Ask an eyewitness about the Passion

(April 5, 2022) Edward J. Barr – As the Church approaches Holy Week, our spiritual preparations should take on a new urgency.  Before we rejoice in the glory of Easter, we must undergo a deep reflection on the Passion and death of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  The Cross is the sign of our salvation.  The Church’s Good Friday commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and the veneration of the Cross are powerful reminders of that reality.  Throughout Lent the Western Church uses the Stations of the Cross devotion to focus our prayers on the sacrifice of Christ’s final hours.  Yet what was it really like? We can prayerfully contemplate what our Lord experienced, but we cannot truly know.  However, we can ask someone who probably was a witness to the Way of the Cross.  Our guardian angel.

The above statement is certainly theological opinion, yet it is based on sacred scripture and the teaching of the Church.  The existence of spiritual beings we call angels is a dogma of the Catholic Church. Doctors of the Church have written on the subject for millennia, recognizing the numerous mentions of Angels by the inspired writers in both the Old and New Testaments.  Most of the books of the Old Testament contain references to Angels, and these angelic beings are prominent implementors of the Divine plan in the first and last books of the bible, Genesis, and Revelation.  

That angels are key players in sacred scripture should come as no surprise.  The Church teaches that “Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church {CCC}, paragraph 331) The term “angel” is traditionally translated to mean “the one sent,” or “messenger.”  The One who send them is God.  He is who the good angels serve.  The Church teaches that “Christ is the center of the angelic world.  They are his angels…” (CCC 331). The Apostle writes, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” (Heb. 1:6) In fact, one of the most popular theological perspectives on why the fallen angels (demons) rejected God was when they were presented with the reality of the Incarnation.  They refused to serve after learning that God would become man, recognizing that though by nature they are superior to man, by grace man would rise above them, through the gift of the Son.

The reality of guardian angels is evident.  The Church teaches that, “Besides each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life”.  (CCC 336) Our Guardian Angel has a specific mission that mirrors the mission of the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Church – to guide our souls to the Father.  Throughout our life our angel tries to get our attention, to focus on to the good so that we may gain eternal happiness.  What a gift from our God! Jesus Himself informs us about the guardian angels.  In the parable of the Lost Sheep he says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”  (MT 18:10) Our Lord has a special love for His angels. “From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels…. “Again, it is the angels who ‘evangelize’ by proclaiming the Good News of Christ’s Incarnation and Resurrection.  They will be present at Christ’s return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgment.” (CCC 333). Angels were nearby Jesus’ side throughout his entire earthly ministry.

Guardian angels have played a unique role in the lives of many saints.  Luke begins his Gospel with the visit of an angel to Zechariah, St. John the Baptist’s father.  St. Peter experienced angelic deliverance from prison as recounted in Acts, chapter 12.  Arguably the two greatest doctors of the Church, Saint Augustine, and Saint Thomas, wrote on the glories of angels and their service to man.  Other saints had unique relationships with their guardian angels, to include St. Dominic, St. Francis, and St. Paul of the Cross.  The experiences of St. Frances of Rome with her guardian angel are incredible; for decades he was an intimate part of her daily life.  Saints such as Gemma Galgani and Padre Pio provide more recent examples of the deep relationship our angelic guardians desire for us.  They can assist us more if we are open to their guidance.

Our guardian angels have existed since creation and are part of the heavenly host that serve our Lord. They remained loyal to Almighty God and embraced the divine plan of the Son becoming man.  They were present at the Incarnation and will be with Jesus when He comes again.  Given their love of Jesus, it is probable the angels were aware of His suffering during the Passion. Doesn’t it make sense that our guardian angels have unique insight into this transformational event in salvation history?  Doesn’t it make sense that Our Lord would allow our angel to grant us insight into the divine love He expressed in His Passion if it would bring us closer to Him?  Your best friend may have been an eyewitness to the Way of the Cross. Ask your guardian angel to intercede for you so that you can better contemplate what Love did for you on Good Friday.  He will be glad you did. 

Edward J Barr is a Catechist, an attorney, an intelligence officer, and a Marine. He earned a Master of Theology degree from the Augustine Institute. He is currently in formation for consecration to his guardian angel through Opus Sanctorum Angelorum. Mr. Barr is a contributing writer for the Roma Locuta Est blog (www.RomaLocutaEst.com)


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