Angels, guardian angels, Miracles of the Saints, Preparation For Death, Visions of the Saints

St.Benedict’s Apparition of Angels

In Book II of the Dialogues of Saint Gregory the Great we find the life of Saint Benedict the Abbot (circa 480-547) narrated, that besides being the founder of the Benedictine Order he is also the Patron of Europe.

There is a celebrated episode in which the Saint sees some Angels taking the soul of Bishop Germanus of Capua to Heaven right after his death. “One evening, while the brothers were sleeping, Benedict prolonged the vigil waiting for the nocturnal prayer while standing and praying near a window. All of a sudden, focusing his eyes on the deep darkness of the night, a light flooded from on high and escaped the dense obscurity and diffused a clearness so intense that it was brighter than the light of day. In this vision came a marvelous phenonomen that he himself tells: the entire world, caught under a single ray of the sun was put before his very eyes. While he contemplated with his gaze the splendors of that glittering light, he saw the soul of Germanus, the Bishop of Capua, transported by the Angels held in a fiery globe.

“Wanting therefore to have testimony to this marvelous prodigy, he called out in a great voice, repeatedly, two or three times, to Servandus, the Deacon and Abbot of the Monastery. Struck by the unusual screams of this man, he quickly ran to him, he looked at the sky and he could see with marvel the last of the marvelous light which was getting weaker, while the man of God contemplated the story of what he had seen bringing out in him a profound stupor for the great miracle. He sent a messenger right away after that to Cassino to the monastery of Teoprobo, because that same night he stayed in Capua to find out more about what had happened to the Bishop Germanus. The order was carried out. The messenger already found the most reverend Bishop Germanus deceased, and in getting information about the circumstances around his death found out that it coincided exactly at the moment in which the man of God had beheld his elevation to Heaven.

Ultimately Pope Gregory gave the explanation on how Saint Benedict was able to see the entire world before himself: “The soul of the contemplative, rapt in the light of God, is inwardly in itself enlarged above itself, raised on high, it looks to that which is below it and understands how little the world is from the view on high. The man of God, therefore, that fixates on the fiery globe and the Angels that returned to Heaven could not contemplate these things if not in the light of God. If one sees the whole world in front of himself, it is no marvel because high up in the Heavens in the intellectual light, it is a vision of the Creator.

Angels, guardian angels

St.Robert Bellarmine on Our Guardian Angels

Saint Robert Bellarmine

(1542-1621), the great Doctor of the Church,

in regard to the presence and assistance of the Angels to men, he affirms: “The Guardian Angels protect men from physical and moral dangers.Nothing that has to do with men can cease being of interest to them. Everything, in one way or another, regarding our eternal destiny, concerns them: the forces of nature, animal attacks, passions, intrigues, conspiracies, wars, everything can be subject to the intervention decided by an Angel in the moment in which the eternal destiny of God’s friends come into play”.

Saint Robert Bellarmine was born in Montepulciano on October 4, 1542 to a rich family. His mother was the sister of Pope Marcellus II. In spite of his family’s plan for him, he renounced a successful career and in 1560 entered the Society of Jesus. After studying at the Roman College, he specialized in Theology in Padua and in Lovanio. In the first three years of religious life, he suffered from atrocious headaches. In 1570 he was ordained a priest. He was so talented in his studies that the discussion of his thesis in theology lasted three days, admired and esteemed by a vast audience. In 1576 he became the first holder of the apologetic chair of the Roman College, preparing above all, the German and English students that when returned to their countries had to fight in the Protestant Reformation. Among his students was Saint Luigi Gonzaga, who became the spiritual director and would come to aide him in the last moments of his life. From 1592 to 1594 he was Rector of the College. He took care of, first hand, the catechists and he dedicated himself to works of charity, without leaving his studies. Pope Clement VIII, in 1597, wanted him as his theologian, examiner of the bishops and counselor of the then Holy Office. In spite of being ill, he was then called to collaborate in almost every ministry of the Roman Curia, so much so to be defined as “the porter of the curia”. Seeing the ignorance that then ruled in fact the religion not only of the people but of the clergy, he wrote Big Catechism and Small Catechism, that were distributed all over.

