Vacation Bible School this year deals with St. Catherine Laboure, but also deals quite a bit with Guardian Angels, especially at the lower grades.
I think emphasizing Angels with young children is wonderful and the first prayer I teach my children is their Guardian Angel prayer. My son has learned about St. George and the Dragon, but also knows Spiderman, Superman and other super heros. I like to tell him that his Guardian Angel could kick butt on any of the comic book super heros. No matter how cool Spiderman may be, he's no match for a Guardian Angel.
In the time I spent in the Byzantine Catholic Church, it was frequently mentioned to me, since it was obvious I was a Roman Catholic, that the Church of the East was the "Church of Faith" and the Church of the West was the "Church of Rules." And, it was the priest that always pointed this out, kind of like the little brother tired of living in the shadow of his older brother. What he meant was, in his point of view, those not belonging to the Roman Rite took things on faith, where the Roman Catholic Church felt the need to spell things out with papal encyclicals and bulls before people would adopt them and believe in them. So much for all of us being Catholic.
One of the things I always took on faith was the role of the Guardian Angel. When I was younger, a good priest friend of my father's was a strong promoter of the Opus Sanctorum Angelorum, the work of the Holy Angels. He had affectionately named his Guardian Angel, Tyke. Tyke was blamed for a great number of mischievous things, although I doubt it was Tyke who hid Father's glasses, but rather it was Father himself who misplaced them. But, it was the way that Father gently and lovingly spoke of his Angel that made you feel that Tyke was a physical person that joined Father at meal time and was always playing practical jokes.
The Church has not dogmatically defined when our Guardian Angels are assigned to us. I take it on faith that it is the moment of conception. Saint Anselm has said that, "every soul is committed to an Angel when it is united to the body." However, St. Thomas, St. Jerome and other Fathers maintain it is at the time of birth, probably because "during the time of gestation the Guardian Angel of the mother could very well take care also of the unborn child she was carrying" (Beyond Space, p. 113).
I'm not a theologian, it will be challenging for me just to instruct my own children in the Faith, but I believe that a Guardian Angel begins his role at conception. That's when life begins. I doubt the Church Fathers and scholars could have imagined that a baby would be in serious danger within its mother's womb, but that's today's reality. I cannot fathom that God in His infinite mercy would not provide these children an angel to watch over them.
As a mother, I feel it deeply and personally that a Guardian Angel is present at conception. When I was so sick with my son during the pregnancy and couldn't sleep or eat, I prayed to my son's Guardian Angel, who I named John after the beloved disciple, to protect my son. My Guardian Angel was busy looking after me, but someone needed to protect my son while I was so ill. During this time, I felt my constant companions were my angel and my son's.
My daily offering is given to my Guardian Angel to take to the altar in Heaven. When I ask for intercession, my litany of intercessors always includes the Guardian Angels. I bring my Guardian Angel to Mass with me and envision him kneeling along side me. Like the Byzantines, I take this one on faith.
To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.
~Cardinal John Henry Newman
2010 Cannonball Award
Father Solanus Casey
"Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together." ~Benedict XVI
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Fides et Ratio Encyclical
Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.
Thank you everyone that voted for the Kneeler at the Cannonball awards!!
Words of Father Corapi, for all my politician friends and relatives and those who vote for them
"Catholic office holders, whether presidents, senators, congress men or women, or judges at any level must adhere to Catholic teaching or run the risk of separating themselves from the Body of Christ. In such egregious and chronic cases of gross moral evil such as instituting and perpetuating abortion and the structures of sin that surround it, it is quite probable that such Catholic officials are excommunicated in virtue of the acts themselves. A latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication is likely triggered when they vote for laws, funding, and structures that enable and perpetuate such obvious and egregious evil (Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 1364,1398; Canon 1329, par. #2). They are in turn forbidden from approaching the sacraments as the result (Cf. Catechism of Catholic Church #1463)."
"It is not morally possible for any Catholic to support abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, or same-sex marriage. There are no ways around this, no justifications whatever. Why? For the simple reason that the Church holds these things to be intrinsically evil. They are evil in themselves, and no circumstances or subjective conditions can ever change that."