Monday, October 15, 2007

My guardian dear

Few things in life burden the human heart with greater sadness than loneliness. To awake each morning to the pangs of unwanted solitude can be emotionally crippling to our self-esteem. Our senses long to know the touch of a loved one, our eyes seek to rest upon the smile of a guardian, and our hearts sigh for the faithful love and friendship of a kindred spirit.

And although many of us truly struggle with a deep lack of human affection, most of us also fail to recognize the companions we’ve been blessed with all our lives.

Earlier this month, we celebrated the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, as well as the feast of the Guardian Angels. During those days, the Church celebrated the gift of these heavenly spirits with joy, although throughout the year, angels are constantly present to us also in the scriptures as beacons of light in our pilgrimage towards the City of God.

Every Catholic child is brought up to believe in a personal guardian angel who watches over him/her from cradle to grave. I too recall being given a beautiful prayer card when I was about seven years old; which depicted an angel watching over two little children with great tenderness and love - his powerful wings stretched over them as a gentle shade as they picked flowers along a brook - his eyes never far from their faces.

Of course as Christians we believe in the existence of Angels since it is a matter of scriptural and doctrinal truth, but the idea of a personal guardian angel seems more suitable for children; just like Santa Claus, fairies and elves. Adults in a sense should know better than to indulge in such naivety.

But is it really immature to believe in guardian angels? Let’s think about that for a moment. Who among us need guardians? The young and vulnerable certainly, but also the weak and defenseless.

Alright, but who else? The rich and powerful surely want to be protected from envious enemies who may wish them harm, but equally deserving of this help would be the prominent children of royalty and heads of state.

I think of how young royals, or the children of Presidents etc, are constantly caught on camera accompanied by their armed bodyguards or secret service agents wherever they go. Understandably, this vanguard of safety enforces some degree of necessary protection.

For some however, this relationship is more than just a security detail. In times past especially, the personal bodyguard is not just protector and shield, but also mentor and confidante. His mission is to constantly look out for his young charges, to ever remind them of their exalted dignities – and by association – their royal duty to always live and act in ways worthy of such dignity.

Far away from the comforts of palace and throne, whether at work, at play or in school, the bodyguard reflects and recalls the memory of the king upon his royal charges; so that despite the natural vigor and adventure of youth, the young royals may not forget their own princely dignity, but always be reminded of their duty, honor and special calling in life.

When this guardian is not protecting, he is counseling, tutoring, encouraging and consoling his young friends.

Now as children of the King of Kings, are we thus not children of royalty? And as children of God, are we hence not vulnerable to the preying intents of His enemies, who desire nothing more than to see us lose our heavenly inheritance through sin.

As such, far away from our heavenly home, do we not need and deserve a spiritual mentor and bodyguard to watch over us until the time comes for us to return safely to our Father’s house?

Of course we do, lest we forget our true dignity as children of God, and embrace a lifestyle and attitude more akin to animals.

Indeed, our Heavenly Father commands that for every one of his sons and daughters, there should be entrusted an angel of light as guardian; to accompany, lead, teach, protect, guide, console and defend always. And like the best of the best, our spiritual bodyguards come to us from God’s own elite army.

These magnificent soldiers of Christ are not cold, nor frightening in their sense of duty before God. Rather they love us with the tenderness of God’s own flaming heart, and seek nothing less than to set our own hearts afire with love for God. They are solicitous to our needs, desirous of our happiness, and faithful to us from cradle to grave.

They are as St. Padre Pio often claimed; our dearest companions on earth. Sons of God in whom his glory is made manifest and his will enthroned for our sakes. They are our friends, our elder brothers in Christ, and our dearest companions from young. They are our own guardian angels, no one else's.

Now it is not enough for us to know that we have a protector and guardian, we should also remember that we have a mentor, confidante, brother and friend, with whom we can open our hearts without fear or regret.

With every step we take in this life, a strong arm is there to support us in love and courage, assuring us that God is ever with us. One of the most beautiful images in scripture for me is the verse about the Archangel Raphael personally offering the prayers, sighs and petitions of Tobit before the face of God, joining his own angelic voice to the prayer of this poor man; interceding for him before the Most High.

Such is the devotion of the angels to us, lest we should lose heart and forget that God exists, and yes he loves us.

The next time we feel alone, let us not forget to turn our minds and hearts to this faithful, loyal and heavenly companion - to ask his help and guidance in all things, to seek his counsel and prayers, to speak, smile, cry and celebrate the joys and sorrows of this life with - for he is eager to serve and lead us to Christ, who is our common master in life and in death.

So to all those who read this, I salute you and your angel with love, and I leave you with this childhood prayer, since those of us who have experienced this friendship know that guardian angels in particular, show us the face of God in a world bereft of supernatural vision:

“Angel of God, my guardian dear. To whom God’s love entrusts me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen”

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fishers of Men (Part 1) AWESOME!

A beautiful vocation video for those of you discerning a call to the priesthood

Fishers of Men (Part 2) AWESOME

Second part of this very well done vocation video

Monday, October 1, 2007