Ex 23, 20-23
‘Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to guard you as you go and bring you to the place that I have prepared. Revere him and obey what he says. Do not defy him: he will not forgive any wrong-doing on your part, for my name is in him. If, however, you obey what he says and do whatever I order, I shall be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. My angel will precede you and lead you to the home of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, whom I shall exterminate.
The angels are not only our wonderful protectors, but also our friends and brothers! As we usually do not see them, we become more aware of them when we learn about their protection! However, some people maintain a very conscious relationship with their guardian angel and notice his companionship not only in exceptional cases, but in a great naturalness of the faith!
If we allow the above text to enter into us, then he will tell us something very essential about the angel accompanying the people of Israel, which then also applies to our personal way!
The angel is one who precedes us, a messenger of the Lord, who explores the ways for us, how sure they are, which path to choose, to get where the Lord sends His people! But this is not an earthly messenger whom we confide in, but an angel who infallibly knows the ways of the Lord! The faithful angels possess an complete vision of God, so that all the graces that God gives them for their mission come into effect without any weakening, for in the angel the name of God is present!
Important is the hint that the angel can not stand it when the people revolt! This is related to his love for God! Love burns so strong in the angel that every resistance to God in him becomes an unbearable spiritual torment. A reflection of this is found in the biblical reports that the Jews tore their clothes when God was insulted!
Let us also remember that in eternity we can only be with God when we are fully purified, for nothing unclean can reach the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Rev 21,27)! Nothing can endure that stands against the burning love of God! The light of the whole vision of God does not tolerate the slightest darkness!
We humans can always rely on God’s mercy if we repent, repent of our sins and change our lives. Certainly God’s love is patient, yet we must not overlook the price God has paid in his love for us! All the sufferings of the Son of God for our sins testify of God’s love and the severity of sin. The unimaginable anguish of Jesus, who has endured all these rejections of God by men, must have provoked a burning pain in him. Therefore, it is right to remember, in the contemplation of the Passion of Jesus, that not only blinded men of that time crucified the Son of God, but that this is done anew by the daily sins we commit!
In order to understand our guardian angel in his inner life, it is good to visualize within ourselves the working of the Holy Spirit, whom we can rightly call „the Lord of Angels“! Let us remember: He is the love between Father and Son, which is poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5,5). As he performs our sanctification, he wants to transform everything within us to cleanse, enlighten and unite our soul with God! Not without reason we use both the image of the dove and the fire to express the working of the Holy Spirit. While the dove is more for the gentleness of the Holy Spirit, who enters our soul in this way, we can understand the burning love as the fire!
The fire of love or the light of the Holy Spirit is not compatible with the darkness of sin, the fire wants to destroy the sin in us! Let’s think, for example to the working of the gift of the fear of God, which teaches us to avoid everything that could offend God: This gift is, so to speak, a guardian of love in us, who constantly reminds us to pay attention to our relationship with God and not to tolerate anything in the contradiction to God.The more the Holy Spirit works in us, the more we become attentive to the finer impulses and effects of sin in us and to the leading of the grace!
With these considerations let us look again to our guardian angel.
This fire of love is burning without restrictions in him. While we humans have gone through the process of deep purification so that our soul can live fully united with God, this is not the case with the angel! So it strikes him very deep, if we resist him and do not listen to his voice! Since he lives in perfect love for God and accompanies our path in God, it is his great desire that we should listen to God in all things, just as he does himself, that God may be honored and glorified, and that we may reach our goal!
So in God’s guardian angel, we have received from God a friend and companion who burns in love and seeks our personal salvation! If we listen to his voice, then he will accompany us safely through this world, which too often is far away from God! The Angel will lead us to the promised land.