Today we honor the Guardian Angels who play favorite roles in our religious musings. We grew up on the Guardian Angel night prayer. We have thousands of cherubs decorating our cathedrals. Our obedient children and our beautiful girls are like angels. But, unfortunately we are woefully ill-informed about angels.
This was a favorite day for us in the seminary, for every year we were visited by Father Deggleman from Creighton University, and he would delight us with stories about him and his Guardian Angel. His angel functioned as his private secretary, taking part in all his good deeds.
I must admit that I have not kept up a similar devotion to my Guardian Angel. Through the years I have been so earnest about retaining my consciousness of being in God’s presence, that I have given no thought to my angel being near.
The Bible, while referring to angels has never told us more than that there are such things. A homily like this should stick to what is factually true. So, let’s look at the facts.
Our Old Testament ancestors entered into real history around the year 2200 B.C. when Abraham’s great-grandparents moved up from the Arabian peninsula, settling in southern Iraq at the ancient city of Ur.
Going back beyond them, hieroglyphics and cuneiform records of ancient peoples bring us back another two thousand years. Then, reliable unwritten records take us further back with the ancient peoples of Africa and the Americas.
Now, if the theorizing of paleontologists is correct, most of those ancient peoples believed that one or more gods created our world. They go on then to understand that after creating our world, the gods found us so wicked, that they abandoned creation, taking refuse far above the stars of heavens.
A big breakthrough in that ancient mythology came with Jacob’s dream in Chapter Twenty-Eight of Genesis. While staying with the belief that God kept himself hidden above the heavens, Jacob was let see streams of messengers, with some of them carrying prayers up to God above the heavens, and some of them bringing down answers to prayers. (The word angel is just Greek for a messenger.)
Right down into New Testament times, people theorized that God, never budging from his home above the stars, communicated with us through angels. A big breakthrough came in Acts, 17: 27-28. There we read Paul saying, “God is not far from any of us, for in him we live, and move and have our being.”