought. The next time I was able to attend daily Mass, I arrived with a deep desire to thank God for bringing my daughter back to life. I didn’t have any words to offer God that morning, so I asked that the Mass be my offering of thanks; it was October 2nd, the feast of the Guardian Angels. Yes, I had my confirmation. And I knew, I had my first real encounter with one of the greatest gifts God has given to me, the angels.
One week later I happened to be able to attend a series of talks given by the priests with Opus Sanctorum Angelorum. Since that time, I have come to realize in such a real way that I have been given a great gift, a relationship with my Guardian Angel and with all of God’s heavenly beings. I now invite my Guardian Angel to be with me in a special way at each Mass and with many of my daily tasks. My husband and I came to see that our children are not ours, they are God’s children, given to us to care for while on we are on earth. I am not in control, but God and his angels are. What more do I need?
Inspired to Pray
Years ago my husband and I were in a movie theater engrossed in the movie, when suddenly I was inspired to pray, so I did. The feeling was so unexpected and strong, that I stopped watching the screen, closed my eyes and turned my attention to prayer as I felt directed to do. Then I had peace and wondered what that was all about.
When we returned home, my, then, teenaged daughter couldn’t wait to tell us what had happened. She said she was comfortably seated in an easy chair in the family room, reading a book. Then the phone rang, so she reluctantly got out of the chair to answer it. As soon as she was out of the chair, a large and heavy sound unit that had been on the highest shelf in a built-in bookcase, fell onto the every spot she had occupied just seconds before.
The light came on for me and I immediately understood why I was prodded to pray. My daughter and I remember this incident with thanksgiving to the angels to this day!
~ Joann N.
Blessed Peter Faber
Blessed Peter Faber, who was a member of the “Society of Jesus” (Jesuits), worked in the 16th century as retreat master and preacher. One important character trait in his spiritual life was his fervent devotion to the holy angels. St. Francis de Sales mentions him in his “Philothea” – Introduction to the Devout Life, as an example of fervent devotion and cooperation with the holy angels:
“Seek to be familiar with the Angels; learn to realize that they are continually present, although invisible. Especially, love and revere the Guardian Angel of the Diocese in which you live, those of the friends who surround you, and your own. Commune with them frequently, join in their songs of praise, and seek their protection and help in all you do, spiritual or temporal.”
“That pious man, Peter Faber, the first companion of Saint Ignatius, and the first priest, first preacher and first theological teacher of the Company of the Jesuits, who was a native of our Diocese, once passing through this country on his way from Germany, (where he had been laboring for God’s Glory,) told how great comfort he had found as he went among places infested with heresy in communing with the Guardian Angels thereof, whose help had often preserved him from danger, and softened hearts to receive the faith. He spoke with such earnestness, that a lady who, when quite young, heard him, was so impressed, that she repeated his words to me only four years ago, sixty years after their utterance, with the utmost feeling.”
Pope Benedict and his Guardian Angel
In this section we generally cite stories from our readers or others who have experienced the extraordinary help or protection of their angels in daily life, such as protection from car accidents, or help in their studies or relationships, etc. This time, however, we would like to cite an instance where the angel did not help¸ or at least, did not help in the way we would have expected or had hoped. While on vacation this past July in Northern Italy, Pope Benedict fell and fractured his wrist. The Holy Father had hoped to use this small bit of free time in the midst of his heavy schedule to work on the 2nd volume of his book, Jesus of Nazareth. Later, on thanking law enforcement officers for being “like angels” to him when he tripped, he commented: “Unfortunately, my own guardian angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior orders. Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation” (Catholic New Agency, online). Though seemingly just a quip, the Holy Father teaches us here a lesson about the holy angels. While they love us dearly and are concerned both for our spiritual and physical needs, they are more concerned about our spiritual advancement than our physical or material well-being. They often educate us by allowing us to suffer, in accordance with God’s holy will, through trials and discomforts so that we may grow spiritually in one or the other virtue.