In 1599, perhaps in order to get away from Rome during a period of controversy, he was named Archbishop of Capua and made Cardinal by Clement VIII. He remained in the diocese of Capua from 1602 to 1605. When the Pope died, he came back to Rome and became the official theologian of the Church. He wrote numerous apologetic works, pastorals, asceticisms and moral works, among them, “The Disputes on the Controversies of the Christian Faith”. For his apologetic commitments in favor of the

catholic doctrine, came to be known as “the hammer of the heretics”. In the last years of his life he prepared a work titled, “The Art of Dying Well”, on ways to leave this world peace- fully. He was friend and admirer of Galileo, who invited prudence and “is happy to speak of suppositions and not absolutes”. In 1616 he personally notified Galileo of the decree of Tribunal of the Inquisition, which forbade him to sustain as truth the hypothesis of Copernicus. He died on September 17, 1621.

Angels, guardian angels

Angels in the Life of St.Paschal Baylon

He was born in Torre Hermosa, in Spain, on May 16, 1540. From the time he was a little boy he demonstrated a great piety and intense love for prayer and the Eucharist, which then characterized his whole religious life.

As shepherd of domestic herds, and then others, in the solitude of the fields, he dedicated long periods of the day to prayer and meditation. At 18 years old Saint Paschal asked to be admitted into the monastery of Saint Maria of Loreto of the Franciscan Reformed Alcantarine of Saint Maria of Loreto, but he still had two years yet to tend before being granted his wish. His whole life was characterized by a profound love of the Eucharist that he later validated in the Theologian of the Eucharist.

Blessed with much charisma, one day he was witness to a great miracle: Paschal was out in the fields with his sheep and he could not go hear Mass at the Monastery. He waited for the church bell to ring, at the moment of consecration, his strong desire to be present at the sacrifice of the Holy Mass made him scream: “My Master, my adorable Master, oh, if only it were possible to have you here!” Suddenly he saw some Angels kneeling in front of a Chalice with the Blessed Sacrament floating above it. In the Divine Presence of Our Lord, Paschal fell with his face on the ground to adore the Lord. In 1576 the provincial ministry trusted him with the extremely dangerous task of transporting important documents to Paris, risking being killed by the Calvinists. In his trip the Saint was mocked and insulted, and in Orleans, after having a debate about the Eucharist he risked getting stoned to death.

Upon the return of his delicate and dangerous mission, Paschal Baylon composed a small book of definitions and sentences about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and on the Divine Power transferred to the Roman Pope. His favorite motto was “Whoever wants to save his soul, has to have three hearts in one: he has to have the heart of a son towards God, the heart of a mother towards her neighbor and the heart of a judge towards himself”. He died in the monastery of Villa Real near Valencia on May 17, 1592, on the Sunday of Pentecost.

Angels, guardian angels

St.Josemaria Escriva’s Devotion to His Guardian Angel

Saint José Maria Escriváof Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, had a great trust in his Guardian Angel. It is interesting to note that Opus Dei was founded exactly on October 2, 1928, the feast day of the Guardian Angels.

Concerning the protection of his Guardian Angel, it is said that one time, while walking down the street, the Saint was attacked by a stranger in plain daylight. He was grabbed around the neck and risked being killed, if it were not for the interference of a young stranger who caused the attacker to immediately release him. Saint José María attributes the violence to the devil and his rescue to the protection of his Guardian Angel.

His familiarity with his Guardian Angel was so great that whenever he made an entrance, he let his Guardian Angel go first. Similarly, when he greeted someone, he first greeted the person’s Guardian Angel. He recalls that one time, he broke his watch and asked his Guardian Angel to wake him up at a specified time. The Angel faithfully woke him up at the requested time. For this reason, sometimes the Saint called his Angel in confidence “my little alarm clock”.

Saint José María had the habit of dedicating every Tuesday to his Guardian Angel and all Guardian Angels. He writes in his book The Way: “Have faith in your Guardian Angel. Treat him like an intimate friend and he will repay you in thousands of services in your ordinary daily doings.”

