Naming Your Guardian Angel: Don’t Do It

You are not allowed to name your Guardian Angel. Some Catholics practice a devotion of giving personal names to their guardian angels. However, the Holy See does not allow this practice and formally discourages it.

name your Guardian Angel

According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 216 (under the heading about Devotion to the Holy Angels):

The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.

A special thanks to Father Gary Selin and my friend Jordan Low for finding this citation.

What’s the Theology Behind Not Naming Your Guardian Angel?

We cannot name our Guardian Angel because naming another implies authority over the other. I name my children and I name my pets. I have authority over them.

However, my Guardian Angel is OVER me in authority:

Angel of God my Guardian Dear
to whom God’s love commits me here
Ever this day be at my side
To light, to guard, to *RULE,* to guide.

Therefore, I do not have the authority to name my angel. My angel is not my dog, he’s my instructor.

When God gives a new name to someone (Abraham, Israel, Peter), he is signifying His authority over him as that person acts as His vicegerent in His name. Notably, God revealed the names of Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist to their parents before they were born to show His special authority in human redemption.

Please share this post on Facebook and Twitter, since most people still think it’s alright to name their angels. We need to get the word out.

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  • Louise

    Does this mean that our angels have no names or that we can not assign names to them? Do we just refer to them as our guardian angel?

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Yes, just refer to him as “Guardian Angel.”

      • Maker of the Grace Chords

        I find it interesting because I have known angels to talk on several occasions. I do have a guardian angel. He shared with me that he does have a name and when I address him I call him by his name. Is it not disrespectful to not address even spiritual beings by their given names?

        • Fr. Gashwin

          In the case above, one is naming one’s guardian angel. As in, of one’s own choosing, assigning him a name.

          • patricia

            my spiritual director asked me what is my guardian angel’s name I said Elizabeth since I have been calling my angel that since I was a teenager. I was having some spiritual interference in prayer mass and adoration so I was told to call on my angel. should I keep obeying my spiritual director who is a priest? I am deeply confused and troubled about this whole thing!!

          • Fr. Savio

            You should continue to call on your guardian angel, but I would not necessarily use that name. Your angel knows you; God knows you; God knows your guardian angel. Just pray to your guardian angel in the silence of your heart, no name necessary. St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventue, Francisco Suarez, and all other great theologians are unanimous in asserting that this is the only way you will be certain that it is your angel who hears you, and not a demon. I would never call any spiritual beings by name out loud except Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, as the above direction from the Holy See state. (Yes, I am a priest, with a licentiate in Systematic Theology.)

          • patricia

            Hello Fr. Savio

            I will be sure to just say guardian angel and I will let my spiritual director know about it. Thank you for the advice and insight.

          • Diaconos

            I am very grateful for you input on these matters Fr. Savio

          • Seeno

            I have to agree. I don’t know my guardian angel’s name. I want to, but I have had weird things happen once in a restaurant. A man was sitting at a table, he right away gave me a feeling that he was a humble man of God. I set my kids in their seats. A few minutes later I noticed I could not stop having a certain curiosity with him. I had never seen him before, but I wanted to talk to him. Another minute or two went by and he walked up to our table with his brimmed hat and leather bag in hand. He mentioned three names I remember quite well. He also mentioned a fourth name, but I forgot it as soon as he mentioned it.

            My wife stopped what she was doing and got nervous. I asked what where the names he referred to? He said they were the names of our guardian angles. My wife said he was not right about hers. I was surprised, she never mentioned she knew her guardian angels name before. I have known her for 14 years. I realized I never felt the need to know my Guardian angel’s name. Was I supposed to?

            The man stopped and looked at her, then said he misheard, it was (then said a name I forgot as soon as i heard it). My wife got worried and said, “nope, your completely wrong.” He smiled and said no, but he understood what was wrong and he was sorry for the trouble, he felt the need to speak to me. He once again smiled and left. I looked at my wife and asked if he got hers right. She looked at me, smiled and said he was extremely close.

            I have been hearing a voice more and more often telling me about right choices to make. I realized I have always heard it, but sometimes I chose to ignore it as a thought that passed in my mind. I have come to realized that it seems more like a friendly but firm voice. A voice that wishes to alert me of dangers and better choices before something happens. The voice had been there for years. I realized when I did not heed its suggestion, that something bad happened. I also realized that when I listen to it, I had a calm and nothing bad would happen to me.

            I realized this is a voice to trust, and was that of my guardian angel. I don’t know my guardian angels name, but I don’t feel I need to. As for my wife, shortly after coming close to dying giving birth to our first born she told me a voice told her she would be okay. A couple weeks later she said thank you to her guardian angel. She said she wanted to know its name, but only if thought she should know it a a few hours later she heard the voice speak a name. She had never been compelled to tell me the name before, and did no believe anyone should know it. She said she was surprised when the stranger practically guessed its name correctly. I told her I remember the other names, but for some reason I immediately for got the name he told her. She said her guardian angel could reveal what ever it wanted about itsself when and if it wanted to. She still has not told me the name, but I don’t feel I should ask.

            That voice I hear, does not ask me things, it tells me. I trust it when it tells what to do, even if it makes no apparent sense, sometime later on it always does. I believe a battle with demons and angels go on, it is my guardian angel that helps guide me passed the dangers of demons. God has sent us all an angel, but it is our choice to listen to it, not bark commands at it.

            Other people told me simular voices speak to them from nowhere, but leaves them with the same feeling of trust, but something they are not meant to control.

          • John Mallon

            Patricia, there is no need to be troubled. God knows your heart. It’s not the end of the world.

          • patricia

            I know it is not the end of the world I just don’t want to open up any doors that should not be opened.

        • Alex Marsh

          see you get all you have to do is ask for a name. I mean golly guys it’s not that hard to figure.

          • ThatCathGuy

            The Church formally discourages asking for the name too. You have no idea who is answering. Divination is extremely dangerous and condemned. Dr Marshall is completely correct in that you should simply refer to your Guardian Angel as Guardian Angel.

        • NW

          We are to heed the voice of our angel-I have heard mine on a few occasions. I have seen my angel once and when I asked what his name was he replied Tarus. So I didn’t name him-God probably did.

        • John Mallon

          But you did not give him that name.

      • Andres

        Where can I find this in the Cathechism or a Church Document? I would like to read where the Church says this.

  • Patagonia1245

    That’s interesting. I’ve never heard of this practice and am glad you mentioned it so I can pass this teaching on to those who might be in error.
    In fact, this made me realize how little I know about guardian angels. Does each individual soul still retain its guardian angel in the afterlife? And are guardian angels each given one soul to guard in all of eternity, or do they watch over multiple souls, either simultaneously or through “reassignment” after a soul has entered eternity? Thanks for any help :) Fascinating subject.

  • Pingback: Guardian Angels: 7 Interesting Facts - Taylor Marshall

  • Eve

    I met a Sister many years ago. She knew her Guardian Angel’s name. I asked her how I could find out my Guardian Angel’s name and she told me to simply ask, like she did. She said the name that comes to me is his name. I did this, asked several times and then his name came to me. I did not assign him a name. Is this wrong?

    • ES

      It is discouraged. I think that in this case, one runs the risk of hearing from an evil spirit. Also, the Bible discourages asking angels for names. See Judges 13:17-18.

