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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Last Week In Heaven

Somehow our house has become a black hole for the internet! I've had to visit with you from school and I don't have time for that. Forgive me for my neglect and some big neglect it has been.

This has been a great week in saints.

Which reminds me, there is a raging argument here on the blog on the "That's the Queen of Heaven, Just Ignore Her" post, which is a very good read if you have a cup of coffee at your elbow and children who don't bother you when you get on the phone or the internet. Some of you have at least one of those things going on, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, back to last week.  Not only did we kick off the week with Archangels, we also honored our Guardian Angels and everyone's favorite garden statue saint, St. Francis of Assisi. I've waxed poetic about St. Francis before, in particular bemoaning his place in history as the patron saint of birds and squirrels and his place in our minds as a bird bath holder.  He had a lot more going on than that.  I'm sorry I didn't give you a heads up for his feast day.

But a couple of days before Francis, we had the feast of our Guardian Angels. I recently was shocked to hear a nun telling someone that the notion of Guardian Angels was just some sort of a Catholic fairy tale for children. I had to grab her and push her under the stairwell and shake my bony crooked finger in her face. And I thought nuns were better educated these days! I had  hoped that nuns weren't wrong nearly as much as they used to be.

The whole incident triggered quite a discussion between me and Sister St. Aloysius. Ever the intellectual, she had a take on Guardian Angels that was new to me, that frankly made a lot of sense. She always makes a lot of sense, even when she's standing out there in left field. When the ball comes to her, she is always ready.

I always thought of Guardian Angels as an angel companion that was ever at our sides, like the prayer "ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide."   But she sees them more as an advocate, every person's personal advocate, in Heaven, but AND by one's side.  It certainly is a more 'adult' view than our rather childish image of a giant invisible winged creature.

She has drawn her conclusions, the separated brethren will be pleased to know, from this passage from Matthew (18:10):  "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven."

Our Guardian Angels aren't standing by snatching us back from being hit by buses or kissing scraped knees. They are advocates for our souls and only our souls. They work on us through our senses and our imaginations but never on our wills, except by working through our intellects.  And they are with us for eternity, even after we make it to Heaven.  Like retirees at the Knights of Columbus lodge.

Perhaps my mistaken acquaintance confused the idea that angels work through our imaginations with actually being imaginary. Perhaps she had had little sleep and her mind had drifted into a pleasant fantasy of dozing in the arms of a sweet messenger of God while she half listened to a lecture on St. Thomas Aquinas' thoughts on angels and how they protect our souls. And then, while her lids drooped, she wondered why her angel hadn't stopped her when she was 8 from riding her bike down a bumpy hill that was much too steep, with her feet off the pedals and her pigtails flying, until she was going so fast she couldn't stop and broke her arm.

Perhaps he did stop her. From breaking her head.  She's a nun now, so he's doing a great job.


Tom Stephenson said...

My G.A. came to my bedside when I was a wee kid, Sister. She looked a little like the auntie I never had, but the fever subsided.

Paige said...

My mom insists that she was protected by her guardian angel when she was a kid growing up in Louisiana. She was picking blackberries and as she reached up, she got pushed backwards really hard and fell onto the ground. She looked up into the bush and there was a huge snake on the branch. She swears up and down she never saw it or heard it and no one was around her.

Anonymous said...

"there is a raging argument here on the blog on the "That's the Queen of Heaven, Just Ignore Her" post"

I don't think it's a raging argument Sister. Class is in session and De Maria is taking our separated brethren to school.

Anonymous said...

Guardian Angels and Archangels!! I had taken up praying for my prodigal son's life to all who I thought would listen, including to St. Raphael. He not only lived through a car wreck that should have taken his life, it also made him rethink how he was living his life. He is now in recovery (a non-denominational Christian program called Celebrating Recovery; it is a wonderful group) and is working his way back to the Church. Thank you Our Lady, St. Raphael, St. Dymphna, and St. Monica, and especially Our Lord!


The Lady Dragon said...

Sister St. Aloysius is too narrow in her intellectual view of the role of Guardian Angels. If saints who are earth bounc can bilocate, who is to say that angels cannot? I see nothing contradictory in my Guardian Angel eternally adoring the face of the Father and simultaneously protecting me from temptations and errant buses.

Maureen said...

Nuns certainly CAN be "misguided ";I remember being quite frightened as a child when the nun who was teaching us said that when we were baptised, we were given Heavenly Gills. Apparently, in order to be able to breathe in Heaven, we needed these gills.
I have a complete and utter phobia about fish to this day!