Padre Pio mentions a similar situation when he was being brutally attacked by the devil. Several times he called on his Guardian Angel to come to his aid, but he was left alone—or so he thought. Later, his Guardian Angel appeared to him as if nothing had happened. Padre Pio was so angry, he relates, he could not even look the angel in the eye! “Where were you?!!” he complained bitterly. The angel, who had been present the whole time, was hurt that he was so misunderstood, and forcing Padre Pio to look him in the eye, he went on to say: “Give thanks to Jesus that He treats you as one chosen to follow Him closely up the ascent to Calvary. I behold with joy and interior emotion, O soul entrusted to my care by Jesus, how Jesus treats you. Do you think that I would be as happy if I did not see you so thrashed? I, who in holy charity desire greatly your advantage, delight to see you ever more in such a state. Jesus permits these assaults of the devil because His divine mercy endears you to Himself, and He wants to make you like unto Himself in the anguish of the desert, of the Garden (Gethsemani) and of the Cross” (Letter to his spiritual director, Letters Vol. I, 112). Of course we naturally feel the angel should be “on our side”, and he is. But often, we do not understand the ways of God nor really know what is good for us. The angel reads this will from the heart of God and transmits it always lovingly and faithfully to us, though he too may have to suffer in seeing us, whom he so loves, suffer for a time, yet not without giving us the necessary strength to persevere and to grow. How grateful must we always be to this best and truest of friends!
Saved from a Fall
Recently I was climbing up a mountain in Wicklow on a very windy day with my son-in-law. Coming near the top there was a very strong breeze. We braced ourselves against the breeze, but a severe gust of wind blew me off the track and I fell. My son-in-law tried to catch me to no avail. I rolled over and over and suddenly I stopped rolling and had a severe pain in my ankle.
My boot had got caught between two rocks and this is what stopped me. I looked over my shoulder and had a drop of about 15 feet down onto large boulders and into a stream coming down the mountain. I was extremely lucky. My guardian angel was working overtime.
Thank you Holy Angels!
I wanted to share with you what I believe is a story of protection by our Guardian Angels. Today, my husband, my son, and some friends were working on a large barn shed in the back yard. I had been praying to their guardian angels throughout the day for their safety due to the possible dangers that were present in this construction project. I even casually mentioned to all of them to pray to their angels, too.
After six or so hours, my youngest daughter, Catherine, came into the house to report that “Kevin’s leg almost got sawed!” My husband was using a circular saw to cut a large sheet of wood. Kevin, Jr. was standing way too close; my husband of course yelled to him to move. But before he moved, the saw had already cut his jeans AND his underclothing. Miraculously, his skin was untouched!! I immediately believed it was heavenly intercession. Some might think it was just a close call, but I think our heavenly helpers protected him from injury.
Thank you Holy Angels!
Guardian Angel Prayer
My friend’s son was scheduled to leave for the Marine Corps on Sunday at 4 pm. It was a very difficult separation for her, so last week I sent her the angel story on the Opus Angelorum website about the mother who prayed short, informal prayers to her Guardian Angel daily for her daughter in the army. She would pray, “I know, Guardian Angel, you don’t really have wings, but I like to imagine your wings surrounding her with my love.” During the day she would also ask him to please help her daughter to do whatever she was doing at that moment no matter what it was.
Saturday night my friend’s son went to a party with a friend who was on leave from the Marines, and afterwards three of them went out drinking. My friend’s son was in the front passenger seat of the car. That night, my friend woke up at 3:30 am and prayed the Guardian Angel prayer I had sent her from the OA website for her son, just as the mother had prayer for her daughter. At the same time, the young men were in a auto accident. They crashed into a telephone pole, hit a fire hydrant, hit a metro parks sign that was on two ten foot poles, the car flipped and landed back on its wheels. The door on the passenger side was ripped off. They all had seatbelts on but only the airbag for the driver was deployed. All three boys walked away from the accident. A policeman witnessed the accident so ambulances were called right away. Two were treated and released, and her son was admitted for a short time for observation and then also discharged.
He told his mother that later, the driver and his mother had returned to the scene of the accident, went to see the vehicle which was totaled, and called him to fill him in. None could believe that the three of them are still alive and essentially uninjured. She shared the story of her prayer for him at 3:30 am. She then offered her Holy Mass and Communion in thanksgiving to her Guardian Angel for protecting all three of them.
