Saturday, October 2, 2010

Feast of the Guardian Angels

When I get to Heaven (let's hope!), one thing I'm looking forward to (besides Beauty) is knowledge and understanding. I'm hoping God will show me why some events happened in my life and in the world. I also want to see the unknown part others played--human, angelic, and God himself.

What does this have to do with our guardian angels? We're told they are looking out for our physical and spiritual well-being, helping to protect and influence us. This reminds me of a passage in C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, when a demon's "patient" has died and begins to truly see. Here is how the devil Screwtape describes it to his nephew, Wormwood:

     How well I know what happened at the instant when they snatched him from you! There was a sudden clearing of his eyes (was there not?) as he saw you for the first time, and recognised the part you had had in him and knew that you had it no longer . . .


     As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it!--that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse with spirits before whom you, a spirit, could only cower. Perhaps you had hoped that the awe and strangeness of it would dash his joy. But that is the cursed thing; the [angels] are strange to mortal eyes, and yet they are not strange. He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realised what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not, "Who are you?" but, "So it was you all the time."

Wow! What an image!
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As far as physical protection goes, now and then I read a miraculous story--you know the type--someone feels an invisible push as disaster whizzes by. It's not that I don't believe, but I'll bet our angels are involved more subtly and frequently than we can guess.

For example, when David was a young non-swimmer, our family hiked with my cousin and her husband to a remote creek and waterhole in Tennessee. As toddler Daniel and baby Joseph occupied my attention on shore, David slipped off a sloping rock and into water over his head.

I didn't actually see it happen; I looked up to see David's hands above the water! He was about 10 feet from the edge, 20-30 feet from me. I laid the baby on the pebbles, hustled into the swimming hole, and hauled/pushed David back onto the rock and the beach. He choked up some water, ate some Cheese Nips, and appeared no worse for the wear.

What got me (once the adrenalin wore off) was just how close a call we'd had. A few minutes before, there had been four or five adults around the hole. When I looked up, they were gone. Only my cousin and Lauren were left, sitting in a (noisy) little waterfall, with their backs to me. No one could hear me. No one (including me) had seen David slip. If I hadn't looked up when I did, I might not have known he was in the water at all.

I'm convinced a guardian angel (David's or mine) tapped me on the shoulder and got me to look up from the diaper I was changing. I don't KNOW it, but I can't wait to find out some day and have the chance to offer another grateful, "Thank you!"

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