Circular Letter: Summer 1993
Steps Towards a Living Friendship with your Angel
The Guardian Angel, Our Personal Guide And Companion
Do you recall the joy that was yours in the (re)discovery of your Guardian Angel? the consolation in the realization that God had assigned a heavenly spirit as your personal guide and companion all the days of your life and beyond into eternal happiness? Do you also recall the fervor and zeal with which you bound yourself to your Guardian Angel in a holy alliance? How fresh was our hope, how ardent our desire to stride forward at his side and with his help towards the hitherto elusive goal of spiritual union with God!
The Law Of The Holy Angels
We wanted to take big steps, and so it was only in passing that we heard about the spiritual law of the holy Angels: “Silence, listening and obedience; poverty, purity and fidelity.” Yet with the passage of time, we are not quite making the so-desired progress, at least not as quickly as we had hoped. The path towards sanctity is steep and narrow; and being laborious, it requires little steps, nor are there any shortcuts to perfection. Even knowing this, we cannot help feeling a bit of malaise about our own situation, and cannot help wondering if we are not falling short of our duty towards God, His Mother and towards our holy Guardian Angel. In fact, our conscience vaguely tells us that this is so,… if only someone could tell us wherein we are failing, we would really do our best to cooperate, now that our own modest fruits have quickened our humility of heart.
Growth In Union With The Holy Angel
The following considerations are addressed to this need. They contain a series of basic lights and counsels coming, as it were, from the Guardian Angel about the spiritual life. The secret of excellence in every human endeavor depends upon the diligent attention we are willing to pay to the fundamental principles of the spiritual life and their application even in our least activities. Accordingly, these will be little lights about the real basics. Being ‘little,’ they are often overlooked. What we want is not isolated, speculative theology, but practical spiritual counsels, insights that will help us lift our daily life up to the Divine plan, lift our minds to the habitual awareness of being constantly in the presence of God.
Contact with the Holy Angels
First of all, the Angel longs for us to understand and appreciate the importance of listening. Contact with the Angel occurs on the supernatural level of faith. Faith, as St. Paul tells us, “comes from hearing” (Rom. 10,17), while the light and grace of faith, according to St. Thomas, come through the holy Angels. The Guardian Angel also speaks to us interiorly in the voice of conscience. His words are always in harmony with Christ’s teaching. The more we will to live and practice our faith, the more co-naturality we acquire with the holy Guardian Angel, the more we will be disposed to hear him. How few are so attuned to their angel as to recognize with St. John of the Cross that the Guardian Angel is always shedding his light in our reason (conscience)!
Being a Pure Echo of the Divine Call
If a man’s words are pure, then he is a pure echo of the Divine call. The Divine Word reflects Itself in each pure soul. This reflection is man’s personal response. What response are you giving to God’s call in your heart? Are you even aware that God is calling you? that He created you for some definite purpose? His call to you is the word in your heart that reveals to you your purpose in life, your eternal vocation. Your Guardian Angel is the bearer of this word ? he stands between you and God, even as St. Gabriel once stood before the Blessed Mother with the word of the Annunciation. If you want to hear him, you can, as is exemplified in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'” (30, 21). But in order to do so, you must first learn to listen.
Silence, the Womb of the Word
In order to listen well, we must practice silence. Silence is the womb of the word. The word, Jesus tells us, is like a seed that is sown in a field. Therefore, it is not enough to simply hear the word, but like Mary we must keep pondering it in our heart. When we have understood God’s word to us through the angel, then again like Mary we must say, “Be it done unto me according to your word.”
Accepting the Word and the Cross of Christ in our Lives
Since our vocation is to become Christ-like, and since we cannot become Christ’s disciples without accepting and shouldering the Cross, we know that the angels’ word to us must also lead us to the Cross. The Cross in its natural form ? the intersection of the vertical and the horizontal ? signifies opposition. Whoever accepts the Word and the Cross of Christ will suffer this opposition, this sign of contradiction.
