We live in a city named after God’s holy angels, and the Catholic Church here was established under the name of the archangel who brought glad tidings to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.

But I am afraid that our awareness of the angels has diminished.

This is one of the losses that occurs from living in a secular society, where we are overwhelmed with a totally material understanding of reality. We forget that there is more to this world than what we can see or grasp with our senses, or measure with our sciences.

As Catholics, we believe there is a world that goes unseen — a world of the Spirit that moves beneath the news and events and appearances of everyday life. Creation includes “things visible and invisible,” as we say in our confession of faith.

Though we cannot see it, God is speaking and acting; angels assist us, and saints can hear our prayers and intercede for us.

One of my prayers during this jubilee year of the founding of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is that we will grow in our awareness of the great gift that we have in our angels.

The beautiful truth revealed by Jesus is that each of us has a holy guardian angel, which we remember in our liturgy on Oct. 2.

Our angels are given to us — a beautiful sign of God’s love and care — to walk with us and protect us on the journey of our life. From the moment we are born until we draw our last breath, we are constantly in the company of our angels and under their watchful care.

God gives us our angel to help us get to heaven. The words that God spoke to Moses, he speaks to us: “See, I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.”

When we read the sacred Scriptures closely, we cannot escape noticing that angels are everywhere, beginning in the Garden of Eden at the dawn of creation.

And when we read the Gospels, we notice that angels appear at every stage of his life. The Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that Jesus is coming. When Jesus is born, the angels appear in heaven, singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” 

In Jesus’ early life, an angel comes to warn Mary and Joseph about Herod’s plans to kill him. There is an angel with him during his temptation in the desert.

On the night before he died, an angel comes to strengthen Jesus in his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. And on the day that Jesus rose from the dead, an angel appeared at his empty tomb to tell the apostles that he had risen.

Jesus told us that when he returns, he will return in the company of the angels. And until he returns he has entrusted us to the care of our angels.

The first Christians lived in intimate relationships with their guardian angels, and many of the saints teach us that we should have a true friendship with our angels.

One of my spiritual teachers, St. Josemaría Escrivá, had a great devotion to the angels. He once wrote, “Have confidence in your guardian angel. Treat him as a lifelong friend — that is what he is — and he will render you a thousand services in the ordinary affairs of each day.”

One practical step we can take to develop our awareness of the angels and their power is to get in the habit of greeting and talking to our angel during the course of the day.

Maybe ask your angel to help you find the right words to say in a conversation. Or ask for light and guidance to help keep you on the path of following Jesus. When you are praying for people, ask their guardian angels to watch over them.

We should all recover the ancient habit of praying every day, the prayer we learned as children: “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”

What a beautiful devotion it would be to pray that together, in our homes and families. What a great gift to instill in our children this devotion to the holy angels!

Pray for me and I will pray for you.

And let us entrust ourselves more and more to the divine care of the angels and the maternal protection of Mary, Our Lady the Queen of Angels.