21b. Our Guardian Angels – When Our Angels’ Guardianship Begins
The little child whom our Blessed Lord set in the midst of the disciples, as a model of humility, innocence and simplicity, was surely a very young child and free from the strife of the passions, as Saint Chrysostom insists. Saint Ambrose, too, holds that while he lacked the use of reason, he was also without guilt of any kind. And Saint Jerome says that Our Lord proposed him as a pattern of innocence, because he was not of an age at which he could sin.
And so when our Blessed Lord uttered a solemn warning against scandalizing “these little ones,” and gave as a motive the dignity which they derive from the guardianship of the angels, His words are a convincing argument to show that the angels are deputed to guard men from their very infancy and, as Saint Jerome rightly infers, from birth. For, once we admit that the use of reason is not a condition, we have no grounds for restricting the guardianship to any particular period of infancy.
But while it is commonly said that each one has from birth a guardian angel appointed to watch over him, it may be disputed whether by birth we should not here understand the very moment when the soul is infused into the body, and the child begins to have its own distinct being and personality, already a wayfarer on the path to heaven and capable of incurring for itself, the guilt of original sin. A special angel, deputed to guard it from that period, would be more particularly interested in its welfare, and would exercise over it a more loving care. This is the opinion of Father Suarez, as well as that of Saint Bonaventure, and others and, as it would seem, of the Angelic Doctor.