Our Guardian Angels
Console the Poor Souls
Taken from The Guardian Angels, Our Heavenly Companions
One of the most beautiful and consoling features of the Church’s teaching concerning the Guardian Angels is the fact that the mission of the holy Angels does not terminate with the earthly life of their charges, but only upon the entrance into Paradise of those souls committed to their care. Should it happen that at the moment of death a soul in the state of grace is not yet worthy to behold the face of the Most High, the Guardian Angel conducts it to Purgatory the place of its purification and expiation and thereafter is most zealous in procuring for it all the assistance and consolation in his power.
A touching incident is related in the chronicles of the Jesuit Order concerning the zeal of the holy Angels in gathering suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. A holy priest of that order was in the habit of reciting the Rosary every day for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. One day, through inadvertence, he retired without having recited it, but scarcely had he fallen asleep when he was awakened by his Guardian Angel, who said, My son, the souls in Purgatory are awaiting the usual performance of your charity.
In the writings of the holy Fathers it is revealed that the celestial messengers of mercy go even further. They descend to the altars of earth, and drawing the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ from the golden chalices during the thousands of Holy Masses daily celebrated, they shower it like a cool dew upon Purgatory.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was one day transported in spirit into Purgatory. There she beheld, among other things, an immense space filled with flames and glowing coals and, amid these, a great number of poor souls in human form, raising their hands to Heaven and imploring mercy. But all the while their Guardian Angels were at their side, inspiring them with courage and comforting them in the most tender manner.
The Guardian Angels assist with a special zeal, those souls in Purgatory who have been most devoted to them during life.
It is the teaching of some spiritual writers that the Angels inform the suffering souls of the happenings in this world, about which those souls would be concerned. St. Augustine tells us that the departed may be informed by the Angels of things happening in the world, insofar as this is permitted by Him to Whose judgment everything is subject. It is likewise believed that the Angels reveal to the poor souls the benefactors who are assisting them by their prayers, and at the same time urge the suffering souls to pray for these good friends.
As soon as the hour of release has struck for one of the suffering souls, the Guardian Angel of that happy soul is commissioned by God to descend into Purgatory, to open the doors of its prison and to lead the delivered soul without delay into the eternal habitations of Paradise. The good Angel descends with the rapidity of lightning into the dismal prison of pain to carry out the work of release because his love for his cherished ward urges him to liberate the Poor Soul and to lead it to the sight and possession of God. The Guardian Angel is often accompanied by other Angels or by a whole multitude of Angels, and then the entrance of the released soul is truly a triumphant one.
Though the assistance which the holy Angels render to the souls in Purgatory is very consoling, it is to be feared that some persons consigned to the purging flames may be deprived of the aid of the Angels because during life they were not devoted to their Guardian Angel or because they neglected to aid the Poor Souls.
Holy Guardian Angels
Thus saith the Lord God, “Behold I will send My angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be despised, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and My name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to Thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee: and My angel shall go before thee.”