Michael, Michael of the Morn
In the Korean War, an American solider named Michael experienced the extraordinary assistance of his patron saint, to whom he had prayed every day since his youth for protection. Below is paraphrased a letter to his mother, which was verified by the Marine Chaplain.
He and his company went out on patrol on a foggy wintry, day. A new soldier had joined the group and marched alongside Michael. He turned to him and said, “I have never seen you before. I thought I knew every man in the outfit.””I just joined at the last minute,” he replied. “The name is Michael.” “Is that so?” I said surprised. “That’s MY name, too!” “I know,” he said…and then went on… “Michael, Michael, of the morning…”
Those were the beginning words of his daily prayer to St. Michael; how could this new soldier know his name and much less that he said this prayer?! Still, he had taught the prayer to the other soldiers… perhaps, this was the reason for his knowing it.
They walked in silence for a time, and then the new Michael warned: “We are going to have some trouble up ahead.”
They got separated from the rest of the troops in the fog; it began to snow. Later the fog lifted, the snow stopped and the sun came out. They walked over a little hill, and there were seven communist soldiers waiting for them with raised rifles 30-40 yards away. Our Michael shouted, “Get down!” and threw himself on the ground just as they shot, but the new Michael was still standing there. He should have been killed instantly.
Our Michael got up to save his inexperienced new friend, but as he did so, he was wounded in the chest. All he could remember were Michael’s strong arms around him, laying him on the ground. He looked up and now saw St. Michael standing there in a blaze of glory, his face shining like the sun. He had a sword in his hand that flashed with a million lights!
That was the last thing our Michael saw; he passed out. When he awoke, his own group of soldiers was around him, attending to his wound. He asked them where Michael was. But nobody had seen this new soldier Michael. Moreover, the sergeant had seen that our Michael was walking alone.
For their part, they wanted to know how he had done it. What were they talking about? They wanted to know how he had managed to kill all seven of the enemy troops without firing a shot. They had all been dispatched with the stroke of a sword.
She felt arms around her
Here’s a story from a good friend of mine: Her twenty year old daughter, Angela, was recently in a terrible car accident due to a failure in an electrical mechanism. As she was driving up a steep road in a rural area and the road began to turn, her SUV’s steering wheel locked. She rolled three times down a hill. When the women driving behind her called 911, the operator asked her to go and see if the driver of the car was alive. She responded that there was no sense in checking; the person could not have survived a crash like that. Angela, however, managed to climb out of the vehicle without anything wrong with her! Her mother was working in the hospital at the time and she heard the sirens go off, as her cell phone began to ring. It was her daughter. Angela told her mother she had had an accident, but she was okay. The sirens had been for her. She related that as the vehicle began to roll, she felt arms around her, holding her. Her mother said, “Angela has always had a very good guardian angel!”.
~ Marie C
You do Well to Marvel
One of the Fathers related how a certain Bishop had heard that two men of his flock were disgraceful adulterers, and he asked God to show him if this were true. So after the consecration of the Offering, when they both came up for Communion, he looked carefully at the faces of each one. The faces of sinners always appeared to him as black as charcoal, with bloodshot eyes. Others always appeared with clear faces dressed in white garments. Moreover, after receiving the Body of the Lord, the features of some seemed to be lit up, while the others in flames.
In order to find out if it was true that the two men had committed the crime, he observed when giving Communion and saw that the face of one of them was fair and honest and the other’s face was black and ugly. And as the grace of the Divine Mysteries began to take effect, he saw a beam of light illumine the face of the one, while flames burnt all over the other. The Bishop prayed that he might know the meaning of what he had been shown about each one. And an Angel of the Lord came and stood beside him.
“Everything that you have heard about them is true,” he said. “But one of them persists in his disgrace and is determined to go on sinning. That is why you saw that his face was black and all in flames. The other has also done exactly as you have heard, but you saw his face illumined with a clear light. For it is recorded that he has renounced those evil deeds which he formerly committed. With tears and groans, he has begged pardon from God and promised that if his sins might be forgiven, he would not commit them again. So his former sins have been wiped out, and he has come into that state of grace which you have seen.”
