Before I learned any of the prayers that are at the heart of my Church practice, I knew I had protection from heaven each night while I slept because of the simple prayer that helped me close my eyes in trust. You may have learned it too. In a sing-song voice to that matched the rhythm of the words, countless young people repeated night after night:
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this night be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.
Some of us repeated the prayer upon awakening, grateful for having survived the night and wanting to keep the protection going throughout the day. It was simple. Just one word (changing “night” to “day”) gave us continued peace and safety from harm.
These days there are workshops galore for people whose connection to the spirit realm has endured and deepened into adulthood. There are books written about angels, especially the “big three” archangels: Gabriel, Raphael and Michael, named in Scripture and revered for particular reasons: Michael for protection from evil, Gabriel as a messenger of Good News and Raphael, known for mercy and healing (esp. of Tobias’ blindness in the Book of Tobit). In a simpler and more elemental way, however, people still have confidence in God’s care, often manifested as a belief in a personal Guardian Angel.
This is what we celebrate today: faith in the kind protection of a God whose attentiveness to us is personal and loving. Today might be a day to reflect on those persons in our life who have been “angels” for us in God’s service and to thank God for what we cannot see with our human eyes but still perceive in our experience of comfort, protection and – best of all – love.