Saint José Maria Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain on January 9, 1902. Around 15-16 years old he began to feel the calling to the priesthood. In 1918 he entered the Seminary of Logroño, and in 1920 he trans- ferred to the Seminary of Saint Francis of Paul in Zaragoza. In 1923 he started studying Law at the University of Zaragoza and on March 28, 1925 he was ordained a priest.

In the spring of 1927 he moved to Madrid, where he dedicated himself to the poor and sick, especially the incurable and dying patients in the hospital. He became chaplain of the “Patron of the Sick”, a charitable initiative of the Apostolic Dames of the Sacred Heart, and docent of an academic university. On October 2, 1928 the Lord showed him Opus Dei. On February 14, 1930 he started the apostolate of Opus Dei with the women. In 1934 he was named Rector of the Patron of Saint Elizabeth.

On February 14, 1943 he founded the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, inseparably united to Opus Dei, which allows the ordination of lay people as members of Opus Dei and their incardination to the service of the work. Subsequently, also the priests incardinated in the diocese could share the spirituality of Opus Dei, still resting on the dependence of their respective diocesan order.

In 1946 he moved to Rome, where he remained for the rest of his life. He died on June 26, 1975. Pope John Paul II beatified him on May 17, 1992 and on October 6, 2002 canonized him a Saint.

Angels, guardian angels

St.Josemaria Escriva’s Devotion to His Guardian Angel

Saint José Maria Escriváof Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, had a great trust in his Guardian Angel. It is interesting to note that Opus Dei was founded exactly on October 2, 1928, the feast day of the Guardian Angels.

Concerning the protection of his Guardian Angel, it is said that one time, while walking down the street, the Saint was attacked by a stranger in plain daylight. He was grabbed around the neck and risked being killed, if it were not for the interference of a young stranger who caused the attacker to immediately release him. Saint José María attributes the violence to the devil and his rescue to the protection of his Guardian Angel.

His familiarity with his Guardian Angel was so great that whenever he made an entrance, he let his Guardian Angel go first. Similarly, when he greeted someone, he first greeted the person’s Guardian Angel. He recalls that one time, he broke his watch and asked his Guardian Angel to wake him up at a specified time. The Angel faithfully woke him up at the requested time. For this reason, sometimes the Saint called his Angel in confidence “my little alarm clock”.

Saint José María had the habit of dedicating every Tuesday to his Guardian Angel and all Guardian Angels. He writes in his book The Way: “Have faith in your Guardian Angel. Treat him like an intimate friend and he will repay you in thousands of services in your ordinary daily doings.”

Saint José Maria Escrivá was born in Barbastro, Spain on January 9, 1902. Around 15-16 years old he began to feel the calling to the priesthood. In 1918 he entered the Seminary of Logroño, and in 1920 he trans- ferred to the Seminary of Saint Francis of Paul in Zaragoza. In 1923 he started studying Law at the University of Zaragoza and on March 28, 1925 he was ordained a priest.

In the spring of 1927 he moved to Madrid, where he dedicated himself to the poor and sick, especially the incurable and dying patients in the hospital. He became chaplain of the “Patron of the Sick”, a charitable initiative of the Apostolic Dames of the Sacred Heart, and docent of an academic university. On October 2, 1928 the Lord showed him Opus Dei. On February 14, 1930 he started the apostolate of Opus Dei with the women. In 1934 he was named Rector of the Patron of Saint Elizabeth.

On February 14, 1943 he founded the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, inseparably united to Opus Dei, which allows the ordination of lay people as members of Opus Dei and their incardination to the service of the work. Subsequently, also the priests incardinated in the diocese could share the spirituality of Opus Dei, still resting on the dependence of their respective diocesan order.

In 1946 he moved to Rome, where he remained for the rest of his life. He died on June 26, 1975. Pope John Paul II beatified him on May 17, 1992 and on October 6, 2002 canonized him a Saint.

Angels, guardian angels

Blessed Maria Angela Astorch’s Guardian Angel

Angela Maria Astorch was born in Barcelona in 1592. Having no father or mother she entered the monastery of the Capuchin Poor Clares as soon as she was orphaned.She made her solemn profession on September 8, 1609.

