Welcome to the weekly link up, Just Enough Info (JEI). The internets can be a great source of community, and I’d love to get to know you better! Feel free to share your answers in the comments or link up if you have a blog.
Let’s talk angels.
1. Naming your Guardian Angel: yea or nay?
Once in CCD we were encouraged to pray that our Guardian Angel’s name would be revealed to us. Otherwise we were told that we could name them ourselves.
At the time that felt weird so I never did. It seemed like meeting a new guy in the neighborhood and insisting on calling him Pat. “Oh, you have a name? That’s okay. Let’s go with Pat instead. I feel like you’re a Pat.”
In poking around, I found an actual theological response at EWTN in their Catholic Q & A section:
The Church traditionally has discouraged calling on angels by name, unless they’ve been identified by name as Holy Angels in Scripture. The danger is obvious. Not all angels are good, some having fallen with Lucifer. The practice of naming your Guardian Angel doesn’t seem to fall within that prohibition, since you know your Guardian Angel is good, and whatever name might be appropriate for a good Angel, and inappropriate for a fallen angel, would probably be OK. (For example, I know a holy person who named her Angel “Innocence”.) I myself wouldn’t do it, for one reason, because naming in Scripture implies having authority over the person named. I have no authority over my Guardian Angel. I can ask his help, but I can’t tell him what to do.
So it seems that it’s not clear cut. I’m personally a “nay” (for the Pat reason above) in the “naming your Guardian Angel” discussion.
2. Have you had any angel experiences?
Oh man, oh man, oh man. YES.
It all started with Cee. When she learned to walk, she discovered a game we named “blanket running.” She would put a blanket over her head…and run. That’s it. I’m not sure if the goal of the game was to avoid running into things or to try to run into things. Either way, a Guardian Angel is the only explanation for us having survived that phase.
Every kid, but Moe in particular, is always just on the edge of disaster.
(I googled “exhausted angel,” but didn’t find any artwork that really captured the reality of angelic influence in our lives.)
I have witnessed my children fall–defying the laws of physics– and avoid
-hitting their heads on a piano/chair/table/bookshelf
-falling down the stairs
-smashing their heads open on concrete
Honestly, it’s like the breath of an angel blows them just a smidgen so their trajectory is shifted and danger is averted. Family members have witnessed this as well. There is no other explanation.
Now, that’s not exactly the “a stranger came and changed my tire on the side of the road, and when I turned around he was gone” kind of story. But I think it’s true even if it isn’t quite so romantic.
3. How have you shared about angels with your kids?
We sing this version of the Angel of God Prayer as a family to kick off our night prayers. Sadly we do not have the Irish instruments to accompany it.
We’re fortunate enough that the backstory on Angels gets touched on every year in our Seton Religion books.
Even if we weren’t homeschooling, our Family Formation program (the sweet curriculum used by our parish instead of traditional CCD) talks about angels as well.
Angels are one of those topics that’s hard to delve into as a parent. I’m grateful to have access to resources that make my job as “primary teacher of the faith” less intimidating.
Here are a couple of our favorite Angel materials:
Let’s start with a little board book, perfect for taking along to Mass with its handy handle.
If you’re not exactly sure about Angels…this a good first step. I like finding books that explain things (at a child’s level!) that I don’t understand. I can’t just pick up something super academic in my current state of time and energy. Someday– maybe. But for now, I need basic theology that’s able to be dispersed to the kiddos.
Our Guardian Angels is basic without being watered-down. I especially like lines “My Angel helps me to love my family,” and “My Angel helps me to be kind.”
Angel in the Waters is one of my favorite religious children’s books!
Got a godchild? Buy this book!
Got a grandchild? Buy this book!
Going to have a baby? Buy this book!
That was a little strong. #sorrynotsorry
The gist of this book is that your Guardian Angel is with you in utero as you get ready to transition to the next “world” (being born). Although it’s a time of uncertainty, there’s comfort in knowing your Angel has your back, even when you can’t begin to imagine what the next “world” will be like.
See where this is going? When (hopefully after a long life!) you move on to the next “world,” guess who will be there to help you? Guess who already knows it’s going to be great? Your Angel!
This set of 20 books (sort of like a paperback magazine for kids…) contains the ongoing story about Wupsy, a Guardian Angel, and his adventures guiding his human.
The Wupsy Stories illustrate how our Guardian Angels don’t protect us from every bad thing. They are concerned with our big-picture salvation, not necessarily keeping us from every bump and bruise.
Our kids treasure this collection. Old-fashioned games, poems, snippets of the life of St. Therese, and much more fill up the rest of the pages.
Side note: On the back of almost every book is a cautionary poem about some kid bad habit. Like “Stuffing Steve” who is always shoving garbage into nooks and crannies. Well, eventually Steve puts something in his ear and needs to go to the doctor because it causes a painful ear infection.
That, my friends, is good parenting. Poetry about the consequences of doing dumb stuff. This might be the part of the books my kids most enjoy.