“I marvel,” said the Bishop, “that the grace of God has not only rescued this man from the torments due to such a disgraceful life, but that it has already rewarded him with such honor.”
“You do well to marvel,” said the Angel, “for you are only human, but your God and ours is naturally good and kind to those who cease from their sins. Those who come to Him in Confession He not only forgives, but crowns with honor. For God so loved mankind that He gave His only begotten Son for sinners, and for sinners He gave Him up to death (Jn 3:16). While we were yet sinners He chose to die for us (Rom 5:8), so how much more must He love us when we have become His own! Know, therefore, that there is no human sin which can extinguish the love of God, if only each one can wipe out his past evils by penitence. For the Lord is merciful; He knows how strong the passions are and how strong and malicious the devil is. He cares for His children when they fall into sin and offers them amendment of life. He has compassion on those who are slow to repent, but when He has loosed them from their sins, He bestows upon them the rewards of the righteous.”
Nocturnal First Aid
This story occurred during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s in Chicago. It was told to me by a priest, Dr. Brown’s brother.
In the wee hours of the morning Dr. Brown was jarred from sleep by the insistent ringing of the phone. He remembers groggily groping for the receiver; a husky, strained voice implored: “Is this Dr. Brown?” “Yes, I am he.” “Could you come quickly? It’s urgent, a matter of life and death!” “Yes, I’ll come. Where do you live?” “Seventeen Alan Street, please, come quickly.”
Dr. Brown dressed quickly, got his things together and was soon headed off to Alan Street; how lonely it was traveling alone through the dark streets at night. The neighborhood towards which he drove was on the “far side of the tracks”, where even during the day one might not feel too comfortable walking around.
Dr. Brown found the house easily enough, a single residence; only it was peculiar that no lights were on. He went to the door and knocked; after a pause, he knocked again. Still there was no answer. His third knock, however, elicited a gruff response, “Who’s there?” “It’s Dr. Brown. I received an urgent call for medical help. Is this seventeen Alan Street?” “Yes it is, but nobody called you, get out of here!”
As he withdrew, he scanned the street searchingly for lights that might indicate where his help was really needed. Seeing none, he reproached himself again, thinking he had failed to jot down the right street number. Or perhaps, it was just a bad prank. In any case, there was nothing he could do but return home. And as there was no follow up phone call, he simply forgot the matter in the days that ensued.
Several weeks later, though, he received another call during the day from the emergency ward at the hospital. The nurse explained that a man, a certain John Turner, who had just suffered a severe accident and was clearly dying, was begging to speak with Dr. Robert Brown. “Doctor, could you come by quickly? He doesn’t have much time. He will not tell us why he needs to speak to you.”
Dr. Brown agreed to go, yet he was rather puzzled, for he knew no one by the name of John Turner. This conviction was verified by the patient, who said: “Dr. Brown, you don’t know me, but I just had to speak with you before I die and beg your forgiveness. You will recall having received a telephone call several weeks ago in the dead of the night. “Yes, I remember the call, but…”
“It was I who called you.” The dying man explained: “I had had no work for months and months. I had sold everything of value in the house, and still could not feed my family. I could not bear the imploring, hungry looks in my children’s eyes. In my desperation, I resolved to call a doctor for help in the middle of the night. My plan was to kill him, take his money and sell his instruments.”
Though horrified, Dr. Brown could not help but protest: “Yes, but I came, why didn’t you kill me?” “I was expecting that you would come alone, but when I saw that big, powerful young man at your side I was afraid; and so I just sent you off gruffly. Please forgive me.” “Yes, of course,” muttered Dr. Brown in a daze.
A cold chill had come over him; he had had no inkling that what had seemed to him like an irksome error or even a bad prank had been really such a close call with death. And even less had he suspected that his Guardian Angel (to whom he ever after attributed this intervention) had saved his life that night; for indeed, the “powerful young man” had appeared only to his would be assailant, who now dying, was imploring his forgiveness.