In 1614 when she was just 21 years old, she was destined for the new foundation of the monastery of Saragossa as a teacher’s apprentice, which required nine consecutive years of service. In 1628 she was elected abbess and her position was guaranteed for the following three years. In 1645 she took an active part in the foundation of the monastery of Murcia.

Here she was able to show her great charity and her great faith especially on two particular occasions: during the plagues of 1648 and the great flood of 1651 that destroyed the church and a good part of the monastery. Gifted with extraordinary intelligence, the beatified one from very little showed great maturity. She cultivated the Latin language so much so that she gained admiration of the gifted. She possessed a charismatic knowledge of the Sacred Scripture and of the ecclesiastical writers that she read assiduously. Her contemplative experience was extraordinary. The font of her mystic heights was the liturgy, especially those of the daily Mass. That is why she became known as the breviary mystic. Her piety centered itself above all in the person and mystery of Christ. For many years she was attracted to the active participation in various moments of the passion, particularly to the flagellation, reliving in herself the same pain as that of the Savior. On October 21, 1626, after a long spiritual preparation, out came a pact of love with the Lord celebrating the mystical honeymoon. She died surrounded by a great fame of sanctity on December 2, 1665.

She had numerous encounters with the Angels and in particularly with her Guardian Angel. In her diary we find written a detailed description of the sensations that she felt during her first encounter with her Guardian Angel: “As soon as I perceived its presence, such a change in my spirit came upon me that one could say that I lived within and outside of my own body at the very same time. Infused with great nobility in my perceptions, my heart filled with a sweet sensation of comfort and with minuscule operation it fortified my whole spirit. It left in me such an imprint, a gratitude so humble and sweet that I no longer knew of human weaknesses, all of my passions were gone; I felt such a pureness of consciousness and such a deadening of my senses that I no longer had to fight with these graces the power of such misery.” Just one encounter with her Guardian Angel was enough to completely purify all of those imperfections that normally would require years to purify!

Prayers to the Guardian Angel

O angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in doing good deeds, and set me on the path of salvation. Amen.

O angel of Christ, holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me everything wherein I have offended you every day of my life, and protect me from all influence and temptation of the Evil One. May I never again anger God by my sins. Pray for me to the Lord, that He may make me worthy of the grace of the All-Holy Trinity, and of the blessed Mother of God, and of all he saints. Amen.


Angels, guardian angels

Allie’s Angel

” I saw them with my bodily eyes as clearly as I see you. And when they departed, I used to weep and wish they would take me with them.”

~ST. JOAN OF ARC

When Mother’s Day rolls around, Lynn Levitin of West Bloomfield, Michigan, enjoys every minute of it, for her path to maternity has been more anxious than most. She remembers all too clearly the irrational fear she began to exhibit almost at the start of her second pregnancy; she felt certain that something was very wrong.

“My doctor tried to reassure me that the baby and I were both fine, but there was nothing he could say or do that would put my mind at rest,” she says. There seemed to be no reason for her concern, so there was no logical way to combat it. Eventually, Lynn went through a normal delivery and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she hoped her strange fears had gone. But when little Alexandra was just ten days old, Lynn suddenly “knew” what her unease was all about. “As I was feeding her one night, I looked at our reflection in the mirror. There seemed to be a covering over her, like a gauzy white sheet. I took that vision as a warning-that although she appeared perfectly healthy, she needed medical attention immediately.

Lynn woke her husband, and he reluctantly took them to the hospital emergency room. “The ER staff were extremely kind and thorough, and they ran all kinds of tests, though they had nothing to go on because the baby appeared perfectly healthy. They finally sent me home with the reassurance that all was normal.” But Lynn’s overwhelming feelings of dread and unrest continued.

“Several days later, after talking to her pediatrician for the hundredth time, I took her to the ER of yet another hospital.” The same tests were administered, with the same results. Little Allie was as healthy as any baby could be. This time, however, Lynn refused to sign the discharge papers. “The baby is going to be ill very soon, and she needs to be here when it happens!” she insisted. One of the physicians slipped out to call for a psychiatrist. “Probably a postpartum-induced psychosis,” murmured another. But in the interim, they sent yet another doctor to see Allie.

