The Catholic burial service asks God to bless the grave and send His angel to keep it. If there is an angel by every Catholic grave, what does he do there?

All who are Christians have to admit that God has done much for men by the ministry of angels. The body of a Christian is holy. It has been consecrated by Baptism, and will one day rise again glorious and immortal. The Church speaks in a human way, and confides the body, which the relatives cannot keep to the custody of God’s angels. It is a very beautiful thought. But when you speak of an angel by every grave you evolve a difficulty from your imagination. An angel is not a creature subject to the laws of space. If you picture some diminutive winged animal sitting perpetually upon a tombstone, you are entertaining a ludicrous thought. But such a picture in no way corresponds with reality, and there is not a Christian who would not laugh at your simplicity. An angel is a spirit whose being is not commensurate with space, and whose powers are of the intellectual and volitional orders.An angel could operate in London and New York at one and the same time, yet ever remaining in heaven. And when the Church commits a grave to the care of an angel she asks that that angel may intercede for the soul which inhabited the body we bury with so much sorrow, and commits the body to its care also since it will co-operate in the resurrection of that body as God’s ministering spirit in due time.

Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty

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