Friday, October 2, 2009

"Now I lay me down to sleep..."

It’s no wonder I think about children when I think about Guardian Angels. In today’s gospel JESUS makes the connection for us:

See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven always
look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

I can close my eyes and see the two ceramic angels that hung over the beds in the room I shared with my big sister. They were beautiful though without unique facial features. They looked a bit like children themselves except for the wings. I remember my mother telling me that they would keep me safe throughout the night.

Now that I am grown I don’t think about my angel anymore. I do think about my seven nieces and nephews, though. I believe their angels are on duty – ready to protect and comfort. But I am troubled by something in this gospel passage. JESUS is urging us to love and care for the children. That means that we are free to do the opposite. The evening news can force us to face this human reality. So, what does it mean when something horrific happens to a child? Does it mean that the Guardian Angel has too many to protect? A “caseload” too heavy to manage? Does it mean that the angels go off duty or get distracted? Do horrors happen when angels are "texting" each other and take their eyes from their precious charges? I don’t think so.

The belief in these beings is part of our Catholic tradition. They are created by GOD and the Lord JESUS tells us, in this passage, that they are both present to GOD and attentive to the children. I believe this to be true. When we read a novel like “The Lovely Bones,” or “The Shack,” we detect a theological truth beneath the fiction. Perhaps, we are compelled to read these books because they point to a GOD who is truly with us in every moment of human life - and death.

Horrific things do happen. Because we are free we can choose love or hate, peace or violence, life or death. I believe that when human freedom disrupts GOD’s plan for our good, the Guardian Angels are there. They are there when natural disasters hit and planes fall out of the sky (or into skyscrapers). They are there when soldiers fall and the criminally insane person take a precious human life. We are never alone.

There is just so much we cannot know about the passage through death. But what we know, we know because of Christ. The angels brought him comfort in his suffering and revealed to the disciples his resurrection. In this gospel JESUS tells us that they are and they are for us. When you watch the news tonight…remember and believe.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"In the sight of the angels..."

Today the Church celebrates the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The existence of angels in without question in the Holy Scriptures. Raphael protects Tobit in that eponymous book. Michael defeats the rebellious angels in the book of Revelation. And Gabriel was VERY busy – appearing to Zechariah to foretell the birth of John and announcing, to a young maiden in Nazareth, her role in bearing the Son of God.

Though this day honors the “archs” I think about all the angels in Scripture. Angels came to comfort JESUS in the desert and in the garden of his sorrows. Angels appeared after the resurrection to testify that He lives. And in Revelation there are multitudes – heavenly hosts who remain in the Presence and sing praise eternally.

I am in awe of the GOD who created such beings. Protectors, comforters and messengers of GOD – the angels, by design, serve GOD by serving us. Most little children are told of their “guardian” angel. Today, I am most grateful for the angels who came for our Sister Rosalia yesterday. These angels, who help us to make the journey, lead us into Paradise – to the place where Love dwells eternally.

Sister Rosalia claimed GOD as the center of her life and gave her gifts and her love for the building of the kingdom. During the days ahead we will hold a Vigil, a Mass of Resurrection and a Christian Burial for our dear, Sister. It’s what we do when one among us has finished the race. As we pray her home I will think of those angels…embracing that fragile body and carrying her home... where she will walk again in the land of the living.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki