Name That Angel

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Name That Angel

Name That Angel

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!

 

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About Author

God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com.

20 Comments

  1. I find this interesting. Our priest just told us the other day that is wrong to name our angels. That they are not toys or possessions or pets for us to give them names. It was kind of sad to me because I like to give a name to things. It is easier to communicate with them when they have a name. He said we are not to do it. I liked your ideas and rationale. I would like to name my angel and be able to get closer to them and let my kids to the same.

    • I can understand what your priest may be implying. In Scriptures, God allowed Adam to give names to all the animals as a sign of his dominion over them. God, in turned, named Adam and Eve. I name my children, but not so much as a sign of my authority over them, for that God-given authority is only temporary, but because they are individual beings who deserve recognition. Their name helps set them a part from others. In naming my angel, I only wish to develop a relationship with the being that God has given me to help guide me and be my aid and protector. Calling my angel “Hannah” is simply my way of recognizing this being who is so important to me.

  2. I have discussed this with my husband a few times and he had a link to a great article as to why you shouldn’t do this:

    • It’s at taylormarshall.com, you are not allowed to name your angel

      The link won’t work every time I try adding it.

    • Dr. Marshall is an exciting and excited Catholic man, and for being a convert (maybe even because he is a convert) really knows our Holy Catholic faith. I wonder, however, if he has read the document he quotes. It seems to me that the Holy See’s intention in writing this document is to help insure that all popular devotion leads back to the Sacred Liturgy. Paragraph 4 states:

      “Genuine forms of popular piety, expressed in a multitude of different ways, derives from the faith and, therefore, must be valued and promoted. Such authentic expressions of popular piety are not at odds with the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy. Rather, in promoting the faith of the people, who regard popular piety as a natural religious expression, they predispose the people for the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.”

      Referring to my angel by a name is not at odds with the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy; on the contrary, I am lifted closer to heaven during Mass when I reflect that Hannah and a multitude of angels are present worshipping with me.

      Drawing/ portraying angels with halos and wings is how we try to grasps with our small, finite minds the splendor of these higher creatures. We all know that angels do not have bodies or halos. Likewise, giving my personal guardian a name is simply my way of trying to open my little heart to a perfectly loving creature, who loves me and my God so very much. I know her God-given name is not Hannah, nor does she have any gender. If God Almighty, however, is please to become my daily Bread, then I can believe that my mighty guardian is pleased to have me call upon her by name.

  3. Yep, not supposed to name them and yep, are supposed to be friends with them.

    The practice of naming guardian angels is discouraged by the Church: “Popular devotion to the holy angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations . . . [such as the] practice of assigning names to the holy angels [which] should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy 217).

    • In paragraph 8 of the same document, it defines its use of “devotion” specifically:

      8. In the present context, this term is used to describe various external practices (e.g. prayers, hymns, observances attached to particular times or places, insignia, medals, habits or customs). Animated by an attitude of faith, such external practices manifest the particular relationship of the faithful with the Divine Persons, or the Blessed Virgin Mary in her privileges of grace and those of her titles which express them, or with the Saints in their configuration with Christ or in their role in the Church’s life(13).

      The term most definitely refers to “external” practices. Therefore I do not think this passage is intended to refer to any interior relationship between a person and his own guardian angel. “Popular devotion” may be more in reference to the external practices of the populace. I will, however, continue to read the lengthy document and consult my pastor on the matter.

      For me, personally, calling my angel “Hannah” helps me become familiar with her, developing a friendship as oppose to a business relationship if I had to call her “Guardian” or just “Angel”. But I will submit to Holy Mother Church if I find out that I shouldn’t.

  4. I don’t think the Lord or the angels mind if you name your angel or not, just as long as you talk to them. I talk to my angel ,Hannah, all the time. I feel closer to my angel because of the name. Hannah is Hebrew for Anne, our Lady’s mother. I could not think of a better way to honor Mary than to name my angel after her mother, one grandmom to another. The last think I ask my children and grandchildren, when they leave my house, is to say the Guardian Angel prayer for a safe drive home. Don’t sweat the small stuff, just pray !!!

