THE ANONYMOUS ANGEL
“For an angel of peace, faithful guide and guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask the Lord.” (Litany of Supplication, Byzantine Liturgy)
This petition reminds me to ask for, rather than take for granted, the invisible, intelligent being called here “an angel of peace,” a.k.a. my “guardian angel.” I am thus reminded that this invisible “someone” is given to me by God, to look out for me, as it says in the Psalm: “…for to his angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways.” (Ps 90/91: 11)
This “angel” is not only a “guardian of my soul and body,” but also a “faithful guide,” because he is God’s “messenger” (ἄγγελος in Greek means “messenger”). He relates to me God’s “messages,” speaking to me in my conscience and in other ways, when I am open to “hearing” him. Now, we may often forget about our “faithful guides,” and many people have trouble believing in their existence in the first place. Nonetheless, they look out for us and guide us, both invisibly and anonymously. As an “angel of peace,” my guardian-angel doesn’t cease to do what he does, even when he gets no credit for it. There are no celebrities among the “angels,” who belong to the lowest “rank” of the invisible, bodiless powers. We don’t even know the name of the angel who rolled back the stone of Christ’s tomb and related that joyous news to the women, “He is not here; He is risen…” (Mt 28:6). For all we know, he may be somebody’s guardian-angel today, quietly going about, making sure some unsuspecting truck-driver somewhere gets home safely to his wife and children.
Today let me be grateful to God, not only for His subtle guidance and “messages,” which have so often nudged me in the right direction, but also for His “messengers,” the angels. They selflessly, anonymously guide and guard our souls and bodies, even when we don’t notice or thank them for it.