Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Today’s feast of the Guardian Angles places us somewhere between memories of childhood and the harsh realities of adulthood. As children we viewed the world as a safe and protected place guarded by God’s Angels. As adults we realize that the providence of God and his actions play out on a far more complex field of human relations and natural occurrences. Any discussion of angels is ultimately about God’s action in the world and our faith in that action. Trying to interpret and act on the action of God in our hearts is difficult business but like the image of the guardian angels we hold from childhood that presence is always there.
The great saints always had a devotion to the angels, seeing in them an understanding of the constant presence of God. Ignatius was no different and his devotion to the Angels was rooted in his constant desire to see God in all things and to be in the presence of God at all times.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.