How awesome are the ways of God. How often our Angels preserve us from harm without our ever adverting to the fact.
The Camper and the Infant
(Santa Barbara, California 1970’s; a news report)
Don and his wife, Doris, were getting the camper ready for vacation. After checking the motor, he started up the engine and backed the camper down the driveway. At that juncture, Doris let up a blood-curdling cry. Instinctively, Don drove back forwards, thus driving over for the second time his two year old daughter who had crawled up behind the rear tire.
The child was rushed to the hospital where it was verified that she had a good many bruises, but nothing more, no broken bones!
Her Guardian Angel
A young mother well known to the Order wrote to us to share this story:
After reading your newsletter, I was reminded of this incident and wanted to tell you about it. When my daughter was 21 months old, we were walking on the upper level of a school building. I turned my back for a few seconds and when I looked again, she was running towards a two-story flight of concrete stairs. Before I could stop her, she began to run down them and tripped. She started to fall, but before her head hit the step something caught her and slowly pushed her back to an upright position. When I arrived next to her, she was standing still. There was no possible ordinary explanation for this. Although I could not see anything, I felt a strong presence and I know it was her Guardian Angel that saved her that day.
~ Erica S.
A Terrible Car Crash
Late one evening I was driving home from a Bible study at a local Catholic Church in the city of Sacramento, California. As I approached the street on which I lived, I started making a left-hand turn; halfway through the turn I was hit by another car which had run the red light. I was not wearing my seat belt, so during the car crash I was thrown about. Suddenly, I felt someone holding me down, keeping me from flying out of the car window! Finally, the vehicle came to rest in the middle of the street. The thought came to me “get out of there before the gas tank blows!” By then I was in complete shock. I reached my hand and touched the car door and it “flew open”. I jumped out of the car and fell down. I was taken to the emergency room. I had blood in my mouth and on my clothing. After a careful examination, no injuries could be found either in or on my body. I was treated for shock and sent home. I remained in bed for several days.
A few weeks later I located my car in a nearby wrecking-yard. The attendant asked if I was the driver of the car—I told him I was. He looked absolutely amazed! He showed me the car; it was totally destroyed! He asked me, “How did you get out of this car?” I told him I opened the door and got out. “Impossible!” he declared. “Look! that door is completely caved in. No one could have opened it!” Then the Scripture passage in the book of Acts came to mind where the Angel rescued Peter from jail, leading him out through a closed gate which opened by itself at the approach of the Angel. I know for sure that my Guardian Angel rescued me from injury and harm or even a possible death during the car crash!
~ Joseph G
The Abortion Mill
Once when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant and doing sidewalk counselling, I spoke with a woman going into an abortion mill. She seemed sad and said “I really wouldn’t do it….” Nevertheless, she proceeded into the abortion mill. Some time later, she came out, accompanied by a man who was angry. As they were pulling out of the driveway and waiting to turn onto the street, I saw that the woman was holding a folder which likely contained “24 hour papers.” Suspecting that she was being forced into an abortion, I said calmly through the open car window, “Remember, it is illegal for anyone to force a woman to have an abortion.” At this, the man, who had forbidden me from speaking to them, got out of the car, fist raised in anger, yelling “I’m going to blast you”—making me wonder if he had a gun. He was storming around the car towards me. In an instant, I was filled with fear—not of the pain of the impending meeting with his fists, which I fully expected—but because of the tremendous vulnerability I sensed for my child, now quite large, in the womb. I had no way to shield her.
I immediately remembered the story from a recent OA newsletter about a Sister who, in danger of physical harm, had prayed the Sanctus, and her would-be attackers had been unable to harm her. So I closed my eyes, and holding my rosaries in front of my own baby, quietly prayed the Sanctus, making an act of will that my prayer be joined with that of all the angels in heaven adoring God. I repeated it several times. When I opened my eyes, the man and the car were gone. Onlookers told me that the woman stepped out of the car and told the man to get in the car. And he obeyed.
