By Barb Arland-Fye
While taking a shower one morning before work, I heard a strange noise that put my mothering instinct on high alert. I grabbed a towel, rushed out of the bathroom to the bedroom just across the hall where a cabinet teetered precariously in front of my son Patrick, a toddler at the time. We were alone in the house, so I expended every ounce of energy in my body to stop that cabinet from crashing down on my son. By God’s grace, the cabinet did not topple. I held Patrick tightly in my arms, the water still dripping from my hair.
My guardian angel (and Patrick’s, too!), under God’ guidance, kept us out of harm’s way that morning. My gratitude remains all these years later. Angels have been on my mind over the past week because of the feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels, on Sept. 29 and the Memorial of the Guardian Angels on Oct. 2.
Praying the antiphons, psalms, canticles and intercessions from the Liturgy of the Hours on both days stirred feelings of gratitude for the angels in our midst. I believe my guardian angel is ever present but wonder whether some of the special people we encounter in this pilgrim journey on earth might be, for a particular moment in time, the embodiment of our guardian angels.
“Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar and near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states. The “whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels…. From infancy to death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. ‘Besides each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life’” (Nos. 332, 334, 336).
In a homily he gave on the Memorial of the Guardian Angels in 2018, Pope Francis described our guardian angels as “special helpers” that “the Lord promises to His people and to us who travel along the path of life,” according to a Vatican News story by Gabriella Ceraso.
‘“Life is a journey, along which we must be helped by ‘companions,’ by ‘protectors,’ by ‘compasses’ that guard us against dangers, and from the snares we might encounter along the way,” Ceraso wrote, quoting Pope Francis. These dangers, from my understanding, include complacency, going astray or losing our way on our journey to the encounter with God, our Father.
Pope Francis tells us in his homily, “Our angel is not only with us; he also sees God the Father. He is in relationship with Him. He is the daily bridge, from the moment we arise to the moment we go to bed. He accompanies us and is a link between us and God the Father. The angel is the daily gateway to transcendence, to the encounter with the Father …” (https://tinyurl.com/4aapp9kj).
Sometimes during the day, I encounter someone or sense a presence who influences the choices I am about to make, as if that person or presence is striving to guide me on the journey toward doing God’s will. I call the unseen presence the Holy Spirit. Perhaps it is my guardian angel, taking a cue from the Holy Spirit to guide me on the journey. The same unseen guardian angel who made it possible for me to reach my son in time to protect him from danger that long-ago morning in our home.
(Contact Barb Arland-Fye at firstname.lastname@example.org)