Pope Benedict XVI used his Sunday Angelus address to remind Christians to call upon their guardian angel for help throughout life.
“Dear friends, the Lord is always near and active in human history, and follows us with the unique presence of His angels, that today the Church venerates as 'Guardian,' in other words those who minister God's care for every man,” the Pope told pilgrims gathered in Rome's St. Peter's Square, October 2.
“From the beginning until death,” he said, “human life is surrounded by their constant protection.”
The Pope's comments come on the Feast of the Guardian Angels, a day celebrating the Catholic Church's teaching that each person is assigned an angel to help protect and guide them through life. It was Pope Clement X who first extended the feast day to the entire Church in the early 17th century.
Pope Benedict also reflected upon today's Gospel, which contains a “particularly severe warning by Jesus, addressed to the chief priests and elders of the people,” for their lack of generosity towards God.
“Therefore I tell you,” Christ says in the Gospel of Matthew, “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it,” comparing the Jewish religious authorities to vineyard workers who reject the will of the owner.
“God has a plan for his friends, but unfortunately man's response is often driven to infidelity, which results in rejection,” the Pope said, noting that “pride and selfishness prevent us from recognizing and accommodating even the most precious gift of God: his only begotten Son.”
“These words make us think of the great responsibility of those who in every age, are called to work in the vineyard of the Lord, especially in a role of authority, and the push us to renew our full fidelity to Christ,” the Pontiff said. He observed that the “rejected and crucified” Christ is now “the 'cornerstone' on which the foundation of all human existence and the whole world may rest with absolute certainty.”
This was the Pope's first Sunday Angelus address since returning from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, 15-miles to the south of Rome. Some 20,000 pilgrims gathered to hear his address from the window of his study at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.
Pope Benedict said that the faithful must be “anchored in faith in the cornerstone who is Christ, abiding in Him like the branch that can not bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine.” He urged those assembled to be faithful to Jesus because “only in Him, through Him and with Him is the Church, the people of the New Covenant built.”
“The Servant of God Paul VI wrote about this,” the Pope said, quoting his predecessor: “the first fruit of the deepening consciousness of the Church itself is the renewed discovery of its vital relationship with Christ. A well-known thing, fundamental, essential, but never quite understood, meditated upon, celebrated enough.”
Pope Benedict concluded by imparting his apostolic blessing to those assembled.