    • Chesire11

      How do you know it was your guardian angel who answered you?

  • Cathy

    For what it’s worth: I used to call my angel “Rafa” (it sounded a little angelic), but i asked one day , if that’s not your name, tell me. Several days later upon awakening in the morning, I heard, “my name is Martin”. I now say,”Martin of God my guardian dear to whom god’s love commits me here……etc.

  • Jan Lora

    Who are we to judge? Did Padre Pio name his guardian angel. or did it come from heaven?

    • J.A.V.R.

      Who are we to judge what? With every matter of faith there is only one truth and is our job as followers of Christ to seek it and denounce when it’s not practiced. After all, aren’t we made prophets in our baptism?

      • Diaconos

        Correct! St Paul says someday we will even judge angel, but not now. We make judgements every day. That is not wrong, judging someone like the Religious leaders in the Jesus Time did was wrong, because they thought themselves perfect and holy based on their own merits. We must never Judge someone’s eternal destiny, only God can judge that. One of the Corporal works of mercy is to correct a brother when he is doing wrong things, or not doing things he should.

    • Davida Burns

      According to Father Larry Richards, he says to ask God to reveal the guardian angel’s name through scripture. He says after you have asked then randomly open the Bible and the first name you come across that is who you’re guardian angel is. He said he did this and the first name he read was Barabbas so that’s his guardian angel’s name. I am fairly certain he said this is how Padre Pio did it. Father Larry has been doing the afternoon Mass this week on EWTN.

      • suikojay

        Really? That’s odd… I know Padre Pio called his angel “Angelino” which means “little angel”.

      • Diaconos

        IF Father Richard said this he has to backing for it. That is not what the Church fathers have taught Like the great Giant of Faith, St. Thomas Aquinas

      • with-a-z

        That sounds like a silly parlor trick to me.

  • Jesse

    My angel revealed his name to me. Should I refrain from using his name?

    • RobinJeanne

      I asked and heard “Gloria” in my heart…. I didn’t asign it, so I ask also, do we stop?

      • UAWildcatx2

        A priest who I trust greatly said that if an “angel” says its name is anything other than something ending in -el (from God), it might be better to not give it attention (e.g., Moroni)

      • J.A.V.R.

        Like I said to Jesse, demons are great tricksters and you have to be completely sure that it was your angel who revealed his name and not somebody else.

    • J.A.V.R.

      You have to be completely sure that it was in fact your angel who revealed his name.

      • RobinJeanne

        With all this not knowing for sure, I will not risk it and start just saying “Gardian Angel”

    • Diaconos

      Yes you should. And you don;t know if it was your angel that reveled your name or not. Just call him your angel.

    • with-a-z

      How do you KNOW this was your angel, and not a spirit with evil intentions who would just love to hear your prayers and weaknesses?

  • JC

    Fr. Larry Richards discussed this during EWTN’s daily Mass this morning. He said that his spiritual director recommended asking the Lord to reveal the name of his guardian angel. An EXCELLENT homily. Will air again later today and be archived on the website later.

  • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

    Thank you, Dr. Marshall, for finding this. I can see the point. There are some that would possibly lean toward “adoration” of a named angel. There are many who are in to the whole “angel cult” that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Our Lord, The Church, or The Saints. Just “angels”. Thanks for setting this straight for us! Peace and blessings to you and your family

  • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

    I’ll add this to post for clarification:

    The reason is that “naming” another implies authority over another. I name my children and I name my pets.

    However, our Guardian Angel is OVER me in authority:

    Angel of God my Guardian dear
    to whom God’s love commits me here
    Ever this day be at my side
    To light, to guard, to *RULE,* to guide.

    Therefore, I do not have the authority to name my angel. My angel is not my dog, he’s my instructor.

    • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

      That definitely makes the point easy to understand. Thank you!

    • Maggie

      But if one’s angel reveals his name to one, it is not being assigned by that person. It is being revealed by the superior.
      Done prayerfully, and with an additional prayer that one’s angel protects us from evil in receiving the answer (or no answer), where is the harm?
      We do not fall into the danger of worshipping (point raised in a prior post) Our Lady or the other saints, or the named Archangels, simply because we can call them by name.
      Finally, you use the word “discouraged” but not the word “forbidden”.
      If my angel ever condescends to reveal his holy name to me, I will have no choice but to consider it a gift, and a gift that was given for a reason.

      • Maggie

        Additionally, the point was made about Scripture showing us, in Judges 13, that asking the name of an angel is not a good practice. But look at how the person from that passage asked: “And he said to him: What is thy name, that, if thy word shall come to pass, we may honour thee? ”
        Clearly, the request was inappropriate in it’s very nature, having the intention of honoring an angel for the work of God. Of course the angel would chastise for a question like this!
        This would not apply in all cases, certainly.

      • J.A.V.R.

        Dear Maggie, the good doctor only referred to the people that named their angels themselves. Then in the comments he warns that the problem with asking your angel for his name is that a demon can answer and then you could end up talking to him instead. If there is no doubt that it was in fact your angel who reveal his name to you and permit you address to him as such, then no, there wouldn’t be any problem at all.

        The word “discouraged” is used instead of “forbidden” because this issue is still being studied and is not a dogma yet but the Holy See does find something wrong with the practice. I hope that answers your questions. Take care.

        • Mr.Schwa

          Thank you. This cleared up some of my worries and fears. I have recently come across information and knowledge regarding angels (from legitimate catholic sources and my prayers mind you) and I have spoken to people about all that the angels do and what they are and the the love they have for us. My Guardian Angel told me his name, and with the feelings I feel, and the things I have seen, I know in my heart and in my soul that this is indeed an angel, a mirror of God’s love, a perfect creation of God. And I use his name, but it is out of the utmost respect, as when I pray to Mary or the Saints, or talking with a good friend, but it is not on the level of love and worship that I give to God. I was warned by a priest about the potential demon naming, and in turn I warn people of this as well. I am always looking for ways to better the telling of the message of the angels to the people I speak to. Thank you for this. God bless you in all that you do, and may your Guardian Angels watch over you and guide you.

          • J.A.V.R.

            You’re most welcome and thank you for your well wishes. Godspeed.

    • minxcomix

      Dr. Taylor, I do understand this. It makes sense. Thank you for making me wiser.
      I do pray to my guardian angel, using the title “Guardian Angel”. But in speaking spiritually to ‘him’ (acknowledging that angels are neither male or female, but using the term to acknowledge that angels are persons) as a spiritual child I have used a particular name with the acknowledgement that I know it is not my angel’s name, but as an intimate name to use in interaction.
      Is this not wise then? Thank you for your response.

    • John Johnson

      Dr. Marshal, with all due respect, if you want to try your hand at philosophy, you would do well to avoid logical fallacy (in this case, the straw man). When people “name” their guardian angel, they aren’t usually “giving” the angel a name as they would give their pet a name. Rather, they pray that their angel’s name be revealed. There angel does have a name, given by God and I would bet you a dollar the Church doesn’t say you can’t ask what it is.

      I’m really sorry for sounding harsh with this but your article seems to be very misleading and aimed at accruing facebook shares more than fleshing out a perfectly good question. I’m sure you’re a nice guy but mixing categories is a terrible way to attempt to Catechize the faithful.

      • J.A.V.R.

