The saints, and ordinary Catholics, bear testimony to the love and power of our guardian angels
As a second-grader at St. Albert the Great School in Dearborn, Michigan, I often scooted over in my desk to make room for my guardian angel. Did he squeeze in next to me? I think so. But where do angels go when we sin and don’t invite them into our lives?
I once asked that question to an exorcist, Father Patrick (not his real name). “The world is engaged in a spiritual battle,” he said. “The angels are part of God’s forces, but they operate under the power of God. If we reject God’s authority over us, then how can the angels help us?” According to him, when we reject God’s laws, the devil easily moves in and has greater influence over us.
“The angels have the power to protect and guide us only when we seek to operate under God’s authority,” Fr. Patrick explained. “If people don’t give God authority, the unholy angels — demons — move in. But I’ve seen changes when God is given authority and angels were able to be called upon again.”
Padre Pio and Msgr. Esseff on Angels
“Invoke your guardian angel that he will illuminate you and will guide you. God has given him to you for this reason. Therefore, use him!” —St. Padre Pio
When he was a young boy, God granted Padre Pio the vision of his own guardian angel and those of others. At times the guardian angel of a person came to him for prayers for that person.
Msgr. John Esseff, a priest for in Scranton, Pennsylvania, ordained in 1953, and an exorcist in the diocese of Scranton for over 40 years, was a spiritual director for Mother Teresa and met Padre Pio in 1959. Msgr. Esseff once shared with me that Padre Pio told him that if he (Msgr. Esseff) ever needed help while hearing confessions, to send his guardian angel to him. “And it always helped,” he said.
Why send an angel to Padre Pio instead of to God? “God had clearly shown himself through the gifts of Padre Pio. Just as many saints have had the gift of healing, God chooses to manifest himself through his chosen ones.”
In the book, Send Me Your Guardian Angel, about Padre Pio’s relationship with the angels, Fr. Alessio Parente shared how Cecil Humphrey-Smith, one of Padre Pio’s spiritual children from England, had been badly injured in a car crash. A friend went to the post office to send a telegram to Padre Pio to ask for prayers for Cecil. When he brought the telegram to the desk, the clerk gave him back a telegram from Padre Pio assuring his prayers for Cecil's recovery.
Months later, after Cecil’s recovery, he visited his spiritual father and asked how he knew of the accident so quickly?
“Do you think the angels go as slowly as the planes?” was his reply.
Send Your Angel
A story shared by Paulie Ruby from Minot, North Dakota, in Amazing Grace for Mothers, is testimony to the angels. One foggy morning she heard her son Dan’s truck leave on his garbage route for the family business — Circle Sanitation (for their family circle) — so she hurried to get ready to meet up with her husband on his route.
On this particular morning, I hadn’t gone but a few steps from the house when I froze in terror. The strongest sense of danger I had ever experienced paralyzed me like a statue. I could not move. My mind and heart raced. I had a strong sense that my son Dan was in danger.
I felt panicked and helpless. ‘What could I do?’ My beloved Grandmother Frances’ words came to me. ‘In times of trouble, you can send your guardian angel.’ Frantically I prayed, to my angel: ‘Go to Dan. Help Dan!’
Moments later, I was able to take a step. Bewildered, I slowly walked outside the house to the shop. The whole incident baffled me. I decided I had better not tell my husband since I did not really understand what had just happened.
Ray and I hopped into the truck and drove to our destination. ‘This fog is really bad,’ Ray commented as we passed a car in the ditch.
Once again Grandma's influence came through as I recited, ‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph please help him.’
Gradually, the scary premonition faded as the work day got underway. At the end of the day, we parked our trucks in the shop and gathered to talk. My son then related an early-morning experience. While driving toward his route on the four-lane highway, wondering when the fog might lift, he was suddenly overcome with an urge to pull into the other lane. Since there seemed no logical reason why he should pull over, he resisted. Wondering where the feeling was coming from, he looked around for any signs of trouble. There was none, but he could not shake the strong feeling to pull over. Dan finally gave in and pulled over. No sooner had he done that when a vehicle came driving down the wrong side of the road. It sped by him in the lane he had just vacated.’
The time of his dilemma and mine coincided. Was it a coincidence? I do not think so. I think the angel, called on at the prompting of my Grandma’s influence, protected my son, Dan, that day.