One of my earliest memories is of bedtime-prayers. My parents would tuck me in each night and pray that God would’ send his angels to look after me.’ Now I am a father with little ones of my own. I often pray these same words decades ago. As a parent invested in teaching my children Christian truth, I am always on the look out for resources forhanding down the faith. This is what Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle does for the topic of angels. Angels for Kids is a short, easy read which explains the world of angels at a level that children could grasp (I would say ages seven to nine). O’Boyle draws on the wisdom of the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the writings of pope John Paul II and other writers on Christian spirituality, ancient and modern.
O’Boyle covers a number of questions that kids would have about angels. She talks about the different kinds of angels in the ‘angelic hierarchy,’ angel stories from the Old and New Testament. what angels look like, fallen angels, the archangels, the work angels do and their friendship with us. She also shares prayers for angelic protection or prayers directed to angels.
I am an Evangelical protestant who reads widely across the spectrum of Christian traditions. Probably the point where I am most at theological loggerheads with the Catholic tradition, is in the area of ‘prayers offered to saints and angels.’ However when Catholics offer prayers to Mary, the Archangels or various saints, they are not worshiping them; they are asking for their intercession before the Father. You might say that rather than praying ‘to’ angels, the Catholics (and Orthodox Christians), pray ‘through’ them. I still find myself at odds with the practice (Christ is our intercessor).
So as a Protestant, I probably wouldn’t use every aspect of this book in talking to my own children about angels but I think it does a great job of summarizing Catholic angelology in an age-appropriate way. O’Boyle also shares what the Bible says about angels (in both Testaments) and some of the prayers shared are amenable to protestants, including this prayer of the Angel of Fátima (1916):
My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You.I ask pardon for those that do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you. (61)
Angels are messengers of God. They signal to us that the world is more complicated and wonderful than our material senses allow. Introducing children to what angels are and what they do is worthwhile. I recommend Angels For Kids to Christian parents (especially Catholics) who want their kids to enlarge their vision of the supernatural world. Protestants like me, will also find words to talk to their own children about angels. Angels aren’t fairies. They are real and the God they serve is real. I give this book four stars.
Thank you to Paraclete Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.