        With all due respect Mr. Johnson, that is not the case. If you read a lot of the comments here a lot of people have named their angels and not asked the angel to reveal their name. Dr. Marshall is referring to those people who named their angels. In the case of the people who asks the angels their name, just like you say, Dr. Marshall warns that the problem with that is, that unless you have the special gift of discernment, you wouldn’t know the difference if your angel answers or a demon passing as an angel of light does. This is why is dangerous.

        • RobinJeanne

          One time i heard this person say “they’ve named” there Guardian Angel, Bubba, I just shook my head, for some reason that seamed so disrespectful.

          I have many times heard it said that to “name” someone is to have authority
          over them like Dr Taylor said and like God had Adam name the animal whom he had dominion over and he named his wife but God named Adam. I think That’s why a women changes her last name to his when they marry. Why nuns/sister are given a new name when they wed themselves to the Lord.

          • J.A.V.R.

            Yes, just like with everything else, people have lost a lot of respect. People have lost respect for our elders, parents and even God. With God, some people associate it with a cute grandfather and that’s why some people even there to give God Himself nicknames. Heck, in my country a woman named her son Yavéh (a form of YAHWEH). If people has lost respect for God Himself, imagine with anything else.

            Exactly. You can see the naming thing in the Bible a lot. And even nowadays, you only name or give nicknames persons/things that are beneath you hierarchy such as children, pets or nature, or equals such as brothers or friends. Nobody names or give nicknames to their parents or grandparents unless they give you permission to do so. It’s the same with angels because they are superior to us.

          • RobinJeanne

            You are soo right about the lack of sense of respect, reverence for God. Good people refering to God as “my-man” To Jesus as “Bro”, “bud” just makes my skin crawl. It’s their take on Jesus saying “I call you friend”… well even if as an adult you parent says you are my friend, well that doesn’t mean you can start calling them by their first name. I find it sadly disrespectful…. we should be in Awe and hesitate to even say His most Holy Name.

          • J.A.V.R.

            Exactly. At least it brings me some comfort that there are people like you who understands the importance of reverence to God and everything that is holy. God bless you.

        • Jerome

          St. John Bosco named his Grigio.

    • Sunshine Madrazo

      Thank you for this information, However, i had a strange dream once when i was younger, I was taking a nap , i use to own a store years ago and i took a 15min nap and i dreamed that a very very huge fellow came in my room and gave me a letter. When I read his letter, I couldn’t understand the language used until on the bottom line it says, I love you, your guardian angel, He revealed his name. I wont post it here but i carried this name in my heart. That same day,it was almost 7pm at night as i traveled back home, I had a car trouble…It happened on an isolated area ,no houses , just isolated highway…My cellphone was about to die and i made one phone call to call my mother. My mom told me to wait for her and she will get help. A few minutes, a stranger from nowhere approached me and helped me , I was a bit afraid but he was kind and looked gentle. He changed my tire and drove away…I didnt even get the chance to get his name as he says he needs to fix it as he is late for his appointment but he just wanted to help me. I couldnt forget that dream and that same day I got a help from a stranger.

  • Douglas Beaumont

    Well the article says nothing about meta-names, so how about we simply name our guardian angel’s name? :)

  • Bernadette Vella Wolff

    My guardian angel appeared to me once at a time of need, briefly, visibly, then disappeared and the situation cleared itself up, leaving me feeling profoundly at peace. In my mind, I said, “I don’t know who you are but thank you.”
    What came back was an unexpected response. “I am Jarubel your guardian angel.”
    Was this then of God or a spirit of darkness?

  • Bernadette Vella Wolff

    My guardian angel appeared to me once briefly at a time of need then disappeared. I can still vividly recall the figure. The situation cleared itself up immediately and the experience left me feeling an internal peace I’ve never before known.
    in my mind, I said, “I don’t know who you are but thank you.”
    Next came an unexpected response. “I am Jarubel your guardian angel.”
    Does this mean it was of God or a spirit of darkness?

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      Saint Teresa of Avila tells us to be careful of such experiences since many souls have been deceived.

      The most famous case was Sister Magdalena of the Cross. One of the most chilling tales in all of Church history:

      http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2011/12/sister-magdalena-of-cross-nun-who-made.html

      It sounds that the peace you received was divine, but don’t seek out supernatural experience. You never know who might show up!

      • https://www.facebook.com/TeriShrader Teresa “Teri” Shrader

        That was horrifying! I totally agree with you about supernatural experience. Don’t seek it! If something happens always take it to your Priest and listen to them! The Saints always did this as well! This was too awful!!

      • minxcomix

        Thank you for this link. I was not aware of this saint or her story. Astounding!

      • patricia

        Wow Dr. Marshall I read the article of this link so scary and yet proves a point to have the need of spiritual director and be careful to name angels. I could not believe all that happened in such a religious enviroment.

      • suikojay

        I think the best thing to do when encountering a supposed mystical experience is to test it right away, rather than to listen to it! Call upon the Blessed Virgin or your Guardian Angel for help, say the St. Michael deliverance prayer, or say “In the name of Jesus Christ, if you are demon, be gone!” and if it’s a demon, it should go away (if the person is in the state of grace, of course).

        Also, thanks for posting that link about Sister Magdalena of the Cross. I wasn’t familiar with her… until now!

    • ES

      One should always ask one’s spiritual director about any unusual spiritual experience of this kind. Until a good priest gives advice, it is best not to treat it as legitimate. When this happens to the saints, God is pleased that they are careful and discerning, and obediently seek the advice of a priest.

  • Bernadette Vella Wolff

    Yes! I read before about St Magdalena. That’s what got me wondering. I don’t seek out spiritual consolation. Have had my share of desolation and gratefully accepted the intervention as a gift.

  • Leigh

    I wondered if my Guardian Angel had a name or if I should name it…having never read this before…I prayed about knowing His name years ago. I have read that St. Pio used to send his Guardian Angel to people in need and have begun making that a practice in my daily life. In a conversation about this new practice, I told someone that I had prayed about knowing or naming my own Guardian Angel and suddenly the name Edward came into my mind. I thought maybe that was His name…and have shared that story with others…just wondering what you thought about that.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      I too ask my angel to meet people or pray before the Tabernacle on my behalf.

  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

    The document quoted by Dr. Marshall says “The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.” It’s not clear from this that the “discouraging” being mentioned has anything directly to do with one’s interior life and direct interior relationship with one’s *Guardian* Angel. Rather, it comes from a section in the document that pertains to “popular devotions to the Holy Angels.”

    It would seem to me that this discouraging has much more to do with pious “public” devotionals than with one’s interior rapport with one’s guardian angel.

    Further, the question of “naming” as an act of “authority” or “disrespect” may not necessarily come into play either, assuming one isn’t actually ascribing a name to the angel (equivalent to “fluffy” or “bubba” etc., to use extremes) that suggests that kind of relationship. Angels do not, per se, have “authority” over us. Rather, *Christ* has authority over *them*, and we don’t have direct authority over angels. Despite their immense superiority of intellect and will, it is still true that *humans* are the summit of God’s creation, not angels, just to be clear on that point.

