Did Jesus Have a Guardian Angel?
It’s an endearing comfort knowing that God has granted us all the gift of our very own guardian angel.
Praying with the angels is a heavenly blessing that even Jesus had. On Holy Thursday, he asked Peter, James and John to pray with him, but they fell asleep. Praying alone in his pain, an angel came to minister to Jesus.
Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:42-44.)
Was that his guardian angel? If Jesus was both fully God and fully man, and men have guardian angels, it’s reasonable to think so. A pious Christian opinion holds that St. Michael the Archangel fulfilled this role.
In the book, Encounters with Angels: The Invisible: the Invisible Companions of Our Spiritual Life, author Odile Haumonte talks about the night of suffering:
His freedom was that of love, and His will was that of the Father. He gave Himself as He had given everything — His heart since He came into the world, His spirit in this night of agone, and finally, His body when dawn would break.
It was then that the angel came to comfort him, while the three apostles did not stay awake to keep watch with him.
“But the angel kept watch,” Haumonte writes, “the luminous angel who brightened the darkness, the pure angel who kept crimes away, the confident angel who pushed away doubts. The angel brought all of God’s tenderness with him and received this yes — I want it — Yours, Yours.”
Haumonte explains that Jesus’ sweat became like drops of blood because his anguish was so intense, yet Jesus forgave his torturers and announced, “It is for this reason that I have come to this hour — the hour of diving into the waters of death in order to get you out of them.”
When the darkest part of the night passed, the soldiers came looking for Jesus. During our own dark nights, when anxiety rages and regrets and fear overwhelm, we can turn to the same angel who comforted Jesus during his night of abandonment. “Jesus has joined us in the deep agony of dark nights,” Haumonte says. ”Before this Good Friday offering and before the Passion and the loud cry on the Cross that snatched humanity from death, there was this night of abandonment when His sweat became like drops of blood.” Haumonte notes that Jesus spent his night of pain in prayer where “His freedom met our anxieties and fears” And so, he says, “The night is gentle for the one who rests in God.”
In His Angels at Our Side: Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and the World, Father John Horgan writes about a devotion to the Angel of Gethsemane:
Our Lord Himself alludes to the great number of angels during His arrest when He tells Peter, ‘Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?’ (Matthew 26:53). One of those angels had appeared moments before that.
He noted that if was once common for Catholic nurses to recite prayers to the angel of the Garden of Gethsemane “so that they could be strong in tending to the patients entrusted to their care, particularly during the long and lonely hours of the night.”
This traditional prayer to the Angel of Gethsemane calls down the grace of God upon those we pray for, through the intercession of the very angel who comforted Jesus on the night of His Passion.
Prayer to the Angel of Gethsemane
O Angel of Gethsemane, chosen by the Father to bring strength and consolation to Jesus during His agony, I ask you to be with me now as I keep watch over my loved one who is sick and suffering. Help me to offer my best care, love and protection to this child of God. May my words and my touch be filled with gentleness, my presence bring comfort, and my prayers bring rest and healing sleep. Do what I cannot do, O loving Angel, to bring healing and strength to soul and body, according to the Father’s will. Amen.
Angels for Children
It’s an endearing comfort knowing that God has granted us the gift of our very own guardian angel. And how lovely it is to speak to children of angels. While they are easily drawn to the idea of unicorns and fairies, it is the angels who are real and with them for a lifetime.
Here are two very beautiful books for children that I read to my grandchildren:
- How the Angels Got Their Wings by Anthony DeStefano, a winsome introduction to the angels as pure spiritual beings of extraordinary power made by God to carry out his will.
- Praying to Holy Angels and The Children's Book of Angels, published by Holy Heroes, offer beautiful reflections and prayers.
All three of these books contain stunning artwork to enthrall children and the adults reading to them too.
There are very many coloring books of angels in the Catholic market so children can make their own works of art while spending time contemplating these beautiful beings. The feast of the Guardian Angels (Oct. 2) is a feast worthy of celebrating for young and old alike. And it’s a devotion that can bring us comfort throughout the year.