by Frank Pauc
This first appeared in Frank’s blog on November 26, 2022, as “Guardian Angel.” It is republished here with the author’s permission.
“Angel of God
My guardian dear
To Whom His love
Commits me here
Ever this day
Be at my side
To light and guard
To rule and guide. Amen” – Catholic prayer to guardian angel
I remember learning this prayer very early on in my life. It was a prayer for me to say just before I crawled into bed at night. It is a very Catholic notion to think that there is a powerful celestial being whose primary job is to watch over a specific human child, or maybe a specific human adult. Perhaps other religious traditions have a similar idea. I don’t know. I do know that it is not a bad idea. As I enter my old age, I see the wisdom in believing that there is someone, somewhere, who is watching over me.
It’s 4:00 AM. My toddler grandson, Asher, sleeps in the next room. He sleeps the sleep of the innocent. It has been many years since I slept that way. For some hours I lay next to him. I kept waking up, checking on him. I placed my index finger on his wrist to feel his tiny pulse. I could feel its rapid beat. I could hear the gentle rhythm of his breath. Whatever dreams Asher had; they were and are good dreams. May it always be so.
Many years ago, at least forty years ago, I was an Army officer stationed in West Germany. I was wild then. I used to party hard with a Finnish helicopter pilot. I woke up in his apartment one morning after a night of debauchery. The man’s wife gave me some breakfast. She was concerned about her husband, who was still sleeping. She looked at me and asked, “I take care of Jukka (her husband). Who takes care of you?”
That was a damn good question. I did not know the answer then. I am not sure that I know it now.
The guardian angel concept seems flawed. The implication is that this angel will keep a person from all harm. Clearly, this is not so. We all get hurt, and we all die. So, what does our angel actually do?
I think that the angel keeps us from doing what is worst in our nature, and the angel nudges us to do our best. I think of the German film, Wings of Desire. The angel urges us to do what we have always been meant to do, from the beginning of all time. Each person has free will, so the angel cannot force our choice. However, the angel can hover over us, smile, caress our cheek, grasp our hand, and whisper in our ear.
What if humans could be angels?
When I look at Asher, I know that I cannot control his future. At my age, I may not even be a part of his future. However, for now, I can watch over him. I can hold him when he cries. I can gently correct him. Mostly, I can show him that he is loved, unconditionally loved.
We can all act as angels if we choose to do so.