The Basis for Guardian Angels

Q: Why do Catholics believe in guardian angels? Is there any biblical basis for that?

A: There sure is. For example, if you read Daniel 12:1a, we read: “And at that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people” (RSV, and following). Michael is thus the guardian angel of God’s people (which, incidentally, includes physical and spiritual Israel–the modern Jewish people and the Christian Church together).

Similarly, if you look at Acts 12:13-15, we read of what happened after Peter was miraculously released from jail:

“And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and told that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, ‘You are mad.’ But she insisted that it was so. They said, ‘It is his angel!'”

The early disciples thus expected Peter to have a guardian angel.

But it is not only great nations and great Church leaders who have guardian angels. Even the smallest children have them. Jesus himself warns us: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). We must not mistreat even the most little of our number, for their angels have guaranteed access to God to intercede on behalf of their charges.

Thus the whole range of humanity is blessed by God with guardian angels, from the least to the greatest. Thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“336 From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their [the angels’] watchful care and intercession. [Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Pss 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12; Tob 12:12] ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ [St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29, 656b] Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.”

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