Who has never prayed to their guardian angel, whether it’s help to pass a test, perform well in a job interview or help us get through the difficulties of life?

Guardian angels were even once featured in one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time.

So exactly who is our guardian angel and does everyone actually have a heavenly protector?

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According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, an angel is a spiritual, personal and immortal creature, with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God without ceasing and who serves God as a messenger of his saving plan. The catechism also states a guardian angel is assigned to protect and intercede for each person.

St. Augustine once wrote that an “angel” is the name of their office, not of their nature. He said if one seeks the name of their nature, it is “spirit,” if seeking the name of their office it is “angel.” He explained “spirit” is from what they are and “angel” is what they do.

He said angels are servants and messengers of God, because they are the “mighty ones” who herald his voice to the world.

Angels are believed to have intelligence and will, and more perfect than any visible creatures.

The catechism said angels have been present since creation and have announced salvation. They have played significant roles in Scripture including an angel delivering St. Peter from prison in the New Testament.

It is also believed, as written in Exodus in the Old Testament, that the entire nation of Israel was protected by an angel.

Of course, one of the most popular Scripture passages involves the angel St. Gabriel announcing the birth of Jesus.

According to Scripture, angels protected Jesus in his infancy, served him in the desert and even helped him find strength in the Agony in the Garden.

Devotion to angels began with the birth of the monastic tradition, and it was St. Benedict that originally gave it some impetus. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a noted 12th century reformer, was so eloquent in his praise of guardian angels that it helped develop the angelic devotion in his day.

A guardian angel, of which each person has one even if that person is not baptized, is assigned to help them avoid spiritual harm, physical dangers and also achieve salvation.

Always operating from heaven, guardian angels can also help individuals in meditation, mainly by placing holy images in one’s mind, especially if that person asks for assistance. Angels can also help protect demons from one’s mind during meditation.

It is also believed that when the last angel is sent from heaven, it will be assigned to the last man created by God.

The only three angels mentioned in Scripture are St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and St. Michael.

So when we rest our heads down for the night, and our evening prayer is complete, we can rest easy, knowing someone is protecting us.