The Voice of the Tempter
In the true doctrine of the Incarnation and the Cross we can always distinguish the voice of the holy angel from that of the tempter. Impress this lesson into your heart: The voice of the tempter always runs along your own “wave-length.” He speaks with your own voice, he soothes you, he lures you, he frightens you and incites you to over-sensitivity and resentfulness. In a word, he cajoles us from the side of self-love, which is at odds with the Cross.
The Voice of the Angel
The voice of the angel, contrarily, always runs along the “wave-length” of God. He admonishes us to heroic virtue, to be faithful, to persevere and be generous; his voice urges us on to sacrifice, to forgiveness, to tranquility, to love and to holy silence. The angel leads us to God’s glory, not to that of the world or of self; he points to God’s holy will, not to our own will and self-interests. He is our model in the true fear of the Lord.
Our Choice to Listen or Not to Listen
Those who in their inmost heart desire the good shall grow adept at recognizing and cooperating with the good Angel. Those, contrarily, who in their inmost heart (however unconsciously) are turned to their selves and to the world, and therefore, away from God, shall be deceived by the tempter and fail even to hear the voice of the good Angel in their conscience. How frightening it is that this failure to believe, the failure to listen to the voice of the angel is inexcusable, deriving, as it does, from a subtle moral choice. This choice to listen or not to listen lies at the heart of judgment, of salvation and damnation. It lies so deep in the soul, that both the just and the wicked shall be filled with astonishment: The just will ask the Judge: “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You; thirsty, and give You to drink?” And the wicked, in turn, will ask: “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison and did not minister to You?” To the blessed the Judge shall say: “Enter you blessed of My Father, for whatever you did to the least of My brethren, you did to Me!” But to those on the left, He shall say: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, for as long as you failed to do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to Me!” (Cf. Mt. 25, 32-46).
Exercising our Spiritual Ear
How important it is, therefore, to exercise our spiritual ear in listening to the Word of God. How often Scripture admonishes: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” We must learn to attune our ears and eyes so as to recognize Our Lord and the impulses of His grace. Moreover, Our Lord assures us: “If any man wills to do the will of the Father, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself” (Jn 7,17). And again, “If you listen to his voice (the Angel’s) and do all that I tell you (that is, through the Angel), then I shall be a foe to your foes, and an enemy to your enemies” (Ex 23,22).
“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Fr. William Wagner, ORC
Practical Counsels For Growing Together With Your Angel
Here are seven practical suggestions. Inasmuch as practical, their efficacy depends on being put into habitual practice.
1. Cultivate a great esteem for the ultimate truths of the Faith: the absolute sovereignty of God, the universal mediatorship of Jesus Christ, the uniqueness of the Church and its Magisterium, and the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. All knowledge depends upon its reduction to first principles; all virtuous action depends upon prior knowledge. These are the first principles of the Faith which should inspire all our actions. This exercise disposes us for the Gift of Understanding.
2. Make of everything you do a sacrifice of love for GOD. Consciously live your baptismal vows, your consecrations to Our Lord and His Mother. Live and renew your alliance with your Guardian Angel, ordering all things to the glorification of the Most Holy Trinity. This exercise will dispose us for the Gift of Wisdom.
3. Conscientiously form and purify your conscience according to the guiding light of the Magisterium of the Church. Be prompt in the execution of your duties, particularly those of your state and station in life. If we are faithful in little things, greater gifts and lights will be given to us. The works of mercy are also particularly appropriate to disposing ourselves in docility to the Gift of Counsel.
4. Order your ‘steps’ in the footsteps of Our Lord. On the tomb of a Prior of the Order of Holy Cross was written the epitaph: “He never took a step that was not directed to the honor of God.” When exhumed, they discovered that his legs were incorrupt. This may seem easy, but it is the battle against character faults, habitual venial sin, concessions to comfort, to human respect. It is the path of sincere self-discipline in which we never lose sight of the goal nor take any illicit detours. We cannot deviate from the example of Christ without losing the hand of the Angel. Hence, those who are shy of sacrifice will never develop a deep friendship with their Angel. The Cross looms on the horizon of this counse, which disposes us for the Gift of Science, the science of the Life of Christ.