    • Thanks, Mom, for handing on a great devotion to our guardian angels. I believe it is a bigger offense to ignore our angel than it is to name her. St. Pio would probably agree, too.

  5. What a wonderful article. I too call my guardian angel Mary or Mare for short. She brings comfort and peace when alone. Kelly, here is a true story. We were at my parents years ago. Lauren was probably 3 or 4. We were in my parents kitchen when Lauren went in the sunroom and shut the door quickly. Mom and I both wondered what Lauren was doing. When we asked she told us that she wanted to make sure her guardian angel didn’t get out. I often wondered what she was thinking. I still love thinking about that day.

  6. I totally agree in thinking of what our guardian’s name is! Many years back, when in the convent, a priest talked to us about doing that, so I’ve always had my students do that. I tell them to remember to always talk to their guardian angel, and to think about what their name may be. While we do not know exactly what it is, we can pray about it and listen to God and our angel to see what the name actually is. Our guardian angel is always with us, and is a being — not a human being—- but is always there to watch over us. Why not name this spiritual being protecting us and those of our children?:)

  7. You post is very interesting and has causes me to think and reflect more intensely about our guardian angels. As we grow and mature in our faith our practice and devotions also mature and change. For young children who are still very egocentric, naming their angel is a way for them to understand that they have a special friend in heaven who is their to help them. This can also help young children understand that this is their own angel, created by God just for them. Their angel has been waiting for them since it was created. It is not a “hand-me-down” angel but truly theirs; a gift from God just for them. As they mature and grow in their understanding, children may be encouraged to call their angel by a virtue, gift, or fruit of the Holy Spirit they are trying to imitate. Just like Hannah, for you, is a reminder our your desire to be an image of God. As we invoke our angel, by this name, we not only get their help, we also reminded ourselves of the virtue we are trying to achieve. Further this may help our older school age children to examine their conscience and focus on virtues. Thanks for your post and reminder how important our devotion to our angels are to us and our children.

  8. I believe we all have a Guardian Angel at birth. However I didnt realize the big conterversy in a name. I dont think Jesus, really cares about naming your Angel or not. I believe our Angel thrives off of Power sent by Jesus. I believe our Angel guards us, in Jesus’ Power and His Name, I really think that is what is Important here.I ask my Angel to Protect my children, and Im confident He/She does. Sometimes, and I dont mean to offend, but, we can become so Political with Rules/Regulations, and I was born & raised a Catholic but, Jesus just wants us to Love, have Faith, Im not sure He is so impressed with naming our Angel or not? I think we all know there are Angels that Worship Our Lord, and Protect us, with His Power. Kelly I dont think Our Lord would mind at all if U name your Angel. I think He is more impressed with U being a Modern Day Saint. Your Heart is filled with Jesus, that is obvious to know, after being in your company for longer than a minute. And talk about BLESSINGS, I was having a difficult day at work, as ususal, & stepped out my office door, and who was walking down past my office door??? Was Bob, my other Role model, and Modern Day SAINT. Talk about a BLESSING. I was overwhelmed with Joy and Tears, Thank U my Jesus:) for all your Suffering U have endured, for all of us. Thank U for your Love, FORGIVENESS and Mercy U have shown us. Gratefully, Karen

  9. Kel,

    Our Lord, through Moses, gave us Ten Commandments. Jesus simplified the Ten Commandments to two. Now we are talking about paragraph 217 of the Directory on Popular Piety and The Liturgy. Wow!!! Reducing the ten to two was Jesus’ way of KISS. Your post reminded me that I have ingnored my Gardian Angel for too long. Time to give “him” a name. “Casper”. Now for those that just gasped, let me explain with my own refences & paragraphs. Casper is derived from Gaspar which in turn is from an ancient Chaldean word “Gizbar”, which according to Strong’s Concordance means “Treasure”. The word “Gizbar” appears in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament Book of Ezra (Chapter 1, verse 8). I think “Casper” just smiled and chuckled.

    • I smiled and chuckled with “him!” What a great name, chosen with reverence and love. I love it, and I think he does too!

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