Some things do indeed transcend our ability to understand. Like how representative democracy can look so good on paper. And yet, in practice…
So we cannot grasp some things. Also, we cannot grasp our fellow creatures, the purely spiritual angels. Like us, they exercise intelligence and decision-making. But, altogether unlike us, they do not have matter. They do not have bodies.
Their lives unfold through time like ours do. But they do not face the mortality of the body. And they do not face moral danger now, like we do. The angels all chose for or against God at the very beginning of time. The evil angels became…demons.
Among the good angels of God, a sizable army received the particular assignment of guarding individual human beings.
“Guarding.” How? Against accident, sickness, ill fortune, bad hair days? Not really. The guardian angel guards each of us against sin. Against moral choices that lead towards hell.
My guardian angel may not prevent my getting sick or facing a very difficult situation. But when I get sick or face a very difficult situation, my guardian angel will do everything in his power to inspire me and strengthen me, so I do not sin, but rather follow the Lord through the dark valley toward the Promised Land.
Many consolations await us in heaven, that we can look forward to. Like being able to talk at length with George Eliot, or listen to Bach play his own music, or watch Dr. J. go to the hoop in an eternal arc of gracefulness.
But one of the most pleasant consolations will be seeing my guardian angel and learning much more about his point-of-view on the whole drama of my pilgrim life. At this moment, he knows much more than I do about what is going on.
As Pope Francis put it in his encyclical on faith: “The believer is never alone.” The triune God watches over me. And He sends His angel to guard my steps, lest I cast my foot against a stone.