A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I feel our Guardian Angels have the most thankless job around. In feedback, one reader asked how they could find out their Guardian Angel’s name.
Let me start by reminding my readers – I am but a wife, mother, and social worker. I am a revert to Catholicism. As I have had some family point out to me in the past, I have absolutely no theological training, aside from my brief time in Catholic elementary school, and my extensive research as I was making my way back to the Church. I like to think of myself as a, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” so please don’t place an expectation on my being an angel-expert! Now that I have said that, let me explain why I don’t further personalize my relationship with my Guardian Angel.
First off, when I was in Catholic school, the teachers I had made very clear the Catholic Church forbids naming one’s Guardian Angel. According to a theologian, consulted for this post, the Church does not forbid, but merely discourages it – unless it pertains to those angels already named in Scripture (Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael).
When I’ve heard why the naming practice is discouraged, I understand the Church’s viewpoints, and tend to agree:
1. God has already named my Guardian Angel. It would be presumptuous of me to think that I have the authority to name the Angel, whose mission to protect me, preceded my arrival on this Earth. The one to whom the gift of naming is given, has already done the work.
2. When we name things, we take ownership over those entities. Whether it is a child, pet, or even car, through the process of naming, I become the authority figure. However, I am the charge of my angel – my angel is to guard, guide, and rule over me. Therefore, I have no business naming my angel. Instead, it could be argued my angel should be naming me.
3. We all like to have a name for those closest to us. We think it allows us to be intimate with the person (or pet). However, I would simply ask: does a mother, eagerly expecting a baby, but does not find out the gender, have difficulty bonding with that baby before its birth?
My answer is, most likely, no, she doesn’t. Furthermore, I once had a client whose dog was simply named, “Dog.” The no-name was simple, and their bond was absolutely palpable within seconds of meeting the pair together.
4. The Church discourages people from attempting to figure out the name of their angel because ways in which to do so could inadvertently open a person to the occult, and to the devil. Satan is real, Satan is clever, and Satan is a bad dude. His demon followers willingly slip in to a human’s life in completely unexpected ways.
The Church warns, when we open the door to receiving “messages,” from our Guardian Angel, such as their name, there is no way to tell if it is truly your angel answering, or a demon impersonating your angel. If it is a demon, every time you call upon your “angel,” by name, you would be calling on that specific demon.
The moral of my post – just don’t even go there when trying to determine your angel’s name. I call mine, “Guardian Angel,” and while I may be remiss and not speak to it every day, I like to think of my angel and I having an intimate relationship. You can give it a nickname – Mother Angelica called hers Fidelis, or “faithful one.” However, the nickname is encouraged to take on a positive attribute, not an everyday name. So, you could name it, “Faith,” “Hope,” “Love,” “Grace,” instead of Larry, Curly, or Moe.
Stay tuned next week, as I discuss ways in which I try to make sure I have a relationship with my angel.
9 thoughts on “Not Naming My Guardian Angel”
Excellent post, Annie! In innocence i called my Angel Faith when i was a young woman. My spiritual director later discouraged this. In obedience i complied. Its now just Angel friend. I do pray for its protection from evil and his assistance to be holy and to pray for me at all times. I also say a Glory Be in its honor and in thanksgiving for its hidden action in my life from time to time and when i remember. They truly do have a thankless job. There was a Saint who always greeted the Angel of each soul he met…can’t remember who it was but i thought that was unique. In particular i always ask for the assistance of my Holy Angel in Confession and the Priests Guardian Angel as well.
Thank you!! I don’t know if you knew why your spiritual director discouraged the practice, but hopefully this shed light as to why.
I have also asked my Guardian Angel’s assistance in helping keep my son in line during Church – it helped!
I would like to whole heartedly disagree with the “family member” who said you have no theological training. You may not be a priest or nun, but you do have years of being Catholic and being Christian. You have searched your heart and your soul for what is meaningful to you and how to use it to live life in tuned to your God and yourself. Your writings are not theological in nature, but an expression of how you see and use you faith each and every day. Those who comment about your theological training most likely have no depth of soul brought about by lack of participation in the church community. As for naming your angel, I think God wouldn’t really care. She is supposed to be your personal friend and guardian. it is HUMAN to name things that mean a lot to us. Angel of God would do. She knows who she is and to whom she is assigned. There really is no need for a name. But doing so will not earn you a place anywhere other than heaven. And who said your angel was given a name by God or anyone else? I know who mine is, and she is damned busy!! We learned in CAtholic school that anything done in the name of God or His creations cannot be sidetracked by the devil if it is all in God’s name. Evil is strong, but not strong enough to defeat God in any form.
All good thoughts! Most priests, and Apologetics studies, teach that God has already named our Angels, since He created them. That said, the naming bit isn’t as important to me, simply because my Angel and I are tight – it’s not going anywhere. 😉
P.S. “Theology is the critical study of concepts of God and of the nature of religious ideas”.
Good points. My aunt is very into the idea that she’s psychic and, because I’m prays ing Catholic clearly uncomfortable with it, often tries to explain to me that she does readings after asking the protection of angels first and uses Angel cards. Like you say, Satan is devious. Next time we have this conversation I’m going to make the point you make here.
The Catholic Church does recognize that some people have been given the gift to be able to see what others cannot. But, it’s my understanding that they discourage such visions and communications because of the ease in which Satan and his minions can manipulate. It’s my understanding that a trained spiritual director is supposed to work with those who claim to be able to communicate with the deceased. It’s a scary door to open… And, if memory serves me correctly, a skill that exorcists don’t quite encourage one to hone!
Good luck with making these arguments. I know even some Catholics who are not psychic, have difficulty with the discouraging of naming their Guardian Angel!