At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The first prayer my dad taught us as boys was to our guardian angels. Kneeling at our bedsides, I always felt comforted praying to angels who watched over and cared for us.
Guardian angels guide our good behavior and help to protect us from evil. They have a long tradition in the Catholic Church, and since the 17th century we have observed a feast day for them every October. Even as an adult, I still pray to them before I go to sleep.
Why is this? I’ve certainly memorized longer prayers as a Jesuit and studied more “grown up” ways to pray. But sometimes the simplest prayers hold in them great power. They are often the first “lifelines” we were thrown in the faith, usually by beloved parents or grandparents, and they can still connect us truthfully to the childlike wonder and humility Jesus underlines as so important to his disciples in today’s Gospel passage.
With a the clear eyes and faith of a child, let’s thank God for the angels in our lives today!
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently starting his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.
—Guardian Angel Prayer
Please share the Good Word with your friends!