    So, if one sincerely wishes “interiorly” to refer to one’s guardian angel by a “name” rather than “office” (“angel” is the “office” of this creature whose nature is “spirit”), I remain unconvinced that the passage from the CDW directory mentioned by Dr. Marshall actually militates against such an interior relationship with one’s guardian. Rather, I think the passage militates against any public devotional expression of “named” angels that might parallel such public devotional expression given to the three named Archangels…
    I’m open to correction on this point if there exists any other magisterial documentation that touches upon this question.

    • J.A.V.R.

      With respect, it seems you’re being a bit prideful for trying to be “smarter” than the Holy See. Look at the situation like this: Imagine a civilian person meeting an officer of the army of his country and he decides to call that officer “Bob”, would this be right? Even though the officer’s job is to protect and serve his country and the people in it, and he would even address the civilian person as “sir”, that civilian person has no right to change the officer’s name. The army officer has his own name. Even more, hierarchically, the officer is above the civilian person. The correct way to address that officer would be “sir” or if you can recognize his rank then by his rank, such as “Captain”, “Lieutenant”, etc. It is the same with Angels, who are the army of the kingdom of heaven. And by the way, angels do have some authority over us because when they order or act they do so in the name of God Himself.

      Now, if the angels reveal their own name, and there is no doubt that it is in fact a divine revelation, such as with the archangels, then they could be called by their given name and, unless instructed otherwise, I think the title of the angel should still be mentioned as a sign of respect and humility, just as with an army officer and just like when you address any of the Archangels, to whom you never just address or refer to them by their name only, or even give them a nickname; one addresses or refers to the archangels with their name and title, such as Saint Michael the Archangel or Saint Raphael the Archangel. Are guardian angels any different or deserve less respect? Think about it and take care.

  • ES

    I have heard a very good priest strongly discourage this practice, for several reasons, many of which are identified above. Two other points are first, Scripture discourages it. In Judges 13:

    “And the angel answered him: If thou press me, I will not eat of thy bread: but if thou wilt offer a holocaust, offer it to the Lord. And Manue knew not it was the angel of the Lord. [17] And he said to him: What is thy name, that, if thy word shall come to pass, we may honour thee? [18] And he answered him: Why askest thou my name, which is wonderful? [19] Then Manue took a kid of the flocks, and the libations, and put them upon a rock, offering to the Lord, who doth wonderful things: and he and his wife looked on. [20] And when the flame from the altar went up towards heaven, the angel of the lord ascended also in the flame. And when Manue and his wife saw this, they fell flat on the ground.”

    When the angels do reveal their names (Gabriel, for example, to Zachary), it is voluntary, not from asking. In this way, the Scriptures are clear that this is a question we should not ask.

    Also, asking this question can open us up to contact from an evil spirit.

  • Marie

    Hopefully you screen these before they post, as I would rather this not be posted. I loved the link to explain why Angels are not to be given just any name. I’ve heard we can name our angels but for years I have not been able to come up with a name for mine and have been thinking the name Michael was fitting because he is such a powerful Angel :)
    After Mass yesterday our dear priest said because of the feast day coming up he wanted to share some neat things about Guardian Angels with us. He shared some really neat things and one was naming our Guardian Angels. I don’t think he is aware of this about the limited amount of names to be used to name your angel. Thank you if I get a chance I will share this with him.
    Karen

    • Angela Goudman

      We are not permitted to name our Guardian Angel because each angel already has a name given by God. However, if you want to address your angel personally, it is acceptable to use the name “Guardian”. (This is from Catholic Answers Forums.)

  • Camila

    So interesting. Padre Pio talks about us never forgetting we are never lonely, because we always have the company of our guardian angel. I like that.

  • Dominican Friar

    Correction: It’s actually Paragraph 217 (not 216) of the Directory on Popular Piety.

  • Dianne Wood

    What if your angel tells you it’s name?

    • Jon Fermin

      careful, that might not be your guardian angel.

  • SalomeEllen

    Hmmm. At least one of my children — who is quite spiritually sensitive — believes that her guardian angel told her his name. I can’t see a theological problem with that….

  • Maria L B

    Most of the time, mine is called “Hey! Why Weren’t You Paying Attention?!” JUST KIDDING! My poor guardian angel puts in a lot of overtime. <3

  • Colleen Sheehy

    Fascinating….I usually address my Angel as Gloria (short for Gloria in Exceslis Deo) which s/he thinks is mildly hilarious. Says a sense of humor is a necessity for coping with the likes of me; can call her/him anything I like so long as I do respectfully CALL (or MY name will be mud….)

  • Julian Barkin

    Wow. This is so simple and logical. Really.

  • Julie Gill

    I’ve been telling people this for years. Angels are such superior beings, they don’t need names. I believe the main reason the church tells us not to name angels is that there is a danger, such as New Age, where as spiritual beings, the angels become a focus of attention rather than God. Even the names of the angels in scripture aren’t really names so much as a description of the particular work God has given them to do.

  • ps

    Makes sense not to name them, as that automatically subjugates them to us (i think that’s a prideful thing) because for sure God has already given them their “identity” like the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael but as a description of attributes or the goodness of God, since the angels, and including us, are suppose to praise God and fulfill God’s work, thus the “identity”. The closest I got to naming my guardian angel is calling it by what God has shown me – mercy – when I would pray and thank God – as God has shown me so much mercy (including giving me someone to watch over and protect me). But I always stick to “my dear Guardian Angel” when I personally address my angel.

    This also reminds me of Jacob wrestling with “an angel” – a common assumption that it was angel – but Jacob struggled with this heavenly figure, thus Jacob was renamed himself instead as “Israel”, literally “He who struggles with God.” and the “angel” he named “Peniel” meaning ‘face of God’, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (Gen. 32:30). But Jacob is a special case, in this case God initiated the re-naming of Jacob, and Jacob doesn’t necessarily named an angel but described his encounter with God.

    • Andrew Patton

      Jacob named the place, “Peniel,” not the Angel of the Lord. Furthermore, the fact that he said, “I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared,” suggests that the Angel of the Lord was in fact the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Paul H.

    Is this really a matter of such import that it requires more than a passing thought, much less a blog post? This Catholic legalism seems like exactly what Pope Francis has instructed us to avoid falling into.

    • Jon Fermin

      It’s not legalism, it’s applied theology. it imparts an important fact not only about angels or their names (whatever they may be) but also what it means to name and be named. it’s therefore a reflection of our identity in relation to Christ. and a warning to take names seriously, lest you feel the urge to name your kid something stupid like cucumber.

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        Actually, though, it’s not so much “an important fact” of angelology, but rather it’s a “prudential judgment” about angelology. Individual Catholics’ mileage may vary…At least there’s nothing available on the Vatican web site to suggest otherwise…

  • Bill

    I have been jokingly referring to my angel as “Clarence”, but just as a nickname. I understand he has his own name.

    • J.A.V.R.

      You only give nicknames to subjugates (children, pets) or equals (brothers, friends) both of which angels are not. They are not our buddies. Just like I said to other people here, would you call a police officer by a nickname or would you refer to him as “sir” or “officer”? If you’re an enlisted soldier in the army and you befriend an officer, are you allowed to call him by his given name without his explicit permission or are you supposed to refer to him as “sir” or by his rank at all times? Would your parent permit you to call them by a nickname, even if jokingly, without their approval of such nickname? It’s all about respect for our superiors and angels are far superior than any police officer, army officer, king, or parent.

