What is the difference between an angel and a guardian angel?

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Angels fascinate and capture the imagination of Christians and non-Christians alike. The terms used to talk about them can be difficult to understand. For example, there is a difference between an “angel” and a “guardian angel.” Explanation.

The term “angel” comes from the Latin angelus which means “messenger of God”. This comes from the Greek ἄγγελος (ángelos), which itself is a translation of the Hebrew mal’akh which means “messenger”, “delegate” or “ambassador”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of it thus ( CCC 329 ):

Saint Augustinesays about them: “’Angel’ designates the function, not the nature.You ask what this nature is called?-Spirit.Are you asking for the function?-Angel;according to what he is, he is a spirit, according to what he does, he is an angel” (Ps. 103, 1, 15).With all their being, angels are servants and messengers of God.Because they “constantly contemplate the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10), they are “workers of his word, attentive to the sound of his word” (Ps 103:20). 

The term “angel” therefore simply describes what they do and not what they are. Despite their large numbers, an order prevails among them. God, for whom the angelic multitude is a glory, has in fact established an admirable harmony there. Thus, there are nine choirs of celestial spirits, divided into three hierarchies. Each of them is subdivided into three distinct orders which each have a specific mission. 

The first hierarchy includes seraphim, cherubim and thrones; the second hierarchy includes dominations, powers and virtues; and the third hierarchy includes the superiors, archangels and angels. It is in this last category that the guardian angels are found . Their mission is as their name indicates is to guard their ward, defend and protect them. The guardian angel is the one who must lead to holiness and eternal life the person entrusted to him by God. He is the “minister of divine concern for each and every one,” said Benedict XVI , both spiritually and materially. He is both the protector and the teacher, the friend and the guide.

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