ON OUR GUARDIAN ANGELS
Consider first, that this day is set aside by the church to glorify God, and to give him thanks, through Jesus Christ his Son, for that inestimable benefit of his divine goodness, by which he has appointed his heavenly spirits to attend on us and to guard us during this pilgrimage of our mortality, till they bring us home to himself and to a happy eternity. Give ear to the word of God himself on this subject, Ps. xc., ‘There shall no evil come to thee: nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling. For he hath given his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways: in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ St. Matt. xviii., ‘Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.’ Heb. i., ‘Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation.’ Ex. xxiii., ‘Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into that place that I have prepared. Take notice of him and hear his voice,’ &c. Yes, Christians, let us attend to these our heavenly guardians, who are ever inviting us to the love and service of our God, and inspiring us with pious thoughts to this effect; and with their assistance we shall defeat all our enemies, and make our way safely to our eternal country, in spite of all the opposition of hell, according to that of Exod. xxiii. 22, ‘If thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thine enemies, and i will afflict them that afflict thee; and the angel shall go before thee, and shall bring thee into the promised land, the figure of the heavenly Chanaan.’
Consider 2ndly, with St. Bernard, (writing on those words, ‘he hath given his angels charge over thee,’) the wonders of God’s bounty and love for us, expressed in this commission given to his angels. ‘For who is it that has given this charge? To whom? Of whom? And what is the charge he has given? O let us think well of this grand commission, let us lay it up diligently in our memory. Who has given this charge? Whose angels are they? Whose will do they obey? He has given his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways, and to bear thee up in their hands. ‘Tis then the sovereign majesty has given a charge to angels, yea, to his own angels he has given a charge; to these sublime spirits, so happy, so nearly adhering to himself, and to his own domestics he has given a charge of thee. And who art thou? What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou makest any account of him? As if man were not rottenness, and the son of man a worm. And what is this commission he has given his angels concerning thee? Even to be thy guardians. O wonderful condescension! O truly great affection of charity!’
Consider 3rdly, with the same saint, ‘what reverence, what devotion, what confidence, this saying that God has given his angels a charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways, ought to inspire thee with – a reverence for their presence, a devotion for their benevolence, a confidence for their guardianship. Walk cautiously, as having the angels always in thy company; who according to their commission are with thee in all thy ways. In every place, in every corner, have respect to thy angel. Never dare do that in his presence which thou wouldst not dare to do before me. In God then, my brethren, let us affectionately love his angels, that are to be one day joint-heirs with us, but in the mean time are appointed by our Father, and set over us as tutors and governors. What have we to fear under such guardians as these; they can neither be overcome nor deceived who keep us in all our ways; much less can they deceive us. They are faithful, they are wise, they are powerful; what are we afraid of? Let us Only follow them, let us keep close to them, and we shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven.’
Conclude to follow in practice these prescriptions of this great saint; and as he adds in the same discourse, when at any time we perceive a temptation arising, or we are threatened with any grievous tribulation, let us call upon these our heavenly keepers, our guides, our helpers, in due time in distress; and we shall experience a powerful assistance from them, superior to all the powers of earth and hell.