  • José C.

    When I invoke my Guardian Angel is call him “Malak”. I believe this means “angel” in Hebrew. I do use it like a name, but it is also what he is. I see no reason why this violates the teaching above. Am I wrong?

  • Collin Stewart

    I feel like this passage is being taken a little out of context (and it’s found in 217 not 216). Your name is Taylor and let’s say I decide to think of you as Dark Hair Guy because I don’t speak your language. Me calling you Dark Hair Guy does not change the fact that you are Indeed Taylor. It’s just my nickname for you because I don’t know you or understand “Taylor”. If I call you something else I am NOT trying to claim ownership or authority over you. I am merely associating something familiar to me to make the association simpler for me.

    • J.A.V.R.

      If you approach and address a police officer, would you refer to him as “Dark Hair Guy” or “Guy in Blue” or would you address him as “officer”? It’s the same and more. Angels deserve more respect than any officer, judge, or King on Earth and should be addressed as such.

  • Matt

    Perhaps a nuanced difference but the devotion I learned of was not to name or give a name to one’s guardian angel but to prayerfully attempt to learn what it is. That does seem quite a different thing…

  • Danny

    My Guardian angel revealed his name to me, I did not name him. Is this still wrong?

    • J.A.V.R.

      I would just advise that you make sure it is without a doubt your guardian angel and not someone else.

  • Craig

    No authority over angels?

    Are they not all ministering (λειτουργικός – “of or pertaining to service”) spirits senot on behave of those who inherit salvation?

    In speaking of the angels he says,
    “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”

    How is it that one might think that we whom He has made sons, and joint heirs together with Christ,
    have no authority over those who serve for us?

    • Fr. Savio

      Do you have authority over priests or bishops? But they too are leitourgikos, ministers. In the kingdom of God, those who have authority serve. It doesn’t mean that those they serve in return have authority over them.

  • Betty

    I have always encouraged my children to name their angels in order to have a more intimate relationship. It’s totally innocent and they will find out their angel’s real name when they go to heaven. Why not educate the faithful that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are only to be used rarely or that holding hands during the Our Father is not in the rubrics? There are so many other things that are a danger to the faith.

    • Fr. Savio

      Betty, while I agree with you about some of the other things you are concerned about, I am afraid that the practice is neither totally innocent nor devoid of danger. Please look at my reply to patricia up above. And I don’t know that an angel would appreciate being willfully called by a wrong name, any more than a human would. But thanks for your faithful vision and concern for your children’s formation!

  • Tony Lee

    Thank you for this revelation, as I was previously informed that we could name our own guardian angels. I had named my guardian angel ‘Michael’ but I now know better.

  • Judy

    But they said we can “ask them their name” which is not naming them but just asking them their name. Even Fr. Larry Richards said so on EWTN. I asked. He asked. We didn’t name them but we just asked them.

    • J.A.V.R.

      The only problem with that is that you have to make sure that it is your guardian angel who reveals this name and not a demon. Demons can show up as angels of light and one can’t tell the difference. That’s why it can be dangerous.

  • johnrey cb

    There is a difference between naming your guardian angel and asking (prayerfully) for your guardian angel to reveal his/her name to you. Consider it a gift if your guardian angel, without your asking for it, reveals his/her name to you.

    Dr. Marshall warns that this private revelation could come from the devil and not your guardian angel. In this case, we should be guided by Mt. 7:20, “by their fruit you will recognize them.”

    How is my Christian life affected by my knowing my guardian angel’s name? Do I grow closer to God and become more courageous in following Jesus? Do I gain more clarity, do I grow more humble, am I more generous, patient and charitable?

    You should always test any supernatural gift from God with the prayerful and discerning help of your spiritual director. One obvious indicator that what you learned in private revelation (such as your angel’s name) comes from a questionable source is if you feel a sense of pride or superiority that you know something that others do not.

    I asked for the name of my guardian angel and it was revealed to me. I have a friendship with my angel and I know this because I grow deeper in my personal relationship with Jesus. My angel ALWAYS points me to Jesus.

    Thank you for this article. The comments here only emphasizes, for me, the need for a good spiritual companion/director for anyone who seeks to grow more in their faith.

  • Lisa Beardslee

    A devout friend of mine once prayerfully asked for her guardian angel’s name during Adoration. A name came to her, and she was delighted. She went home and looked up this name on the computer, to find its meaning. It was the name of a demon! She is grateful she was inspired to look up the name, because otherwise she would have been praying to a demon, while thinking it was her guardian angel.

  • Deb

    You people have entirely too much time on your hands…

    • ariel3

      Well, when it comes to the practice and customs of our Faith, which should be our most important treasure, I just felt I had to make time for it.

  • ariel3

    I seem to agree with Jim Russel that the quote from Directory of Popular Piety and Liturgy can be interpreted for external public devotions. I think, in itself naming one’s angel is not bad, especially if it fosters devotion. I know a saint (St. Josemaria Escriva) who named his guardian “the Watchmaker” for fixing his watch every time he needed it, and encouraged the others to do something similar. I mean, the majority of Catholics don’t care about angels, why would we stop something that can help foster devotion to our guardian angels? I agree with that mother (Betty) who taught her little kids to name their guardian angel, they’ll know their real name anyway when they reach heaven. It’s actually something personal; there’s nothing wrong with it, we even have the example of a saint who lived in the 20th century.

    • J.A.V.R.

      If you look closely, Saint Josemaría Escrivá didn’t name his guardian angel; he gave the angel a title.He didn’t name his angel “Uriel the Watchmaker”, he gave his angel the title “The Watchmaker” recognizing the angel’s labor. It’s the same thing we do with the Blessed Virgin Mary, we never change her name; we give her titles and most of those title she gives them to us such as “The Immaculate Conception”.

      And even if the Saint gave a proper name to his angel, saints are still human beings and they can make mistakes.

      • ariel3

        Yeah, I guess you’re right that there’s a distinction between a name and a title. I guess I didn’t care, and I don’t intend to care. Come to think of it, I did not make a mistake either. I called my guardian angel “Reminder” because I tend to forget things. And I sometimes “reprimand” him in a friendly way when sometimes he fails to remind me. But that does not diminish the slightest our close friendship. Just like in any friendship, “hey, you let me down yesterday. But that’s okay, i also let you down sometimes, I’m sorry. But I’m so happy you’re my friend.” I think it’s a wonderful thing to have a relationship like that with one’s guardian angel, and I learned it from St. Josemaria. I don’t care if it’s a title or a name. And that’s my other point: let them be, if people have a devotion to their guardian angel and want to give their angel a name. Salus animarum suprema lex esto. If it will help souls reach heaven, why stop them? It’s proven by another saint, St. Padre Pio. Did he and St. Josemaria disobey the Holy See? (I think St. Josemaria would be happy whether someone gave his/her guardian angel a name or a title). I don’t think they disobeyed, as Jim said that rule can be interpreted as external public devotion. What’s more it was not an obstacle for them to go to heaven. So do you understand? Let the people be. Let’s not put too many rules. There are so many other more important things about our Faith that we have to focus on.

        • Dianne Wood

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        • J.A.V.R.

