21e. Our Guardian Angels – After Death
The guardianship of our good angels, properly speaking, ends with death. For at death all dangers cease, nor is there further opportunity for spiritual progress. And yet our angels’ loving care surrounds us still. If we are so happy at that dread moment as to be found without spot or wrinkle, if we are free from every stain of guilt, and if our debt of punishment for sin has been fully paid, then our guardian angel will joyfully conduct us to our heavenly home. Such is the prayer of our fond mother the Church fo reach and every one of her children whom she is called upon to aid at the hour of the last supreme struggle. “Assist him, ye Saint of God,” she prays, “come forth to meet him, ye Angels of the Lord. Receive his soul, and present it in the sight of the Most High.”
For our own good angel will be joined by troops of blessed spirits, who will rejoice at our happy lot, and will gladly applaud the fortunate issue of our warfare with the wicked angels. And hence once more, in the burial service, as the remains of the deceased are being borne to their last resting place, Holy Church bids her ministers chant the touching antiphon,
May the angels escort thee to paradise; at thy coming may the martyrs welcome thee, and conduct thee to the holy city Jerusalem. May a Choir of Angels receive thee, and with Lazarus, once poor, mayest thou have rest everlasting.
This is the Lazarus who once sat as a beggar at the rich man’s gate, all full of sores, without a crumb to eat, but of whom Our Lord himself assues us that, when he died, he “was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom.” (Luke 16:22)
We shall not then be forsaken by our good angel in death, and if, at that solemn hour, there are still certain remains of sin which must be cleansed away in the refining flames of purgatory, some debt of punishment which we have yet to pay ot the divine justice, our faithful guardian will conduct us to the place of expiation, and will often visit and console us in our prison-house, until at last our debt is fully cancelled, and our soul, resplendent with heavenly light and beauty, is read to wing its flight upward to the place of everlasting bliss. How gladly will he then embrace us! How joyfully will he accompany us even tot he throne of God and into the midst of the throngs of glorious angels, fellow citizens with us of the heavenly kingdom and joint heirs of its boundless, never-ending joy and peace!