Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The Power of Christ Compels You
We've been discussing short problem solving prayers all week and I have to admit I'm a little bent out of shape over the Guardian Angel prayer.
"Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen."
I have always loved the Guardian Angel prayer. It's a beautiful simple prayer, easy for a child to remember. Moreover, it helps a child remember that he has a Guardian Angel always watching over him. We like this.
Every single person has a guardian angel watching over them 24/7. It's the guardian angel's job to keep you out of trouble and keep you from harm.
We're not sure how this works, what with free will and all. Your guardian angel must keep you safe from all harm that is not God's will. If the bus is coming and God wants you to get hit by the bus, your angel will have to watch to watch helplessly from the curb.
Otherwise the angel (who is not a he or she!) is on the case.
One of readers has expressed that her children say this as a bedtime prayer and mentioned that the children pray to their guardian angels. I reminded her that we never pray to anyone but God. Or Jesus. Jesus is God, so no problem either way. The idea that the children were not supposed to pray to their guardian angels, when this is clearly what they are doing, perplexed her.
It is perplexing.
Here's how it works:
The Ground Rules:
1. We never pray to anyone but God.
2. When we "pray to" Mary and the saints we aren't really praying to them, we are asking them to intercede for us. It is exactly the same as asking me to pray for you, or you to pray for me. Period.
My I take a moment to express how my teeth start to grind and my hair hurts when I'm told by some separated brethren, nose pointed upward, that they only pray to God and that we are wrong to pray for the intercession of anyone. I will never believe that these people don't go around asking other people to pray for them, silly things. They will ask for MY intercession, but to ask for Jesus' mom's intercession is silly? Okay, that makes sense, poor crazy thing.
Back to the problem at hand. It may seem like we're praying to St. Anthony when we ask him to find the keys but we know we're asking him to ask God to help us. The saints are helpless, really.
So that's really the deal with the Guardian Angel prayer, too.
"Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide...." That's confusing.
We must understand that when we say 'ever this day be at my side' we have to have somewhere in our consciousness that what we really mean is 'on God's behalf' or 'as is God's will'.
"to light and guard to rule and guide"...according to God's will, with the power of God.
It's a real hair splitter.
But we're Catholic. We love nothing more than to split hairs. We can do it standing on our heads.
Perhaps it's a good idea for the children to get used to that at a very early age.