Meditation: Why does Jesus warn his disciples to "not
despise the little ones?" God dwells with the lowly and regards them
with compassion. His angels watch over them as guardians. "For he
will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalm
91:11). God has not left us alone in our struggle "to refuse evil
and to choose good" (Isaiah 7:15). The angels are his "ministering
spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain
salvation" (Hebrews 1:14).
The angels are God's messengers and protectors for us
Scripture is full of examples of how the angels serve as messengers and protectors. When Peter was chained in prison and kept under guard, an angel woke him in middle of the night, released his chains, and brought him safely out of prison, past several guards and through locked gates. When Peter realized he wasn't dreaming, he exclaimed: "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me" (Acts 12:11). When Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions, an angel protected him from harm (Daniel 6:22).
The angels show us that the universe is
spiritual as well as material
John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), an early church father and renowned preacher, compared the guardian angels to the troops garrisoned in cities on the frontiers of the empire to defend it from the enemy. Basil the Great (329-379 AD) said, "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Angels ministered to Jesus after his temptation in the wilderness and during his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). The angels will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgment (Matthew 25:31). The angels show us that this universe which God created is not just materialistic.
The devil seeks to destroy us
The fallen angels (Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelations 12:9), described in Scripture as evil spirits or devils (Mark 5:13; Matthew 25:41), seek our destruction (see 1 Peter 5:8). If they cannot persuade us to disown our faith and loyalty to Christ, they will attempt to divert us from doing the will of God by distracting us with good things that weigh us down or make us indifferent towards the things of God.
God provides us with spiritual protection from the evil one
God gives us the help of his angelic hosts and he gives us spiritual weapons, the shield of faith and the breastplate of righteousness (see Ephesians 6:1-11), to resist the devil and his lies. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we, too, join with the angelic choirs of heaven in singing the praises of God. Do you thank the Lord for his guidance and protection?
"Lord Jesus, you are our refuge and strength. May I always know your guiding hand and the help of your angels in protecting me from all that is evil. Give me strength of will and courage to refuse what is evil and to choose what is good."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/