SummaryNeed a little help? In October we honor our guardian angels. Mary Donellan reminds us to involve our often overlooked helpers in our homeschooling efforts.
Guardian Angels to the Rescue
The trees are exploding with color, the wind is tantalizingly crisp, and the world outside the window is doubtlessly winning a lot more points with the children (and the parents) than Warriner’s English.
Most likely, our initial back-to-school excitement is turning into We’re-in-school-and-we’re-not-getting-out-of-it-until-Thanksgiving realism. Yearly doctor’s appointments might be kicking in with all their accompanying joy. The endless cycle of travel surrounding our extracurricular activities might just be starting to wear on us more than we thought they would.
The children might be whining rather than whistling, and the teacher might tend to be grumpier than she is gracious. Oh, and here come the colds and viruses. It’s difficult to paint the picture of a happy, loving, smoothly running homeschool family sometimes, isn’t it?
But guess what?
Right when our “back to school” eagerness might be ebbing; right when September gives way to October and we’re already wondering how long it will be until Thanksgiving break; our Holy Church dedicates a feast day to our guardian angels: the very beings God marvelously fashioned from nothing, not only to adore and serve Him, but to aid us with their incredible efficacy and wisdom on our path to sanctity.
But . . . They’re Hard to Remember!
While it sounds wonderful in theory, we might be wondering how can we apply this reality of the angels—particularly our Guardian Angels, whose feast we celebrated on October 2—to our humdrum homeschooling efforts.
Sure, they’re easy to talk about with lofty religious delight. But let’s be honest: when the hours are growing chaotic with tantrums and math sheets and looming essay deadlines, we find it quite easy to forget our guardian angels are even here.
After all, we are presented with so many (sometimes domestically horrifying) physical realities (cue the juice-cup-catastrophe)—aren’t we justified in wondering how we’re supposed to remember invisible ones?
Well, it’s true, our guardian angels are rather hard to remember (being completely unseen and all). And yet, inviting them into our homeschool does begin by simply being aware of them.
It might seem like an impossible task at first. But if we take the time slow to down and ponder what truly amazing, rather flabbergasting gifts the guardian angels are to us, the process of remembering them becomes slightly less difficult over time—and our homeschool will reap tremendous blessings because of this recognition.
Let’s explore, shall we?
Our Invisible Companions
The Catechism states:
“ . . . The whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels. . . . From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.’ Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels . . .” (CCC 334, 336)
The truth of our invisible companions, however, while often the object of sweet nursery-room paintings, or used rather vaguely as warnings to naughty children (“now you listen to the good angel on your shoulder!”), is still largely forgotten in regards to its sheer spiritual potency, vitality, and reality.
How often during the day do we pause and place ourselves in the real, personal, intelligent, mighty, holy, and wise presence of our guardian angel?
Again, from the Catechism:
“As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.” (CCC 330)
Though we’re unable to physically see them, our guardian angels are species of wonder. They tower above all human beauty; they’re astute, capable, and wise beyond our dimmest dreams, and a glorious inferno of adoration for God, burning with an intense desire for our salvation.
They are present during our temptations, our victories, our failures. They are ready and waiting to supply us with strength and a renewed resolution for goodness, if only we remember to petition them for it!
Reverend William G. Most writes:
“Our guardian angels are able to put good thoughts into our minds, and to protect us . . . Clearly, it is only good sense to venerate our guardian angel, to cultivate their friendship, to thank them, to ask their help. So God said in Exodus 23:20-21: ‘Behold, I am sending an angel ahead of you, to guard you and bring you to the place I have prepared. Listen to his voice, and do not rebel against him, for my name is in Him, and he will not forgive.’”
Our guardian angels are comparable to the breath of air that cools us, and yet we only feel the cooling; to the ray of sunlight that dazzles the world with color, yet we only notice the hues. How many of our good thoughts and holy inspirations come from our guardian angels? Surely far more than we can count.
So, whether we’re a parent or a student, if we are going to invite our guardian angels to have a more immediate presence in our homeschool, our preemptive task is, obviously, to simply be aware of them! If, throughout the day, we take the time to recollect and remind ourselves of their miraculous, awe-inspiring and truly empowering presence, we can then move on and humbly “invite” them to our homeschool, and greatly benefit from their response.
Now that we have the right disposition, here are a few short, easy ways to present a homeschool-style invitation to our guardian angels this month!
Print out a reminder on a sheet of paper; purchase a holy card and slip it into your prayer book of choice; tape a prayer onto to the mirror.
Do whatever it takes; but if you can remind yourself to invoke your guardian angel daily—especially in the morning, and in moments of homeschool difficulty (whether you’re the student and you’re frustrated or the teacher and you’re overwhelmed), you will be calmed by the mental and spiritual registration of their presence, and the realization that they are ready to storm Heaven with prayers for your assistance.
Invocations don’t have to be fancy.
Holy Guardian Angel, fill me with the peace of Christ. Or, Holy Guardian Angel, help me with your wisdom—this problem is giving me a headache. Or, (Name’s)Guardian Angel, please help my child to calm down so we can work through this.
If you are a parent, begin the day by humbly asking each of your children’s guardian angels to strengthen them and aid them in being good, holy, and diligent students. If you are a student, pray to your parent’s guardian angels to help them in all their needs and responsibilities.
You will be surprised what an incredible impact this can have on the day.
The words don’t matter—the petition itself is what counts!
Your guardian angel’s quiet and steadfast loyalty to your well-being will reassure you. So try to weave these small invocations into the pattern of your school day: upon getting up, at morning prayers, before each subject, when the cheeks flush and the tempers rise. There are so many opportunities where they are so eager to help you!
Visible Reminders of their Invisible Presence
There are beautiful prints and icons of angels available online and in Catholic shops. Why not purchase a few and display them where the most potentially stressful parts of your day occur? The kitchen, the school room: your choice! All it takes is one glance through the frenzy, and you are instantly reminded—and then you can pray. If chaos reigns particularly in the car, display a holy card or medal where it can be a swift reminder of the angel traveling beside you as you drive.
If you’re a student, consider finding a Guardian Angel medal to wear around your neck, or a simple statue to place on your desk as a reminder to pray to your powerful spiritual aid in difficult moments. Our invisible companions won’t at all mind our employing visible reminders of their presence; rather, they’ll be overjoyed as we begin to ask them with increasing frequency for help!
During the month that celebrates our marvelous angelic defenders, let’s seize the opportunity to be more attentive to their presence in our homeschool, more solicitous of their ever-present help in domestic difficulties, and more eager to carry out whatever good inspirations they send us this school year!
“For He hath given His angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 90: 11-12)