Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love
commits me here,
ever this night,
be at my side
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
This was one of the first prayers I learned as a child, and it holds a special place in my heart, probably because I remember my mother sitting at the side of my bed saying it with me each night. But I have to admit that there came a point in my younger adult life when I felt I had outgrown angels. They seemed stuck in my childhood, a remnant of something long gone. And then came the pop culture angel fad. They showed up on everything from keychains to refrigerator magnets and that just made me like the little chubby winged cherubs of coffee mug fame even less.
But then something happened. I don’t know if was age or wisdom or the sudden realization that I could not protect my children on my own, but angels started making their way back into my life. First through my cursory spiritual nod to them every time we got in the car and eventually through my near-incessant pleading with them to watch out for me, my kids and just about anyone special to me, no matter how near or how far. Now it’s not uncommon for me to have a good long heart-to-heart with the guardian angel of a distant friend who just might need a little extra protection here and there. Frankly, I’m sure the angels are longing for the days when I had no use for them. I love knowing my angel is around, and there have been times in my life — however rare they are — when I have sensed my angel nearby.
So today, on this Feast of the Guardian Angels, why not take a moment to reintroduce yourself, if you’ve been out of touch, and maybe teach that old prayer to your children, if you haven’t already.
Speaking of angels, I’ve got two favorite angel-related movies: Wings of Desire and It’s a Wonderful Life, opposite ends of the angel spectrum. Wings of Desire is so hauntingly beautiful. Here’s a great scene from that one:
(The icon at the top of the page was written by Minhhang Huynh, a woman I met when I was on retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee in New York two years ago.)