5. Make an effort to be genuinely kind and patient. Kindness is the trait of generous love that willingly exceeds the demands of justice. Hence, it is a divine virtue. Patience, ‘hard thing,’ is literally the willingness to suffer. The LORD said to St. Catherine of Siena: “Divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul choose to love Me) it should choose to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said” (Dialogues, ‘On Providence’). Since the Angel is commissioned to lead us to perfection, there can be no sustained collaboration nor any significant intimacy with him except we be resolved to cultivate these virtues in us, which dispose us for the Gift of Fortitude.
6. Walk constantly in the presence of God and your Angel. This cultivates in us the habit of recollection, of holy reverence. Only those who are habitually aware of the presence of God can spontaneously judge all things in the light of eternal values. This state of recollection, the foundation of the spiritual life, is an habitual state of contact, of conversation with the Guardian Angel. To acquire it we need the humility and readiness to start over hundreds of times each day. This exercise will dispose us for the Gift of the Fear of the Lord.
7. Rejoice in the Love of the Father, in Christ’s personal love for you, in the sanctifying, loving presence of the Holy Spirit. Reflect frequently upon our Lord’s love for you, upon His insatiable thirst to be able to communicate Himself more perfectly to you. Let your heart be enkindled with the Love of Mary, your Mother, and the love of your Guardian Angel. Consider that only you can satisfy their thirst for your love. There are no substitutes for a flaming heart. It cannot be held back, it will accomplish great works in the fiery love of the Gift of Godliness.
Guardian Angel Experiences from Members of the Work of the Holy Angels
“…As I silently prayed to my Angel, the car righted itself.”
A lady recalls: “One evening during the Christmas season a few years ago, I was invited to a co-worker’s home for dinner with his family. My friend at home showed me the directions on the map so as to assure I would not lose my way since it was quite a distance to travel.
When I started out after work, it was raining which soon turned into snow and was quickly accumulating. I prayed a rosary along the way. As I neared my destination, I crossed an intersection and suddenly realized I had to turn right at the next corner which was very close. I turned the wheel quickly and started to skid. I was heading right for a residential light pole on someone’s lawn. Some safety instructions popped into my mind, ‘turn your wheel in the direction you wish the car to go to.’ I turned the wheel hard as far as it would go. As I silently prayed to my angel, and headed for the pole, the car ‘righted’ itself. (It was as if it was picked up and turned). I continued very weakly to my destination.
When I returned home that evening, very reluctant to tell my friend of my ordeal, she told me first that she had sent her Guardian Angel to accompany me. I have shared this wondrous experience with many people.”
“…I am deeply grateful that my Guardian Angel prompted me to move my car from the original space I had taken.”
Another lady relates: “On October 2nd, 1989, Feast of the Guardian Angels, I went to Mass and asked the Angels to protect my family and me.
At 11.30 in the morning, my sister and I went to a restaurant in a shopping mall, to meet our brother and his wife for lunch. After I had parked my car, I felt an urge to move it to another place – – and did so.
About an hour later, when we had finished lunch, there was a big commotion outside, with the fire department, police cars, and an ambulance arriving at the parking lot.
When we came out to investigate, we saw that the car parked in the space I had first chosen and then vacated — and several cars adjacent to it — had been smashed by a drunken driver.
I am deeply grateful that my Guardian Angel prompted me to move my car from the original space I had taken.
My husband and I say the prayer to our Angels every morning and night.”
“Develop a strong familiarity with the Angels; learn to frequently see them invisibly present in your life. And especially honor and revere the Angels of the diocese where you are, the Angels of the persons with whom you live, and especially your own. Call on them often, praise them regularly, and make use of their aid and assistance in all your affairs, both spiritual and temporal, so that they might cooperate in all your undertakings” (St. Francis de Sales).
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