          Who the heck do you think you are? Such arrogance. You are comparing yourself to saints now and speaking for them? You need to learn humility and fast. Angels are not beneath us or in our same level of divinity; they are above and as such they are to be treated with respect because they are our superiors, whether you like it or not. Our church is a church of order and rules and it doesn’t pander to the masses. If you want to do whatever you want, you can go to another church, but in this church we have to obey the Holy See. If they discourage it is because they find something wrong with it but it isn’t a dogma yet so they can prohibit it.

          It’s like I have told other people here: if you know anything of the military, if an enlisted soldiers befriends an officer he still has to address him as “sir” or by his rank unless the officer gives him permission to address him by his given name. It’s the same with angels. They are superior to us in every way and we need to respect them.

          I don’t care if Saint Pio or Saint Josemaría called their angels by a name they gave them, which I doubt Padre Pio named his angel, and Josemaría didn’t do it either, you are not any of those men and you don’t have the special gifts and sainthood that they had, and even if they did they could have been wrong to do so.

          And no, you can’t just “let people be”. That’s how heresies arise and division come from. Our Lord is a Lord of order and laws, just like his church. If you don’t like it, you can leave and do things your way.

          Take care.

          • ariel3

            Who do I think I am? (yes, I’m still here; I wonder if you’re still there) Well, I think I’m a sinner who loves Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother. I think I will spend the rest of my life atoning for my sins. And you say I’m proud. You are probably right, since I’m a sinner. And don’t worry about considering myself a saint, no way, I am far below the level of saints. When I stand before the Judgment Seat on the last day, I’d rather not stand but kneel down and beg for mercy. But at the same time, I remember what Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, the successor of St. Josemaria, said, (Bishop del Portillo is about to be beatified, only the date is being determined). He said it’s false humility not to try to imitate St. Josemaria, a disguised pride and love of comfort. So I just try to strike a balance: imitate St. Josemaria while being conscious that I’m far, far below his level. So I hope this clarifies my semblance of claiming sanctity.

            On respect: calling someone by nick name does not necessarily mean disrespect. Real best friends who truly love each other do so. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are best of friends and they joked around each other. But I’m so impressed by the respect they had for each other, as I read Jobs’ biography.

            On dignity of angels: the angels are superior to us by nature, but in dignity, Jesus Christ has changed that. St. Paul wrote to the Hebrews, “But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?” (Heb 1:13). God the Son did not become an angel or sacrificed Himself for the angels, but yes for human beings. God raised our dignity through the mystery of the Incarnation. Does this mean I now disrespect the angels? Of course not. I love them, and respect them highly.

            And also, with all due respect, sir, I’m afraid you have to prove that you are worthy of discussion, that you can argue with logic and reason. We are talking about naming angels, and that’s what I meant when I wrote “let the people be”. But to extend my statement to other matters and to heresies… oh no. Didn’t I even say that we have to focus on other matters, didn’t it occur to you I could have meant that, the great errors of our day: neo-atheism, the attacks against life and family, abortion, contraception, divorce, then pornography, moral relativism, etc. I meant these are the topics we should focus our resources on, Then you mentioned again obedience to the Holy See. Didn’t I already said the rule we are talking about could be interpreted as external public devotion? Following where the argument goes, this is what you should have tackled next. Shall I repeat what I already said? We would just go in circles. So I just wanted a sound discussion, because I am always open to be corrected, and will always follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Thanks.

          • suikojay

            Just wanted to say (even though I’m kinda late in this conversation), that Padre Pio called his angel, Angelino, which means “Little Angel.” It was more of like a nickname from what I understand, not a Proper Name.

  • Grizzly Bear

    I doubt that we have authority on Lucifer unless we command it in the name of Jesus Christ. My guardian angel may not have a name, but I call him Christian, because if Christ is not One with God, I prefer not to believe in anything.

  • Grizzly Bear

    Guardian Angel is a name just like Christian, it bears purpose

  • mika san pedro

    I think that giving a name of endearment to your guardian angel does not go against this Church teaching. When the Holy See is discouraging is the official naming of creatures who are indeed superior to us. But, I call my best friend y a nickname other than what his parents gave him..it si a name that is used only my me and he allows to be called that way only by me. Therefore, I can do the same for my guardian angel as my best friend.

    • J.A.V.R.

      The church is not a democracy where you do whatever you want or however you want it. If the Holy See discourages it is because they understand it to be wrong but it isn’t a dogma yet so they can’t prohibit it.

      Guardian Angels are not our buddies. Even Christ’s best’s friends, the apostles, whom Christ loved and called “friends”, would call Him “Master” or “Rabbi”. Considering that the angels are closer in divinity and power to Christ than we humans are, we should follow the apostles example of humility.

      • Dixie Grit

        wow. I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties.

        • J.A.V.R.

          What a childish comment. And actually I’m very fun at parties, but I don’t play or take lightly any matters of our faith.

  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

    Hi, J.A.V.R.–thanks for your comment below. I cannot agree, though, that I’m being “prideful” or seeking to be “smarter” than the Holy See by offering a more complete context for the single curial document on the Vatican web site that mentions the naming of the Holy Angels.
    In my comments, I’ve merely made clear that the Directory mentions not “assigning” names to the “Holy Angels” (not guardian angels) in the context of a section on *devotions* to the Holy Angels. Early in the document, the Directory itself defines what it means by “devotion”–it’s an *external* practice. Therefore it’s quite reasonable to conclude that the Directory’s mention of not “assigning names” to the Holy Angels other than Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael has to do with *devotions* (external practices) just like the document says.
    Thus, barring any direct documentary evidence offered in context that would address one’s personal and “interior” relationship with one’s personal guardian angel, I think it remains a matter of prudential judgment whether a Catholic addresses one’s angel according to the “office” of “angel” or according to a name used uniquely for the guardian.
    As to “accidentally” using a name associated with a demon rather than one’s angel, I have a question about that–what objective source does one turn to in order to determine that a particular name is “demonic” rather than “angelic”? I’m under the impression that there are relatively few “named” demons in Scripture, just as there are only the three named angels. So, I’m struggling to understand how this scenario really plays out for a Catholic who thinks he’s “learned” the angel’s name only to find out it is actually a demon’s name.
    In any case, my point isn’t to encourage–or discourage–the practice as much as it is to properly understand the curial document being cited.

    • J.A.V.R.

      Excuse me sir, but what I believe you’re trying to look for the cat’s fifth leg, as we say in my country. Why is it so hard to be humble and just obey the Holy See? We didn’t assign any name to any of the Archangels. They revealed their name to us. Like I told someone else here, did our Lord’s close friends, the apostles, ever called Him something else than Rabbi? And they were His close friends and even Christ Himself to them as friends or brothers. Now, of course Christ in greater in divinity than angels, but angels are greater in divinity to us. It all comes down to humility and respect to a being superior to us in glory and divinity, even if that being is our companion, guardian and friend.

      If you were a soldier in the army and you really befriended an officer you would still have to address him with respect, such as calling him “sir” or by his rank, unless the officer gives you permission to call him by his name. Or let’s say you’re English and you develop a great admiration and love for your queen, the Queen of England, would you address her as Queen Lizzie? So why do we show respect (or fear) for this earthly authorities and not for the heavenly ones who are far more superior? Or like with the Blessed Virgin Mary. She does have many titles but she has only one name and we don’t change it. The angels also have a name and we don’t know it we should called them by their title as a sign of respect.

