Saturday, September 29, 2012

There really are angels

¡feliz #24 cumpleaños Michelle Josefa!

Born 24 years ago today, we named Michelle after St. Michael, whose feast she shares. Not coincidentally, Michelle has always been close to angels, especially her patron St. Michael. As a preschooler, she assured  me that she could see his big wing covering her like a blanket as she slept.

When I once asked how she found the courage to defend a classmate in grade school, she smiled a toothless grin. “That’s easy, I just asked St. Michael to help me.” In high school she asked her guardian angel more than once to talk to her friend’s guardian angel to help them resolve misunderstandings.

And, obviously, it was St. Michael’s protection that I sought as Michelle and her siblings learned to drive!

I remember being surprised to find out that there are at least 17 New Testament references to angels, most of whom appeared to someone at a critical moment. But I also believe that God’s guardians are always with me, reminding me that I’m not alone.

In her poem, “Angels,” Polish poet and writer Anna Kamieńska seems to share this same conviction:
There are angels there really are angels
they catch every sound idea with the fishing-rod of intelligence
and from pails full of truth pour a bit for good luck
they bake cake poach fish in white wine
they like good jokes
the whites of their eyes shine with laughter 
and we don’t know whether in a moon-bound vehicle
one won’t on the sly squeeze into a space suit
Their calves are too strong as in Flemish paintings
they are corporeal like pale oxen at the stream
but a fiercely kind force is in them
a friendly breeze billows their robes
They sit quietly in a waiting room at the dentist
in an empty chair and are the last to enter
A long silence trails behind them
that’s how you can recognize there are angels

You can read here the entire poem, "Angels," and others in Kamieńska's collection, ASTONISHMENTS [pages 14-15] (Paraclete Press).