St. Pio of Pietrelcina, affectionately known as Padre Pio, had a very special relationship with his guardian angel throughout his life and is said to have seen him. We pray our guardian angels “ever this day be at our side to light, to guard, to rule, and guide.” Padre Pio absolutely had this prayer at heart every moment of every day. He relied on his guardian angel to help him through many tense times.
He was close to his guardian angel, as we all should be, and he referred to his angel as his “Angelino,” not a name, but a term of endearment, his “little angel.”
There are a few episodes where he specifically talks about his guardian angel. They are worth relating.
The first example relates how, as Padre Pio was being attacked by devils, his guardian angel took too long, at least to him. He is writing to his spiritual advisor of what happened:
“I shall not relate to you, therefore, in what manner they go about beating me, those reprobates. Sometimes I feel that I am close to death. Saturday, I thought they really wanted to put an end to me; I didn’t know any more to which saint I should appeal; I turned to my angel and after making me wait for some while, he finally shows up, flying around me, and singing hymns to the Divine Majesty with his angelic voice. There followed one of those ordinary scenes:
I shouted at him harshly for having made me wait so long, since I had not failed to call him to my aid. To punish him, I did not want to look him in the face, I wanted to hold my distance, I wanted to run away and hide from him. But he, poor fellow, approached me, nearly crying. He caught hold of me, so that raising my eyes, I might look into his face and find it wholly grieved.
“And behold,.. “…I am always close to you, my beloved youth,” he says, “I hover about you constantly with that affection which stimulated your gratitude towards the Beloved of your heart. My affection for you shall not extinguish even with your life. I know that your generous heart beats always for our mutual Beloved.
You would cross every mountain, every desert to find Him, to see Him again, to embrace Him anew in these extreme moments and to ask Him to break now those chains which hold you bound to the body… that you can suffer no more to be far away from Him, that He take you with Him. To tell him that separated from Him you gather more sorrow than joy. You would like this very gift from Him, but do not grow weary,… for you must wait a bit more. For the present, He can give you nothing like the ray of a star, the perfume of a flower, the sigh of a harp, the caress of a wind.
Yet do not cease to constantly ask Him for it, for His supreme pleasure is to have you with Him. And although at present He cannot satisfy your wish, because providence has willed that you be in exile a little longer, He will finally end up satisfying you, at least, in part…”
Poor dear angel! He’s too good. Will he succeed in making me recognize the grave obligation [I have] of gratitude?
A second example of Padre Pio’s love for his guardian angel is contained in his correspondence with his spiritual daughter, Raffaelina, and how she should consider her own angel:
“O delightful intimacy, O blessed companionship! Oh, if only all men knew how to understand and appreciate this very great gift that God, in the excess of His love for men, has assigned to us this celestial spirit! Recall frequently his presence: you ought to fix your mind’s eye upon him. Thank him, pray to him. He is so finely mannered, so discreet: respect him. Have continual fear lest you offend the purity of his gaze.
Invoke frequently this (your) Guardian Angel, this benefactor angel. Repeat often the beautiful prayer: “Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom the heavenly Father’s bounty entrusts me here; enlighten me, guard me, guide me now and forever.”
How great, my dear Raffaelina, will be the consolation, when, at the hour of death, your soul will see this angel, who is so good, who has accompanied you throughout your life, who was so ample in his maternal care! Oh that this sweet thought may make you, may render you continually more fond of the Cross of Jesus!
This is namely what your good angel desires! ? May the desire to see this inseparable companion of your entire life enkindle in you that charity which moves you to desire soon to leave the body.
Oh, what a holy and salutary thought it is to see this our good angel! It is this aspiration, namely, that should make us escape ahead of time from this dark prison in which we are detained. O Raffaelina, where are my thoughts flying to now? How many times, alas, have I made this good angel weep! How many times have I lived without the least fear of offending the purity of his regard!
Oh, he is so finely mannered, so discreet. My God, how many times did I respond to the ample, more than maternal care of this good angel without any sign of respect, affection or acknowledgment! It is this thought that presently rather fills me with confusion: alas — hear this and be horrified — such is my blindness that I feel no remorse at this.
And what is worse still, I treat this dear little angel, I do not say as a friend, but as a member of my family. And to tell the truth, this dear angel is not the least offended at being treated like this by me. How precious he is, how good!”
Another episode where we can see his relationship with his guardian angel is contained in how he talks about what his angel thinks of his spiritual progress:
“I raised a complaint to my dear angel, and he, after having given me quite a little sermon, added: “Give thanks to Jesus that He treats you as one chosen to follow Him closely up the ascent to Calvary. I behold with joy and interior commotion, O soul entrusted to my care by Jesus, how Jesus treats you. Do you think that I would be as happy, if I did not see you so thrashed?
I, who in holy charity desire greatly your advantage, delight to see you ever more in such a state. Jesus permits these assaults of the devil, because His (Divine) pity endears you to Himself, and He wants to make you like unto Himself in the anguish of the desert, of the Garden and of the Cross.
Defend yourself, always distance yourself from, and despise the malign insinuations of the devils; and where your strength does not arrive, do not be afflicted, beloved of my heart, for I am near to you.”
What [holy] condescension, dear father! What have I ever done to merit such exquisite affection from my dear angel? In fact, I do not worry myself about this at all; is not our Lord the Master Who can give His graces to whom and however He wishes?”
(Epistolario I. Letter 112, pp.330-31).
See how he speaks of his love and affection for his guardian angel! These examples help us to see how we should treat our angels and the help, love, and grace they give to us each and every day. Truly they are a grace from God!
Spend some time with your guardian angel today!