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Good evening Father Angelo,

I know that we all have a Guardian Angel (it is a truth of faith) who has the task of protecting us, helping us, and interceding for us. I wonder why there are so many prayers to the Guardian Angel if his task is precisely to protect us. That is, it’s like I had a bodyguard paid to protect me… What sense would it be asking to protect me if that’s his job?… Wouldn’t it be superfluous since he’s only doing his duty? That is, it seems useless to ask the Guardian Angel to protect me and help me… When he has the task of doing so!
The same discourse could extend to the patron saints… If they have the duty to intercede for us, what sense does it make to ask them with prayer? I don’t know if I was able to explain my perplexity well!


Answer from the priest

Dearest son,

1. What you say about the Guardian Angel, you rightly then apply it also to the intercession of the Saints.
One could go a step further and say that the same discourse also applies to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to Our Lord Himself.
Why does the Lord ask us to pray if He follows us uninterruptedly, if He is our Father and does not even allow a hair of our head to fall to the ground without His will?
Yet is the Lord who urges us to pray. Indeed, He commands us to pray.
In the Sermon on the mountain He says: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. Because whoever asks receives, and whoever seeks finds, and to whoever knocks it will be opened” (Mt 7,7-8).
He also commands it through St. Paul: “I therefore want men to pray in every place, raising pure hands to Heaven, without anger and without controversy” (1 Tm 2,8).
He also teaches us to ask in the right way and that is in His name. During the last supper He said: “So far you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (Gv 16,24).
He also asks to pray uninterruptedly: “He told them a parable about the need to pray always, without ever getting tired” (Lc 18,1).

2. Regarding prayer, we must be certain of one thing: that our prayers do not serve to make our needs known to God, the Blessed Virgin, our Angels and Saints.
They know them infinitely better than we do.
If we are asked to pray it is because we dispose of our hearts to receive the gifts that God wants to give us to use them well, in a holy way.
This is why St. Augustine says that “the reasonable creature offers prayers to God… to build himself, not to instruct God” (De gratia N. Testam., 29).

3. The Church reveals to us the meaning of prayer made to God through intercession of the Saints in a verse of the liturgy: “ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi” (so that we become worthy of Christ’s promises).
When do we become worthy of Christ’s promises?
When we humbly pray, as the tax collector did in the temple, as the Lord recalls in the Gospel: “But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said: «God, have mercy on me, a sinner»” (Luke 18,13).
In our questions we must remember that we are not worthy of being heard because we have used God’s gifts so many times to crucify the son of God again (cfr. Eb 6,6).
This awareness should lead us to a change of conduct.

4. If despite the uninterrupted prayer the Lord does not answer our prayers it means that we are not yet willing to receive the graces that He wants to give us to use them in a holy way or even that what we ask for is not good for us in view of our sanctification.
Sometimes it can happen that the Lord does not listen to us because He wants to give us greater good.

5. Coming now to your explicit question: prayer to the Guardian Angels does not serve to remind them that they must do their duty. They are very eager to do so. They are impatient, it seems, to be able to help us. They go out of their way to do their duty to us.
But our heart is closed to their action, to their dedication. Because of sin we remain closed and impervious to their help.
Moreover, perhaps a thank you never comes from our lips, never a hint of gratitude, never a request for forgiveness for having remained so long closed to their love and their incessant dedication.
And then we expect them to do our duty!
As you can see, it is we who must do our duty by opening ourselves to these messengers of divine goodness towards us.
Our Angels want to help us primarily to grow in holiness.
And there is no holiness if there is no humility, if there is no gratitude, if there is no repentance.

6. I like to remember that in the old Confiteor that was recited at the beginning of Mass, and that now it is not forbidden to recite in one’s personal devotions, the Church taught us to repent even before the Angels because of our closure and our ingratitudes.
Here is the text: “I confess to Almighty God, to the blessed ever virgin Mary, to St. Michael the Archangel, to St. John the Baptist, to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the Saints and to you brothers that I have sinned a lot in thoughts, words, works and omissions. My fault, my fault, my very great fault. And I beg the blessed always virgin Mary, St. Michael the Archangel, St. John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints and you brothers to pray for me to the Lord our God”.
In St. Michael Archangel, who is the prince of the ranks of the Angels, all the Angels are enclosed and in particular our Guardian Angel.

7. Becoming saints is the same as growing in love and communion with everyone.
In particular with those whom God has given us so that with infinite solicitude they enlighten us, guard us, govern us, according to what is disposed of by the paternal love of God for us.
Wishing you to grow in communion of love and gratitude with the Angels, I assure you of my prayers and I bless you.

Father Angelo