[Guardian Angel, Pietro da Cortona, 1656]
In a recent poll, 69% of Americans believe in the existence of angels. A full 20% believe that they have had a personal encounter with an angel or a demon. More people have personal experiences of the angelic world than might be publicly apparent.
A member of our team said that he was about to go to sleep and felt a spiritual "nudge" to text a friend. He believed it came from his guardian angel. He was hesitant and not sure how the other person would react. He did so anyway and he included a promise of prayers. The friend responded immediately and was very grateful. A grandparent had just died. His friend's text and ensuing telephone conversation was a real consolation. The experience confirmed for the man the importance of listening in prayer to one's guardian angel, who ultimately is inspired by God.
The Catholic Church has long taught that each of us has a guardian angel to guide us throughout our lives on our way to God's Kingdom. In a demonic inversion of the sacred, some occultists posit that you have a personal spirit or a spirit guide. This is a typical deception of the occult- it uses similar phrases as the Church but they mean very different things. Occultists attempt to connect with this guide. But without the sure protections of the Faith, such guides may turn out to be demons.
"J" was afflicted by demons and just beginning the long process of liberation. One night he was visited by spirit who claimed to be his guardian angel. It looked like a good angel. Listening to what the angel was saying, he became suspicious and asked, "Does Jesus love me?" With a look of anger and hatred, the spirit snarled, "No!" He knew it was not his good guardian.
Because of such common demonic ruses during exorcisms, we advise all those afflicted with demons to ignore extraordinary spiritual experiences and to assume they are all demonic until after liberation. Even then, we advise caution and consulting with a trained spiritual director.
Some have told me that they feel confident that they are personally able to discern the difference between a good spirit and a bad spirit. This can be a bit of spiritual hubris. As the Scriptures tell us, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). I have had many people who are convinced that they are receiving special locutions from God, or visions of angels or even the BVM, but are deceived. This can even happen to those who are truly specially gifted.
For example, one gifted person has a bona fide charism of regularly seeing her guardian angel. She related an experience she had:
Late at night, my guardian angel, or at least something that looked exactly like him, appeared in my room. It was odd because previously he had never woken
me up at night. But in my eyes it looked exactly like him so I continued to trust him. I found myself being misled. This “angel” began asking me questions about trust in God. Did I truly have trust in Him? He was saying things like: “If God truly loved you, He would have taken away these torments long ago, what kind of ‘Savior’ is that?” This “angel” also tried to tempt me to stay away from my spiritual director, claiming that if I left and directed myself I would have been in better shape than if I remained under him. In hindsight I should have been more careful and cautious in my discernment of spirits. Changes were made, with the help of my director, immediately after realizing that this was not of God. Now, everything that I was “seeing” was passed by him first; I no longer discerned things by myself.
There is currently a huge fascination in New Age spiritualities and in the occult with angels. But summoning "angels" using occult practices will inevitably lead to disaster. Demons are able to appear to be good spirits and deceive practitioners into thinking they are doing good and invoking good powers. Demonic spirits are masters at deceiving humans into thinking that they are controlling demons when the opposite is the case.
But this should not stop followers of Jesus from developing a relationship with their own spiritual guides- our good angels. Regularly communicating and developing a heart-felt relationship with our guardian spirit is a very good thing indeed.
How to listen to our real guardian angel? The noise of the world can drown out angels' voices. We best hear them when we pray alone and in silence. I find it helpful to pray in front of the Lord reserved in the Church's tabernacle, although our guardian spirit is with us always. When the good angel speaks to us, it is a voice full of God's peace.
How do we communicate with our guardian angel? Normally, angels cannot read our thoughts. But, I have been given to understand that our guardian angel has a special charism from God. When we direct our thoughts to them, they can hear us.
I am edified and encouraged by many moving stories of believers who have been directly touched and guided by these emissaries of God.* I personally look forward to the day when I am able to look directly upon the face of my guardian angel, to give this beautiful spirit my thanks for a lifetime of guidance, and to embrace him with love.
*Have you had a personal encounter with a good angel that you would like to share? Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Our next online deliverance session is Monday, September 18th from 7-8pm Eastern USA time. Register at: https://www.catholicexorcism.org/event-details/sept-18th-online-deliverance-prayer-session.