Putting away Christmas decorations I was reminded that we have quite a collection of angels, which including the one over the crèche number a dozen or more. They have come into our house mostly because friends, noticing that we had a display add to it. Although I enjoy the collection, it really belongs to my wife Mary. Even in the off-season she has angels to keep her company as another friend gave her a “birthday angel” for at least 5 years, all done by the same artist and all dutifully protecting her during her kitchen chores.
As a practicing Catholic I take these angels as a natural course of events and sometimes don’t give them the credit they deserve. First of all they are more than decoration. They have important jobs to do!
One of the first prayers I learned, which I said as I knelt by my bed every night, was ”Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this night be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and guide. Amen.” That was pretty clear. They guard us, from all sorts of dangers. And I suppose from evil.
Both the Old and New Testaments stress their mission as messengers. The Three Kings were warned that they should not go back to Herod. Joseph was warned that he should flee to Egypt. Mary was told she would bear a son, as was Abraham, who would have children “as numerous as the stars in the sky.” And each of the named angels, including Michael, Lucifer, Gabriel, and Raphael has attributed specific missions, many of which have been captured in art through the ages.
Contemporary authors like Dan Brown and Anne Rice have used or alluded to angels in their fiction and have more or less made a vampire/angel connection. Thinking on that and noting the huge attraction of the vampire theme to our adolescent population, I wonder if maybe we have missed a bet by not encouraging our children to discover their Guardian Angel when they were growing up. I think I’ll mention that to my son and his sons, aged five and twelve.
On the rear window of my car I have a small press-on decal of an angel. It came from a commemorative service, a memorial of my niece, who died at the age of 43 from breast cancer. It is there to remind me that she is with God and yet continues to have the interests of those she loved at heart. I see it and think of her every day. Do angels have a place in your life?