Today’s Thoughts: I have always had a special affection for our feast today, the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. Perhaps it goes back to my childhood, when in the first and second grade we always had to save room at our desk for our guardian angel. It was one way that the good Felician Sisters taught us about the spiritual life, but it also helped them keep order in classroom, for you see if we kept a space on our seats for our guardian angel then the theory was we would not bother the person sitting next to us. I have to say, sometimes it worked but most of the time it didn't!
A year or so ago another childhood memory came to mind. One of my favorite movies as a kid was Angels in the Outfield, (the original 1951 version with Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynn, the voice of James Whitmore and cameo appearances by Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio and Bing Crosby, just to name a few). I loved the movie because it took place in Pittsburgh and centered around the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates and how the Pirates overcame their last place woes with the help of Heavenly Choir Nine, a celestial team of deceased ballplayers, who began bestowing "miracles" upon the Pirates—but only on the condition that their loud mouth manager Guffy McGovern put a moratorium on swearing and fighting. It is a wonderful and funny story. I sometimes wish the Heavenly Choir Nine would return to help the Pirates once again – I can dream can’t I!
The point of my walk down memory lane is that the spirits of God's presence which we honor and celebrate today, Guardian Angels, play an important role in our life. Whether we acknowledge them by saving them a seat at our desk or laugh and cry with them as Hollywood brings them to life in movies like Angels in the Outfield or It's a Wonderful Life, we all have had moments and experiences in life when we sense that God has sent someone to help us.
It might be a special person from our past, whose loss we have grieved but who seems to continue to walk with us helping us overcome a struggle, an obstacle, or a difficult moment. Someone whose spirit whispers in our ear a good word that sends us on our way in the right direction. A loving spirit who lets us know that we are not alone, we are loved, we are important, we are special and that makes all the difference at that moment in our life.
Throughout the scriptures God sends his spirits, his messengers, to help people on their journey of faith. Why should this moment in time be any different? Why shouldn’t we believe that God sends his spirits, his messengers into our lives from time to time to help us on our journey?
Many years ago, I was running the Boston Marathon. It was my second time running that marathon. I was at mile 25 and out of gas. I could barely walk. I was just trying to find any strength so that I could keep moving forward. A young woman stepped off the sidewalk and began to walk alongside me. I didn’t know her. She asked me my name and then put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You can do this! Let’s run!” She began to run and so I began to run. She asked me if this was my first marathon and I said “no.” She said, “Then you know that you can do this so let’s run!” And we began to run faster. In the next moment as I seemed to get new energy I looked to my side and she was gone. I never got a chance to ask her name or to say thanks! I am sure it was my guardian angel just making sure I kept going. It is something that she has done now for 65 plus years in many different ways. You might say I have gotten her, “her wings,” many times over!
In the Talmud there is a saying, “Every blade of grass has an angel that bends over it and whispers... Grow, Grow!"
In the Gospel today (Matthew 18: 1-5, 10) Jesus reminds us that our angels are always looking upon the face of God. In other words, they have got a special connection with God that someday we just might need. So, as you journey through today remember to save a little space for your guardian angel and take a moment to thank her or him for the journey so far!
Have a great Wednesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...