As a cradle Catholic, I’ve had the privilege of learning about and praying for the intercession of many saints for all my life. Lose my keys again? Calling on Saint Anthony. Test coming up? St. Joseph of Cupertino to the rescue. Pregnancy issues? Alternate between St. Gerard Magella and St. Raymond Nonatus. Husband unemployed? St. Joseph’s novena hasn’t failed. For homeschool issues, St. Anne is my patroness. Persecuted on face-book? St. Joan of Arc. Oh, I need humility here? St. Therese of Liseux, pray for me.
But there are modern day concerns that I’m stumped over which saint to pray to. Such as the problem of quasi-compulsive shopping disorder, which is an honest-to-goodness recurring struggle for me. Last time I hoarded children’s books (which they haven’t all read yet), this time it was buying the shiny pewter sandals at 75% that kicked it off. On the way home, I rationalize that I need a pair in cognac, too. Pretty soon, those nude flats begin to make sense inside my mental shopping cart, and suddenly, I make it my mission to add those black winter boots on clearance for next winter because surely, it’s an offer I can’t miss. Next thing you know, I’ve justified that my closet is not even half the size of Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection, and I’m browsing online to compare prices and promising to return the following day.
Looking through my impossibly fixed bank account, that’s when I know I’m in serious need of heavenly intercessors.
I know better than to ask St. Jude. He won’t be able to relate to the need for another pair of sandals. (If you recall, Jesus clearly instructed them NOT to take an extra pair of sandals for the journey.) I’m embarrassed to ask Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who’s got her hands full interceding for her order and the dying of Calcutta. Ditto for the Blessed Mother. As for St. Pio, the wonder miracle worker, I have a feeling I’ll get a stern answer along the lines of “No Way, Jose!” (or Non e possible, Giuseppe, if the internet translator is correct). And I can forget about asking the Church’s top guy St. Peter during this tumultuous time in Church reform and persecution. He’d reroute me back to sandals on Luke 10:4.
So I turn to someone who’s never refused my soul assistance no matter how silly the prayers are: my guardian angel.
“Please, guardian angel, give me shoes graces to overcome my weaknesses. I want to return to the daily motherly duties of my life without fantasizing about sandals. Enter my thoughts. Surround it with the holy so that temptation doesn’t overcome me. Give me peace.”
I don’t know if my angel finds me an unknown saint up in heaven to help intercede for me (@patron of first world problems) or if he approaches the throne himself or gathers a fleet to vanquish the legion of devils attacking me (#sosangels). But I am sure of one thing: he obtains graces because when I browse the shoe shop the next day, I feel an absolute revulsion for everything displayed on the aisles and a deep remorse for even remotely believing the lie that things of this life can make me happy. So I exit empty handed and head for the grocery next door, where I gladly shop for fruits and vegetables for my family.
Throughout salvation history, we’ve read about how the angels guide us like they did St. Joseph and St. Peter. Angels also minister as pointed out by “Matthew 4: “behold angels came and ministered to him.” Angels protect us as they did Daniel and Philip. Angels guard our souls: “Psalm 91: 11 For He will command His angels to guard you in all your ways.”
The Catechism #336 sums up the role of our guardian angels: “From it’s beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”
“Make yourself familiar with angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you,” St. Francis De Sales advised.
Oh I will; I will, St. Francis. My guardian angel is the patron of spiritual warfare. From here on out, he’s not going to be my last resort when he is the most knowledgeable of all my struggles and the closest one who can answer my pleas for help to, well, anything and everything.