      And about “accidentally” using a name associated with a demon rather than one’s angel, the problem is that when you deal with demons they can and will lie, so they can give you any name they want. That’s why exorcism are so hard, because exorcist need to know the demon’s own name so they can’t cast it out and even during the exorcism, in which the exorcist commands the demon in the name of Jesus Christ, they can withstand the pain and tell the exorcist that they are somebody else. And furthermore, you can look for a source of known demon names, and I actually know a few, but it wouldn’t really matter. A demon would never give you his true name unless he knows he has complete power over you, like a demon did with Sister Magdalena de la Cruz in the XVI century. If a demon is trying to trick you, he can appear to you and tell you that his name is “John”, for example and from that day forth when you talk with “John” you talk with him. No demon that is coming to trick you will come out and say “I’m Baal” or “My name is Balban” for example. They are liars and tricksters and that’s why this practice is really dangerous.

    • Andrew Patton

      It’s not that one will accidentally invoke a demon, but rather that seeking this knowledge opens one up to the demonic. That is why we must always test the spirits and never seek them out.

      • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

        Andrew, I couldn’t have said it better!

  • Pingback: #007: Your Guardian Angel [Podcast] - Taylor Marshall

  • Aunt Lois

    I’m not particularly concerned about my guardian angel’s name, but how do you come to know him? –And are they always referred to in the masculine? I’ve been praying the guardian angel prayer and the one to St. Michael for years but haven’t experienced any tangible sense of either one. It is simply a matter of faith that I accept and practice. Any thoughts?

    • Jon Fermin

      Angels are neither masculine nor feminine, but for ease of language they are usually referred to using masculine pronouns. as to tangible presence, Angels are intangible by nature, it is by God’s grace they can assume a form we may sense (ala the book of Tobit). normally Angels are trying to stay out of the limelight because it can distract from God who sent them. if you have received a grace from God, chances are it has been given a messenger, or angel as this is what the word angel means, it is an office, not a name.

  • CharOster

    Once Padre Pio asked Joe to select a name for his guardian angel. “Pick a name for your guardian angel and call him by that name always,” Padre Pio said to Joe. “When you send him to me, he will come instantly.”

    I’m intrigued by the criticism of this practice, and want to respectfully register St. Padre Pio’s contrary opinion, and mine. Since reading the saint’s advice to ‘give a name’ to my Guardian Angel, I have shared it with many others as a way of entering into the reality of that relationship more, of getting it through my thick head that this angel is real, and a very personal part of my life. In no way do I intend to claim authority over this angel, just to refer to him in our private communications in a personal way. Perhaps if I went about telling others to invoke the name, “***”, I would then be doing what it seems clear we should not do.

    • J.A.V.R.

      Did St. Padre Pio told the whole congregation to do this or just Joe? Padre Pio was a special person and we don’t know if he had a special permission from God to do what he did. Or we also have to consider that Padre Pio could’ve made a mistake. He was a saint, but he wasn’t perfect and he could’ve made mistakes.

      The point is that if the Holy See finds something wrong with this practice and they discourage it, we should abstain from it until an official conclusion is made whether we should do it or not.

    • suikojay

      I think what Padre Pio meant was something like a nickname, not a Proper name like Bill or John. From what I understand, Padre Pio called his angel, Angelino, which means “Little Angel”. To me, that seems like a nickname.

  • Rebecca Coomes

    Haha!!!!
    I remember back in my early twenties I named my Guardian Angel.
    Thought long and hard about it. Then when I was satisfied, I couldn’t
    call him that name at all. It just felt weird and unnatural. I finally
    gave up. Now I know why!!!! He was telling me to knock it
    off!!!!!!!!!

  • Lindsey

    This is ridiculous. I’m Catholic but you people have too much time on your hands. Stop making bs rules & recognize what’s going on in the real world.

    • J.A.V.R.

      And this is not happening in the “real world”? You do know that the earthly world is temporary but the heavenly is eternal? Therefore all matters of faith are important, especially this one where they are correcting people who address superior divine beings who deserve are most respect, incorrectly.

  • John Johnson

    There is a distinction to be drawn between “giving” your guardian angel a name and praying that your guardian angel’s name be revealed. There is something of a straw man in Marshal’s argument as praying for the angel’s name to be revealed seems more common than naming your angel like a pet. Nobody really does that.

    So, fine you are not allowed to “name your guardian angel.” But your guardian angel does have a name, given by God, and there’s nothing wrong with asking what it is.

    • J.A.V.R.

      I don’t think is wrong to ask your angel for his name either. The problem is that it could be really dangerous as a demon can pose as an angel of light and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference that’s why is safest to refer to your angel as “Guardian Angel”.

  • JeffB

    My immediate reaction to this? It’s petty. But yes, will look it up more.

  • Branden

    I don’t understand, your guardian angel is more than an instructor, he is your friend and protector someone to be with you and naming seems to make the relationship more intimate and personal..I just feel that takes away from the relationship..or maybe you don’t agree that there is a relationship between guardian angel and person or at least from reading some comments the relationship isn’t personal. I just want a better understanding is all.

    • J.A.V.R.

      But you only name things that are beneath you in hierarchy (children, pets, nature) or equals (brothers, friends), not your superior and angels are much superiors to us in divinity. Is a matter of respect. And in matters of faith especially, when someone is named it means that that person belongs to the one who named him, such as God with Abraham or Israel, or like Christ with Peter.

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        The bottom line here is simple, JAVR–you are going beyond what the Church herself teaches in this matter. Unless you actually can show evidence that the Magisterium teaches what you are asserting, I would recommend that you limit your comments about other Catholics’ prudential judgment on this matter. As it is, you simply cannot bind another’s conscience on this issue on your own authority.

        • J.A.V.R.

          How am I going beyond what the Church teaches? It all comes down to reasoning. If the Church explicitly says “The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.” and we have all the example of occasions of naming in the Holy Scripture, most of them made by God/Christ Himself,plus you add our own custom of hierarchy, it stands to reason that we should refrain from naming our guardian angels. It’s all about respect for these divine beings, superior to us in every way, and reason.

          Also, in matters of faith, when a practice is dubious, we should refrain from it until it’s completely established by the Holy See if it’s permitted or not. It’s just common sense.

  • Elaine

    My 2nd-grade teacher, a nun, told us that she called her guardian angel “Pete” and would call on him in times of special need. She suggested that we give a (nick-)name to our guardian angels, and I started calling my guardian angel “Buddy” at that time. I gave nicknames to my best friend and each member of my family as an expression of the intimacy that exists among us. All the members of my family had authority over me because I was the youngest. If one of them did not like the nickname, I would not use it, due to the same affection and respect that led me to give them nicknames to begin with. The wonderful children’s book about “Wupsy” or “Wopsy” the guardian angel of “Sunny-John” helps children understand many things, including our relationship with angels, who, the author is careful to point out, each have a “long and beautiful name” assigned by God “with a zillion letters” in it. That name can only be used by God to call an angel for a special mission (such as becoming a guardian angel of a brand-new baby). That’s why we use nicknames for our angels. We acknowledge that we are not God. Anyway, as in all things, I defer to the authority of the Church. I just hope this doesn’t become dogma but rather goes the way of limbo. Because I find it hard to speak to my angel without some kind of name. He doesn’t seem to mind “Buddy” and never fails to respond.

