Monday, October 23, 2017

Guardian Angels and Heavenly Intercession

I have been very busy with life so I haven't had much time to blog, but I do have a few interesting posts in the works that I think readers will enjoy. Until I get the time to post them, I'll post this brief reflection on the reality of Guardian Angels and their relation to Intercession. 

In Matthew 18:10, Jesus says: "Beware of despising one of these little ones; for I say to you that their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven." In this passing verse we see an affirmation of something most of us hardly ever think about: the reality of guardian angels, at least for believers. The implications of such a reality are actually quite astonishing when you think about it: you have a spiritual being assigned to assist you on your salvation journey. 

Many interesting other insights arise once you recognize this basic truth, and some significant issues arise for the Protestant tradition (which typically neglects the issue of guardian angels entirely). Having a Guardian Angel means you aren't alone, and in God's best judgment, you need this angel to help you navigate life. That's a major swipe against the Protestant notion of Salvation by Faith Alone and Eternal Security, for it suggests your journey is dangerous and thus you need heavenly assistance. This would hardly be necessary if your salvation were secure. Furthermore, the angels here are described as 'beholding the Father's face in heaven', which means the Guardian Angel in some sense is constantly reporting back to God and receiving instructions of how to proceed. This is the essence of the Catholic dogma of intercession of the saints in heaven. A Protestant might say the angel cannot communicate with you. But it would be kind of silly and nonsensical to think the angel couldn't hear you if you called out to it, especially for help, and there are instances in Scripture where angels have conversations with men (e.g. the Annunciation). A Protestant might further object and say this only applies to angels but not to saints in heaven. Well, at that point it just seems even more desperate, for the essential matter is affirmed - i.e., heavenly intercession, without undermining Jesus' mediation - and so the Protestant would be forced to say the saints in heaven are effectively unconscious, rather than the reality, which is that the saints in heaven are more alive than ever and are rejoicing along with the angels. Also, if "little ones" here refers to children, which 18:2-6 strongly suggests, then this verse would be an implicit testimony to Infant Baptism, as it would mean these children would have to be members of God's Church family in order to have their Guardian Angel, rather than having to wait until they are older to "accept Jesus for themselves".

Lastly, a recent Protestant convert to Catholicism pointed out a particular irony in the very famous "Doxology" which most Protestants have historically enjoyed praying: "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." What else would "praise him above you heavenly host" mean except you praying to angels/saints? It is biblical after all: "Praise him all his angels, praise him, all his host!" (Ps 148:2) It seems like Protestants just don't think things through.