I have a best friend. Her name is Hannah. She was there at the hospital the day I took my first breath. I trust she will be with me the day I take my last breath. Every day in between, Hannah has been at my side, through the good and the bad, the sad and the joyful. Hannah is, of course, my guardian angel. She is a very special gift to me from God; “for he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:11).
Hannah is the name I gave her. I am sure she has a much more beautiful, heavenly name given to her by God. She, nonetheless, does not mind my special name for her. I chose Hannah because it is a mirror name: H-A-N/N-A-H. I hope to mirror my angel, choosing to love and serve God all the days of my life. Hence, I named her Hannah. By the way, I understand that Hannah is not a girl angel. Angels are neither male nor female but pure spirits with no gender. Even though she is more intelligent and stronger than any man or women who ever lived, I know she is not offended when I refer to her as, well, her.
St. Francis de Sales encourages us to “make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.” Therefore, I believe it is a good thing to name your guardian angel. I encourage my children, from a very young age, to call on their angel by name. Some have named theirs strong male names like Peter and Michael. The girls tend to name their angels after beautiful natural creations like Rainbow, Lily and Rosie. I love Ben’s name for his angel. It is Tap, because, he says, any time he is about to do something he shouldn’t, his angel taps him on the shoulder and says, “Don’t do that!” Perfect! Ben, at a tender age, already understood what his catechism teaches regarding our angels: “to our guardian angel we have the duties of gratitude, of giving ear to his inspirations and of never offending his presence by sin” (Ignatius Press, question 33). My four year old, Peter, on the other hand, named his angel Tinker Bell; we may have to work on that one!
My mom talks so often to her angel that my poor father doesn’t know usually if she is talking to him or Hannah (my mom’s name for her angel, too!). He just figures if Mom isn’t yelling, she is probably talking to Hannah! I guess I get my devotion to my special guardian from her. I, in turn, hope to pass it on to my children.
So, if you have not already done so, name that angel of yours. Today, the feast of the guardian angels, is the perfect day to give your angel the gift of a name. Use it often to call upon him, asking for his help, thanking him, praising him. Our angels are with us every step of our way to heaven. And when we appear before God face to face, we will also see our angel standing right beside us, hopefully smiling that beautiful, angelic smile.
Happy Feast Day! Happy Feast Day, Hannah!