We celebrate today, Christian wives and mothers, the feast of the Guardian Angels. The Gospel for this Sunday relates the story of the widow of Naim, whose tears and sorrow induced our Divine Saviour to raise her son to life. Truly, two important points for Christian mothers from which they may learn how to fulfill their calling.
One of the most touching proofs of the sublime providence of God for the welfare of our bodies and of our souls is the mission of the Holy Angels for our protection. It may appear strange to many that the Angels, who by their nature are so high above us, surround the throne of God and ceaselessly behold the face of God, should care for the earthly needs of mankind. But then it must, by far, appear more incredible, that the eternal and immortal God has made not only man but even the worm that crawls in the dust and the grass that grows unobserved in the fields the object of His Providence. Precisely this Providence over all, even over the smallest of His creatures brings the Majesty and Power of God nearer to the heart as to the understanding. Behold, thus increases the dignity of the Angels who, in a certain measure, share the sublime privilege of God in providing for the life of His creatures. And, in fact, the activity of our Guardian Angel is shown especially in the following:
1, they protect us in body and soul;
2, they encourage us to good and keep us from evil, and
3, they assist us in death.
1. The holy Guardian Angels protect us against the dangers that threaten body and soul. The body becomes the object of their solicitude because it is the dwelling-place and instrument of the immortal soul which is, as it were, the sister of the Angels and in the eternity of bliss the companion of the Angels in the beatific vision of God and in the praise of God.
This truth is confirmed in Holy Scripture emphatically, and also in the marvelous saving of so many Christians, especially children, from great dangers. But the soul is, more than the body, the particular object of the protection of the Holy Angels. Our soul is the sister of the Angels who never forget the high price by which they were purchased with the blood of Jesus. The soul is, moreover, the temple of the Holy Ghost, who watches over it. For this reason the Angels watch with such care over the souls confided to their protection. They are careful for the preservation of holy innocence and fight with indignation against the tempter. Our Divine Saviour Himself earnestly admonishes us: "Beware lest you scandalize one of these little ones," that is, lead them into evil "for their Angels behold the face of my Father" they are the accusers of the criminals against childish innocence.
2. But the Angels also encourage us to good and keep us from evil. As often as a good voice is heard within us, behold there is the voice of the Angel who encourages us to good or warns us from evil. If sin has been committed, then the Holy Angel speaks in our conscience in order to induce us to return. Soft and mild is his voice, and if we listen to it, it lisps from the justice and mercy of God. Well for the Christian who follows the voice of the Angel!
3. But the Guardian Angel also assists us in death. As he beholds full of pity the little child in the cradle, just baptized, so he beholds with still greater compassion his protege when attacked by the agony of death. There he appears to the dying, as the Angel appeared to our Saviour in His agony on Mt. Olivet and reached to Him the chalice of strength. The Guardian Angel inspires the dying Christian with contrition and confidence and leads the soul to the judgment of the Lord. Thus, too, you Christian mothers, share with the Angels the privilege to provide for the life of your children. With the Angels, Christian mothers should protect their children from dangers to their bodies and their souls,, encourage them to good and keep them from evil, and if God wills, assist them in a good death. The adults need above all in the manifold dangers of soul the invisible Angel as protector and counselor, but the children need the visible angel in the form of their parents and especially of their mother. Yes, God has placed over the paradise of innocent children's souls the mother in order that she by word and example may cultivate it and keep far from it the poisonous breath of sin. In union with the Angels of God she should stand by the side of the child, in order that in this protecting hand it may not lose the right path through this earthly life.
As the Angel of God battles with the soul of the adults, as soon as it is in danger of giving itself up to sin, so must the Christian mother battle with the weakness, the sickness and the death of the child. She assists the child against the partisanship of the brothers and sisters and against the excessive strictness of the father: she helps him through the gulfs of youthful inexperience and passion and through the different trials of this earthly life. And if the heart of the mother has gone silent to the touch of death, the child still looks back to the memory of her as to a friendly star.
Have you, Christian wives and mothers, after the example of the Angels of God, striven with might and main to be, by word and example, visible guardian angels to your children, and is the success, nevertheless, lamentable: are the grown-up children in consequence of many dangers, of bad example and allurements of the world gone astray, then there remains to the Christian mothers still an example for imitation and a consolation for a better future. It is the widow of Naim, who by her tears moved our Divine Saviour to compassion and to call back her dead son to life.
Yes, verily, the tears and prayers of Christian parents for the salvation and the betterment of their wayward children are not lost, they arise to God and move Him sooner or later to dispense grace and mercy. Therefore Christian mothers, never give up the hope to obtain the betterment and conversion of your sons and daughters. Well for the wayward son, for the wayward daughter, well for them if a Christian mother weeps and prays for them ! But the poorest among all poor children is the one who has no father or no mother to weep over him, for whom no father, no mother moves the Sacred Heart of Jesus to compassion in order that He might stop the funeral procession to open destruction and the child dead in sin be called back to life again.
Therefore, may the mercy of God grant you, Christian mothers, always His grace and His blessing, in order that you may fulfill your dignity and task as visible guardian angels for His honor, for your salvation and for the welfare of your children. And may none of you be placed in the position of the widow of Naim and be obliged to follow your children with a
broken heart, with tears and entreaties. Amen.
Source: The Beauty and Truth of the Catholic Church, Imprimatur 1913