The Young Prostitute
The following true story happened more or less four years ago. I knew a young prostitute named Miriam. She was twenty-two years old and had two daughters, the oldest being two and a half years old. Since we also work with prostitutes who desire a new life, Miriam asked that we help her. She said that she desired to return home to her family, but her “manager” told her that if she did something “so brainless” the two girls would have to remain behind. They were, after all, a great investment. Before all this happened, however, Miriam and I had had a conversation about the holy angels and we agreed that we would entrust our cause to them.
Some twenty days later, I received a message from Miriam. She was hospitalized for severe kidney spasms, but had already been released and was considering the possibility of realizing her desire: to leave that life and return to her family. She was ready to flee, but not without her daughters. She asked me if I would go to the place, offer money and take the girls. She was confident that all would go well.
The following morning, I entrusted myself once more to the holy angels and went to that awful place. The “manager” was very angry to see me and told me that I would remain in Miriam’s place, in every sense; that she would strip me and force me to prostitute myself until the “Big Chief” arrived. Some “youths” drew closer and also about three men.
I ardently asked my holy angel to protect me and to pray with me the “Sanctus” which we pray during the Holy Mass. I prayed in a medium tone of voice and felt secure. The “manager” tried to touch me but, there being a distance between us of about twenty centimeters, more or less, she was unable to move. Irritated, she shouted at me to stop “saying that thing”, because “something” was holding her back. For forty five minutes she shouted and threatened, but couldn’t move herself. Finally after help arrived she fled terrified, shouting that I stop “saying that thing.”Thus, we were able to remove the children and give them to their mother, helping all three to return to their family.
When It Is Nine-Thirty
Fr. Gerard Stegmiller, Der Schutzengelpater Erzählt, Kral-Verlag, p. 14
On the occasion of a parish Mission, a woman from a neighboring town sought out one of the priests. “Father, your counsel to call upon the holy Guardian Angels of those around us has already worked! My husband used to go to a bar pretty frequently. Usually, he came home drunk late in the night. Then I heard your counsel: “If a husband goes out to a bar, then the wife at home should greet and ask for help from his Guardian Angel and the Guardian Angels of his friends.” Right away I followed your counsel.
For a while now, my husband has been coming home at 10 o’clock, and he’s not drunk. Finally he said to me, “I just don’t know what it is. At 9:30, I always get restless and uneasy. It drives me crazy: the beer doesn’t taste good anymore, I don’t get along with my friends anymore. It’s as if someone wanted to drive me out. Something must be wrong with my heart; I gotta go see the doctor.” “No, no. You are perfectly healthy. I know you. Just come on home at a fitting time; that’ll be medicine enough for you.”
Then the woman said to the priest, “I’m sure that uneasiness comes from his Guardian Angel. Whenever he went to the bar, I prayed the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary in honor of his Guardian Angel and the Guardian Angels of all those in the bar, so that my husband would be healed and not turn into a drunk.”
From Rev. A.M. Weigl, Schutzengelgeschichten, Grignion Verlag, Altötting, p. 64 ff.
Many people know of angelic interventions only in relation to emergency situations, as for example in street accidents. But the holy angels concern themselves even more with our spiritual well-being, though we do not always recognize their loving solicitude. In the following story, both dimensions of their solicitous help are united.
On August 16, 1936, a thief paid a “visit” to the owner of a leather factory, Herman Moebius, who lived in a small town on a lake in Germany. Herman’s four year old daughter, Helga, was sleeping in the nursery. The thief, Frederick Metzler, who had already been arrested several times for stealing, entered through the back garden, climbed up onto the balcony and entered the window on the second floor of the home. He broke into a desk and two cabinets, and looted a few jewels of no particular value. Suddenly, little Helga stood before the thief in her pajamas.
“What are you doing?” the child asked. (This is what the thief later recounted to the police.) “I’m looking for the jewels that your Mommy must have somewhere around here.” “Mommy’s jewels?” repeated the little girl. “They are where Daddy keeps his money.” “And where does your Daddy keep his money?” “I’m not going to tell you,” answered the little one, “I bet you’re a thief!” Then the thief shook the child by the shoulders and threatened, “If you don’t tell me where your Daddy keeps his money, I’ll slit your throat!” “You aren’t allowed to do that,” said little Helga. “Oh yeah! Why can’t I do it?” “My Guardian Angel won’t let you.” “And where do you have your Guardian Angel, huh?” Helga led the thief into her small nursery and pointed to the picture of the Guardian Angel on the wall. “I always pray to him,” the child remarked. Then the thief felt his eyes moisten. There rose up in him memories of his own childhood, memories of his mother who had died so long ago… Hadn’t he also had such a Guardian Angel hanging over his poor little cot?
