Orthodox America


Our Guardian Angel Speaks  


I sense the greatest joy, says the Angel to my soul, when I see that you, my beloved brother, inspired by pure desires, unswervingly follow the path leading to heaven.  Life is a brief arena; the earth is a dark cradle where a person – from the day of his birth until his death – suffers and lives on bread moistened with tears.  How is that?  You forget about heaven and cling to earthly vanities?  You are captivated by the present moment?  You give no thought to eternity?  Let us suppose that Providence was pleased to grant you a hundred years of life.  What does this number mean?  In comparison with eternity it is a drop in a boundless ocean.  And truly, your days pass rapidly and their end is soon to come.  The last day is already not far off.  But – what is saddest of all – you know neither the day nor the hour when the end of your earthly life will arrive.  Death will come to you when you think not, and will cut the thread of your life just as an arrow shoots down a bird playing in the air.  Nothing is as sure as death; nothing is so concealed from man as the hour of its appearance.

How many more years do you hope to live?  Thirty?  Forty?  You, of course, cannot say this with any certainty.  But of the years remaining one will be the year of your death.  Death watches over you along the course of your life, at that place where you do not expect it, like a murderer lying in wait in a desolate forest to fall upon a passerby; you will go by – and it will strike you in the heart.  Why do you slumber and do not take any precautionary measures?  Why do you not imitate the soldier who, although he does not see the enemy, does not slumber but stands guard at the gate to the city?  He does not slumber so as not to be overtaken by a sudden attack on account of negligence.  Don’t you see with what frightful consequences this unknown threatens you for all your eternity?  We have often seen that a man’s life ends with a light movement of the air, a breath of cold wind, the setting of a sun’s ray, a single drop of water.  Our days, like a shadow, disappear, and glory fades like a flower of the field.  And in this fleeting life you want to secure your hope and your happiness!  You hope to erect a strong building on a foundation as unstable as a river!  What could so captivate and deceive you?  The past grieves you with its memories, the present is heavy with misfortunes.  Do you not see that those hopes which the future used to seduce you have disappeared like a shadow, and just as you drew near to them they dissipated like nocturnal visions upon your awakening?  Lies, deceit, vanity, grief, physical ills – this is the life you love to such an extent that you forget about eternity!  Unhappy is he who sacrifices the future to the present.  Pitiable is that person who, instead of building himself a house in his homeland, builds it in a strange land and does not prepare anything for the homeland in which he is to dwell!  How I suffer to see you earnestly busying yourself in seeking sensual and corruptible things, disdaining the good things of heaven; not only do you subject yourself to the danger of losing these good things, but you willingly strive towards eternal torment!  So it is that a foolish man sells the kingdom of heaven, and he sells it for a momentary pleasure which the devil gives him, scoffing at his foolishness.

 

Sanctify my mind, O good one, and enlighten me, I pray thee, O holy Angel, and teach me to think always positively and profitably. 

Calm my heart from present disturbance, and strengthen me to be vigilant in good, O my Guardian, and guide me miraculously in quietness of life.

Have compassion on me, O holy Angel of the Lord, my Guardian, and leave me not, impure as I am, but illumine me with Divine Light, and make me worthy of the Heavenly Kingdom.

            (From the Canon to the Guardian Angel)

 

When the Almighty sent me to guard over you, He named me Guardian of the Royal infant, who is destined at some future time to rule together with his Father.  I saw on this infant gold apparel adorned with precious stones, and on his head a brilliant crown:  after all, are you not an heir of the heavenly Father and a co-heir with Jesus Christ?  But alas!  What misfortune!  Soon I saw that my young royal son threw his clothing and his crown into the dirt, broke his scepter, offended his Father the King, and gave himself over to His enemy.

Son of the King Most High!  Turn again your eyes to heaven, gaze upon your Heavenly Father, bend your knee before the throne of the Mother of God, look upon the glory of the Angels and that glory which is prepared for you.  Cease, cease at last your foolish concerns over earthly vanities, and strive to be worthy of your high calling.  You are called to reign – begin to reign over yourself, begin to govern your mind and your heart, show your firm authority over the devil, over the world, over your passions.  Are your powers growing weak in the battle?  Remember that in heaven you will rest for all eternity.  You ask:  when will I take pleasure in this rest?  Perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow; one thing alone is certain – it will be soon.  Yet a little while and I shall accompany you to heaven.

 Thus does a Guardian Angel converse with the soul of a man, and blessed is he who listens to the voice of God’s messenger and calls out to him in prayer:

 Guardian Angel!  Rouse my heart with that divine fervor which inflamed the saints who endured all manner of torment and suffering and even death itself with joy.  For this, O my holy Angel, remind me constantly of eternity.  Remembrance of eternity is true wisdom, higher than any human wisdom. It awakens holy desires, enlightens the mind and strengthens spiritual vigor.  But the devil hinders it from penetrating my soul, and when it has penetrated, the enemy tries to darken it.  O Angel of God!  Grant that the thought of eternity should always occupy my mind; then the pleasures and treasures of this world will not seduce me.  I prefer sorrows and downfalls which enlighten and strengthen the soul with grace-filled power.  I shall choose a humble life, far removed from the vanities of the world, where, in silence, eternity will be the subject of my thoughts.  Here I shall use every moment of my brief existence to acquire those riches in which, together with you, I shall delight for all eternity.

 

(Translated from Thoughts of a Christian Dedicated to the Guardian Angel; Jordanville, NY, 1962)  

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