  • jeff lokanata

    Dr Marshall, acording prof. Peter Kreeft in his book Angel and Demon, guardian angel have a name. but to know his name, we must pray.

    my memory is vague about the book, since i read many years ago, i dont really remember what he exactly said

    • J.A.V.R.

      Dr. Marshall is not saying guardian angels don’t have a name, he is saying we can’t name them and asking for their name could be dangerous because a demon could answer instead of your angel.

  • Genie Summers

    “In the name of St Francis, I say to you: I haven’t gold or silver to give you, but something much more precious, the Gospel of Jesus. Go forward with courage!… Be witnesses of the faith with your life: bring Christ into your homes, proclaim him among your friends, welcome him and serve him in the poor”.

    — Pope Francis’ farewell message to the youth in Assisi and all Christians.

  • Caley

    Is it ok to give your guardian angel a nickname?

  • Chesire11

    What possible purpose does it serve to “name” our guardian angels? Not only does it strike me as patronizing, like when a complete stranger addresses you as “Chief” or “Sport,” but it implies some authority over the angel. If the angel has need of a name, he already has one, and if it doesn’t, then it does not have a name. The one thing we can know for certain is that it doesn’t need a name from us!

    I would also join with those who caution against “asking” our guardian angel to tell us their names. In the first place, if a name comes to us, we have no way of knowing who is answering. Is it our guardian angel? Is it our own imagination filling in the silence? Is it an infernal spirit trying to lead us astray? We don’t know, and since it serves no purpose to learn his name, the search for it is at best a pointless diversion, but could well be positively dangerous.

    Best not to treat with spirits so trivially. You have a guardian angel…ask for his intercession, and be grateful for his protection and leave it at that.

  • abcapasso

    Is there a name for this picture? I have tried to find it, but I can’t find it anywhere.

  • Jest

    The section — which is actually 217 — regarding angels says nothing about naming giving power. It is really more about childishly trivializing the role of Angels, IMO.

  • Foster

    Hi, Dr. Marshall. Did you hear this? Recently Pope Francis received a letter from a severely disabled Argentine teen boy, Nicolas Marasco, in which he related that:

    “Every night ever since you asked me, I pray to my guardian angel – whose name is Eusebio and who is very patient – to watch over you and help you. You can be sure that he is good at it because he watches over me and is with me every day.”

    Pope Francis mentioned this boy and his letter favorably in an audience in Assisi on October 4th. A few days later, Marasco received a letter from the Pope in reply, which read:

    “Keep helping me with your prayers, and also keep praying to Eusebio, who is surely friends with my guardian angel, who also watches over me.”

    I think your word of caution in seeking out curious but inessential spiritual trivia is well founded. I simply note here that, at least in this instance of Nicolas Marasco, Pope Francis shows not a hint of concern at the boy’s knowing or using the name of his guardian angel, and indeed, explicitly encourages his continued regular use of it, by telling him to: Keep praying to Eusebio.

    Even the Pope calls Nicolas’ guardian angel by name!

    Perhaps you have some thoughts on this recent and rather remarkable exchange?

  • Angel of Love

    You’re wrong. Angels not so attached to the name as we do. But we like the names of the angels will be happy to adjust it. Yes, angels are our leaders, but they also marked our guardians and loves us. So they really gratified and happy to adopt names that people give them.

  • doiregirl

    Good to know, I was not aware of this and often ask help of my Guardian Angel.

  • Diaconos

    Thanks for sharing this Taylor. I have had countless discussions with many women over this topic. Some even claim that “their Angel{ told them its name. It is scary that some people have such imaginations.

  • praedicator

    Funny. I tried to, but my angel would not let me…

  • Alex Marsh

    that rule douse not apply if you ask the angel it’s legit god given name. that you are asking say as a friend or introduction as u would with a tutor.

  • Gualteros9

    We can name our Guardian Angel. Opus Sanctum Angelorum, an approved order of the Church whose sole purpose is to promote our Guardian angels, promotes a relationship with our Guardian angels and encourages us to name them. What you have referenced here refers to angels in general,not guardian angels and it is not a formal prohibition but rather a discouragement, which does not bind us one way or another.

  • http://www.saints365.blogspot.com Debbie Gaudino

    Thank you thank you thank you! I have never done this but know many who have and the practice has always made me a bit uncomfortable. I appreciate you clarifying the issue.

    • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

      It’s a controversial one, for sure!

  • Shannon Marie Federoff

    How about a nickname? :-)

  • Gabriel Anthony Rojas

    I Want To Know My Guardians Name.

  • Johanna Rubin

    I have an old Prayers to the Nine Choirs of Angels booklet. It lists 7 named Archangels and the Sacrament each is associated with ..
    1.Michael “who is like God” Holy Eucharist;
    2.Gabriel “Strength of God’ Baptism:
    3.Raphael “Medicine of God” Penance;
    4.Uriel “Light of God” Confirmation;
    5.Jehudiel “Praise of God” Extreme Unction:
    6.Salaltiel “Prayer of God” Holy Orders;
    7.Barachiel “Blessing of God ” Holy Matrimony.
    Are you familiar with the 4 other Archangels? Or are these not legit? Where are they found in Scripture?

  • Mark

    But what if it’s an affectionate nickname? In our family we all have nicknames. To me, it’s a sign of and feeling of affectionate intimacy to call him by the name he has in my mind. My guardian angel is as close to me as my spouse. St. Faustina claimed St. Michael was her guardian angel. It’s in her diary.

    This is pretty silly. There are more important things to be teaching about than a gray area like this one.

  • John Mallon

    During the “Name your Guardian Angel” craze I was having dinner with a priest who told me some lady said, “Father, what’s your guardian angel’s name?” The priest calmly replied, “Meathead.”

  • Ester

    Why Catholic Church is always trying to separate humanity from Heaven? Why do they want to keep us apart from angels and spirit guides? Why do they call any attempt to connect us to the Divinity within as “evil”? Is it because they deeply fear what the voice of God could tell us? like Catholic Church is the biggest lie ever? like Vatican is just a fat and lazy monarchy? Please, listen the voice of the heart and not to a bunch of ignorant men afraid of losing his “sacred powers”

  • Allison

    When i was younger i would get scared going to and from school (i walked with my older siblings,) and i would have terrible nightmares. My grandmother would tell me that we had two angels guarding us and one was named Bubba (a big burly biker) and jake (tall and skinny with the kindest eyes) and i know she fabricated them because my mother told me how they came up with them. But when my grandmother passed when i was 5 the night before she took her last breath i saw the angels she told me of. My older brother (about 9 at the time) sat beside me and watched me jump up and down did not see them even though i pointed them out and they stopped and winked and smiled and waved before entering my grandmas hospital room. When i ran in the room they were gone but my grandma winked and smiled (she couldn’t speak) she was telling me she saw them too. How do i find their heavenly names because to me they have always been Bubba and Jake.

  • Judy

    Hmmm…isn’t there a story of Padre Pio naming his angel?

  • Susan J Melkus

    I thought this practice was a bit ‘off’ when I first heard about it 7 or 8 years ago, just a year or so after we returned to the Church. Those little ‘checks’ in one’s gut and red flags that pop up do need to be heeded. Great post! Thanks.