October 10, 2019
Dear Family of Mary!
Our shipmate, Stephanie, felt led to transcribe this homily given in Medjugorje last week on the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels. I am pleased to share it with you now. Something to really take to heart!
Evening International Mass in Medjugorje
Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
October 2, 2019
The disciples came to Jesus and said, who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? So, He called a little child to Him, and set the child in front of them. Then He said, I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me. See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in Heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in Heaven.
Today, the Holy Church places before us, Holy Angels, Guardian Angels. We believe that each one of us, we have learned the first prayer, the guardian angel, and we teach our children always the same prayer. And this is the entrance for our youngest ones. And unfortunately, we very often remain in this childlike state. And the older we get, we are farther we get from our guardian angels, even though each one of us received our own guardian angel.
Very often we, to people who are dear to us, such as a boyfriend or a girlfriend, many times we will say to them, my angel. Or we will call each other angels. When someone does good to you, you will say that that person is good just like angel is. We compare people with angels, such as when someone is good; when someone is noble; when we love someone; when we wish to express to someone some sort of special connection.
And unfortunately, as I said, as we get older this connection with the guardian angels seems to grow weaker. When we were children, very often we would mention angels, we would pray to the angels. But the more we mature; it is as if we have left the angels to the children. As we leave childhood, we place the guardian angels in the category of a myth, as if that is the story of a child. It no longer is affects us.
And I wonder why that is the case? Perhaps because we are enslaved by this material world. We are enslaved by materialism. And the angels cannot be in the material world, because they do not come from the material world. We do not have enough faith. There is no room for angels. If we do not have enough spirituality and connection with God, we cannot believe in the angels. Somehow, we have been enslaved with our earthly reality, and there is no room for our angels. Where there is no faith, there is no room for the guardian angels either.
And we all know how children are curious. How children are full of questions. They always ask why this, why that? Why this is like this? They want to know many things. And the older we get, the less we ask these questions.
I’m teaching high school religion classes, and I asked the seniors which topics they would like to discuss, what are they thinking about? They said, well, we don’t care. Ok, is there a topic that is maybe part of our program, maybe something wider; would you like to talk about that? What topic would that be? They answered, we don’t have a certain topic. Is there anything in this world that you’re interested in? Not connected to the religious teaching, not connected to religion, to faith, anything. Is there anything that interests you? But, unfortunately, this society is surrounding us with young men and women who are not interested, they don’t worry about many things.
And if we love someone, we want to learn about them. If we care about someone, then we want to learn. If I love someone, then I will give him time, I will give this time to get to know this person. And if people are not interested, if they are indifferent, then this is not good at all. Because what is opposite to love? It’s not hatred. It is indifference. When you don’t care. When you don’t care about anything. When you do not care about good or evil. When you do not care about life, nor about death. Perhaps this is the greatest spiritual death, not being interested, indifference. It is a great illness today.
What and who are angels? The word angel means, “the messenger”. Angels are pure spirits. They are perfect creatures of God, enriched with reason and with free will. They are immortal. They cannot be changed. And to our human physical eyes, they are invisible. And as such, they reflect the image of their Creator. They are not bound by the laws of decay. And the angels are concrete creatures of God, throughout the all of eternity, they praise their Creator. And they fulfill His teachings and intentions.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks about angels. From childhood to death, human life is surrounded with their protection, with their intercession. And every person has a guardian angel as the shepherd to lead him into life. And after our earthly Christian life, according to the faith, each faithful person participates as a companion with the angels and with people who are united with God.
Angels are spiritual creatures, the Catechism says, that constantly praise God, that serve God and His saving teaching, according to the other creatures. The angels cooperate with what is good for us. They surround Christ, their messenger. He in a special way is serving us in expressing His saving mission towards people. The Church honors angels who on our earthly journey help the Church, and who protect every human creature. This is what is written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And it says that about the angels.
And we know they serve, we have heard in the gospel and in the readings that throughout the Holy Scriptures the angels are mentioned. There is a story in the parable of a woman who lost a coin, and she said “rejoice with me, for I have found this coin that I had lost. And so, there is a great joy before the angels of the Lord for one converted sinner.” And today we already had in the Holy Scripture this instance when Jesus says, “See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in Heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in Heaven”. Throughout the whole scripture, the Holy Scripture, we have this witness!,
What would be the service of angels? What is their mission? Our guardian angel participates in the voice of the conscience. It is the voice of conscience that encourages you to good, to do something good; that you may decide for the good thing, that you avoid evil, that you avoid sin; that encourages you to be noble, and that leads you to the truth. It is the inner good voice, that helps us to be better people. The angels, as the name says, are our guardian angels.
So, there is an interesting story that was witnessed to us by Holy Father Pius IX. While he was an altar boy, Holy Father said, during the Holy Mass, he started to feel this anxiety, and he was able to see on the other side of the altar, a beautiful young man who was calling him to come closer. So, at first, he did not respond to that. But this young man was not giving up, and he was calling him to come to the other side of the altar. And so Holy Father Pius who was a boy back in those days, he went to the other side. And just as he moved to the other side of the altar, this young man was no longer there. And in the place where Holy Father had been standing, at that moment, a statue fell. The statue fell on that very spot. And this was the concrete testimony of how God through his angel, saved his life. He preserved the Holy Father while he was an altar boy and demonstrated such a concrete depiction of God’s love that works through His angels.
I do not know whether we are aware of that, but our guardian angels are with us in every moment. And with my students, I was commenting that the other day. So, I asked them, are you aware that this guardian angel literally is, in every moment, next to you? Imagine if you’re doing something that’s not right, if you are in the middle of a sin, how this angel feels uncomfortable? And Mary maybe sometimes is even ashamed of us? And how we need to witness that to ourselves, that that angel is present in every moment. And when we are in his company, when we are alone, when we are in solitude, that this guardian angel is here with us. He looks at us while we do something bad, he is trying to give us advice – don’t do that! — he encourages us in every moment to do good.
And in the end, perhaps the saddest thing is that we don’t make use of everything that the Lord gives us. The Lord has given us each a guardian angel. They are not the angels that we imagine – little, fat children who are playing violins and running around. These are spiritual creatures that are here for the spiritual battle, for our spiritual fight, spiritual creatures that help us. Angels are without bodies. But we cannot imagine them in that way, we must imagine them with bodies. The wings mean that they are not on earth. That they do not come from the earth. With their wings, they are above this earth, they are the symbol of Heaven. These are the spiritual creatures that can help us in our spiritual battles.
And so, it is a pity that we do not pray to them, that we do not make use of this gift that the Lord has given us. It is the same as this. Imagine you had a pharmacy next to your home, but then you died. And you could have taken a cure from the pharmacy. Each one of us, we have the Holy Bible, we can read Holy Bible. But no. The Bible is just collecting dust. We have so many good books that we could profit from. We could learn from. But unfortunately, we don’t feel like doing that. And the same is with guardian angels. The Lord sent us guardian angels to help us on this earth. To help us in our spiritual battles that are many, and we know that ourselves.
So, let us pray at this Holy Mass, that we may put into life this heart of ours. That we may encourage ourselves – that we may start praying to our guardian angels. This is not a story for children, but this is something concrete. This is not a fairy tale, but this is our reality. Because the spiritual world is much wider and more real than the material world that we live in. Let us pray at this Holy Mass that we may make use of the things that the Lord has given us. And, first, that we may start to pray to our guardian angels. That they may carry our prayers to the Lord. That they may help us in our spiritual battles. Amen.