After thoroughly examining her, he looked at Lynn. “I need you to tell me what is wrong with your daughter,” he said gently. At last! Someone who seemed to take her seriously! But what could she tell him? Lynn looked at the baby, and the baby looked right back. Their eyes locked for a moment, and suddenly Lynn knew. “You need to focus on her abdomen,” she said. “That’s where the problem is.” “Very well.” The doctor nodded. “We’ll do a CT scan tomorrow morning.””No! You have to do it now!” Lynn was adamant. “It’s very late in the day-” “Now!” Tears pricked her eyes. “I don’t think she’ll make it through the night.” Oddly, the doctor complied. Just a short time later, the results showed that Allie was filled with fluid and had peritonitis. Within an hour, she was in surgery, where physicians removed a portion of her colon. But they could not find the source of the peritonitis. “The doctor came out to talk to us, and he gently warned us that she might not live through the night,” Lynn says. “He explained that it was difficult enough operating on a healthy newborn, but Allie was so sick that her resistance was much lower. Yet somehow I knew she would be fine.”

Following a very lengthy hospital stay and recuperation tion period, baby Allie was discharged. “Watch over her closely for the first five years,” the doctors advised. Because they hadn’t found the cause of her illness, they could not be sure it wouldn’t return. However, to this day it remains a mystery. Alexandra developed well, and as she approached her second birthday, she started to talk. But her first word was not mama or dada. It was angel. As her verbal skills developed, she told her family that her angel’s name was Bummer, that he was a very tall man, at least eight feet, and seemed a playful person. “Frankly, I chalked it up to an imaginary friend,” Lynn says, “until odd things started happening in in the house. For example, one day I was looking for a book for my son. I turned the house upside down, but since Allie was only three, I didn’t include her in this search.” While Lynn was still looking, the toddler approached, carrying the book. “Here, Mommy,” she said, holding it out. “Bummer said you wanted this. He told me where it was.”

On several other occasions, Lynn would be in an adjacent room and hear Allie happily chattering away at Bummer. “One day I heard a deep male voice talking back to her,” Lynn says. “I ran into the next room, but she was alone. I thought I was hearing things, until the day my husband came to me and said he heard our daughter talking to someone, and a male voice responding.” And late one night Lynn was reading in her family room when she heard two sets of footsteps running across Allie’s hardwood floors just over her head, and the unmistakable sound of Allie’s giggling. “I couldn’t believe my two kids had gotten up and were playing so late,” Lynn says. But as she reached the upstairs landing she saw her son in his bedroom, fast asleep. Allie, however, was just jumping into her bed, still laughing. “Allie, what are you up to?” Lynn asked. “Bummer and I were playing, Mommy,” Allie reported, “but he told me it was time to go to bed now.” There had been two sets of footsteps, Lynn knew for sure. “We learned to leave her alone during these times, and we respected her visits with Bummer.” Time passed, and one day the family was vacationing in Florida. Allie awakened suddenly, in tears. “Honey, what’s the matter?” Lynn asked in alarm. “It’s Bummer,” Allie sobbed. “He says it’s time for him to go. He’ll always be close by, but …” “Where did Bummer say he was going?” Lynn asked. Allie pointed to the sky. Had it been a dream? No, the little girl was inconsolable, too upset to be comforted. Lynn could only try to distract her. “Don’t be sad, honey,” she said. “Remember, you’re turning five tomorrow, and we’re going to have a wonderful party for you with cake and presents-” And then Lynn remembered. The doctors had told her that her daughter would need to be “watched” for the first five years of her life. And so Allie had been watched, more closely and tenderly than any of them had ever suspected.

Bummer reappeared a few times during that next year, perhaps to ease Allie’s sadness over their separation, and he seems to be quite near the family even now, for Lynn has learned to sense a certain presence. As is typical with children who have these mystical experiences, Allie, now fifteen, remembers Bummer as if in a dream rather than as an actual being. But Lynn knows that he was real. “Many angels probably helped me through that difficult time,” she says. “I know they understand how grateful I am.”

~”Guardian Angels” by Joan Wester Anderson