Feast of the Guardian Angels

entered into the General Roman Calendar in 1608 by Pope Paul V (made an obligatory memorial in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII)

Dear Dan,

Your problem sets are going to your head.  Too much science, my dear nephew, is not always a good thing.  Remember, before being a scientist, you are a Christian, and before being a Christian, you are a human being.  Human beings need BALANCE in their lives, and Christians maintain that balance by keeping their friendship with Christ in first place.  You, with your all-too-frequent all-nighters in the computer lab, are losing any semblance of equilibrium. That, I surmise, is why you find yourself questioning the existence of angels.

I don’t doubt that your own guardian angel is a bit offended by this affront to his ontological integrity.  Perhaps that’s why you find your honors thesis stuck. I am sure he has been helping you considerably throughout your academic career, and now that you seem to think that you don’t need any help from anyone, let alone the personal angelic guardian that God has assigned you, he has probably left you to your own devices.  To willfully doubt the existence of angels, my overly analytic nephew, is to put your entire faith in danger. The existence of the angels is Catholic dogma. The ancient liturgical celebration in honor of St Michael, and the ancient local practice of honoring our guardian angels in the liturgy (which makes its first official – that is, documented – appearance in Cordova, Spain, in 1579, meaning that it had been in use long before then), give ample proof to the Church’s view on the matter.  Of course, if you were still reading your Bible and going to Mass, you would be running into references to angels all the time. Even Jesus himself references our guardian angels when he warns his disciples: “See that you despise not one of these little children: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

Of course, I could ramble on and on, all about the many instances of guardian angel activity in the lives of the Church’s saints, like the errands that St Gemma Galgani used to send her guardian angel on, bringing messages to her spiritual director when he was on trips to Rome, for example; or the appearances under odd disguises that St Pio of Petralcino’s guardian angel used to take on; or even the time a young soldier’s guardian angel woke him up in the middle of the night, told him to dig a hole, and insisted over and over again that he dig it even when the soldier tried to go back to sleep.  As soon as the soldier finished digging the hole, enemy planes flew by strafing the camp, and this soldier was one of the few who survived, hidden safely in his angelic foxhole.

Normally our angels work less obviously, subtly inspiring us to do good things and avoid temptations, countering the subtle and seductive seductions of their evil counterparts, the fallen angels.  Oh yes, the demons are real as well, not merely an invention of some twelfth-century, pedagogically-challenged Catechism teachers. Have you come to doubt their existence as well? Have you completely bought into the whole materialistic mindset so fashionable among unbalanced scientists?  Well, if you have, I am going to ask my guardian angel to get over there and give you nice big kick in the pants, or maybe make your screensaver go a little bonkers.

Science is good and useful and beautiful, but it’s not worth losing your soul over.  Come back to reality, my benighted nephew, before reality bites back at you.

Your devoted uncle, Eddy

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