“Okay,” said the thief and left the room. He kicked aside with disdain the pile of stolen jewels which were ready to be packed up. Then he climbed down from the balcony back into the garden, without having taken anything with him. At that point, he was overtaken and arrested by the police. Only later was Metzler’s explanation confirmed by the testimony of the child and by the abandoned loot.
A Trip to Nigeria
Travel in Africa can be very dangerous because of the armed robbers who lurk on the out-of-the way roads between towns. A bus ride can be a life-threatening situation. Our Sisters of the Holy Cross, when they are stationed in other continents, have permission to visit home every three years. Sr. Maria E., while stationed in Brazil had permission to visit her family in Nigeria. This usually entails three days of travel. After an overnight flight from São Paolo, she needed to take an all day bus trip to another town, before she could make arrangements to get to her own village. The bus system in Africa is very different from the buses in America. They are not marked, neither the times nor the destination. A bit confused, Sister began to pray to her Guardian Angel. A man came up to her who was also seeking the same bus. So she invited him to pray with her to the Guardian Angels. A short time later, a bus driver came up to them and announced he would be leaving for their destination. They were very happy, and thanking their good angels, entered the bus.
At the beginning of the ride, Sister asked and found out that all on the bus but one Christian man were Catholic. With his permission, therefore, she invited all to pray a Rosary in honor of the angels for a safe trip. All agreed to pray with her because, as was said, bus travel was known to be dangerous. While they were still praying the Rosary, however, the bus came to a stop. They had broken down. Another bus came and passed them by while they sat waiting for the driver to fix the bus. As it turns out, they sat there all day until 5 o’clock in the evening until the bus was fixed. All were more than a little disgruntled, and asked Sister, “We were praying to the angels, why did they let this happen?” Sister could only respond, “God only knows”, and they continued their trip, praying the Rosary again.
When they arrived the next morning at the town, they saw all the people from the other bus which had passed them by and from a bus which had left earlier. They were all badly shaken and weeping. Both buses had been stopped by robbers, and they were lucky to have escaped alive, though losing all they had with them. Then all from Sister’s bus understood, the angels had allowed them to break down until they were out of danger. They thanked God and the holy angels for their safe trip.
My Daughter joined the Army
Last July, my 18 year old daughter joined the army. Having only two children, when she left, my heart felt as if it was being torn from my breast. During basic training, the only communication we were allowed was by writing and an occasional phone call. I knew she was lonely and very homesick. Again, my heart felt like breaking. She was all I could think about and I worried all day long, from the time I woke until the time I fell asleep. I knew all I could do was pray for her and I felt the best way to do that was to pray to her holy angel and mine. Having a relationship with my angel, my prayers weren’t so much formal, but rather a pleading with him to please go to my daughter and take my love to her. I would ask him to bless her and even kiss her good night for me. Also, I would say to him, “I know you don’t really have wings, but I like to imagine your wings surrounding her with my love”. During the day I would ask him to please help her do whatever she was doing at that moment no matter what it was.
So this is how I passed the nine weeks of basic training. In October, we went to her graduation. We were having a conversation and she said to me, “Mom, you don’t understand what has been happening to me. At night when I go to bed, I feel cradled in love, and during the day sometimes when I prayed, I felt everything get easier.” When she said that, I think I went into shock. I always knew my angel was answering my prayers, you see, but I didn’t expect to get such a confirmation! Thanks be to the good God! It reminds me of the angel Raphael when he said to Tobias, “When you prayed with tears, I offered your prayer to the Lord” (cf. Tobit 12:12). Not only did the good God answer my prayers, but He let me know He answered them. Thanks to the holy angels!
~ Paula Z