Friday, June 5, 2009

Wherefore Angels?

So, last night, I told my brother Mike I have many reasons for happiness that day. The first, AOL is hiring contractors, and, with that, I can start receiving more income than sending outgo per month. That's a "plus." The second, my cara spoza doesn't have cancer; that's good, too. And, thirdly, my children are alive and not truck tire-tread road-pizza.

Like I said, a very good day.

Yeah, that last one. The setup is as follows: it was raining buckets, and I was walking my little dears to the library as my other little dear was getting her mammogram. We looked all ways, crossing that busy intersection of Burke Lake Road and Old Keene Mill Road. Surely there was traffic — there always is — but none oncoming. That is, none until we were halfway across the road, and truck the size of a Ford 150 came out of nowhere, barreling into the intersection at a speed faster than the speed limit, speeding past right-of-way traffic to make that left turn, right onto us.

I didn't even see it. And the driver didn't see us when he made the turn, but he slammed on the brakes, skidded on the rain-slicked road and did not crush EM and me and did not throw our little Iz a good distance.

I didn't think anything as this happened, anything other than getting the children safely across the street, but another driver did: she rolled down her window, shouted at the truck driver and then turned to us and apologized for his driving. I waved and stated my thanks.

But now I am thinking about it. Viscerally. I'm thinking: two little hands. One little hand in my left, Elena Marie's, that would have been crushed under the truck, and another little hand in my right, Isabel's, that may have been crushed or may have been thrown clear. But then what? She wakes up, or doesn't, in the hospital, and asks her mother: "Mama, where's Até? Where's Papa?"

And I'm thinking, how did this not happen?

As a Catholic, there's an obvious answer: guardian angels. Either the man's angel said: "Excuse me, blue jeans and sweaters on your left have people inside them …" Or our own guardian angels stopped that truck as the momentum of it and the lack of friction caused by the rain did not.

I have had discussions with other "Christians" who do not agree. They argue: what's the point to the entire set, all of them? Why have angels at all? God is sufficient unto Himself; He doesn't need angels to carry out His Work.

Why, indeed!

But that's not the real question, is it? The real question is why have us at all? I mean, it is clear that there are compelling reasons for God creating the angels, but what is not so clear is why would God even bother with us and the questions that we pose. I mean, obviously, God has more important Work to carry out that to stoop down and save two little girls that I'm rather fond of and the pater familias holding their hands, so why did He bother in this particular case, and why did He bother in the general case at all?

That's another question. And that's your homework — your essay question — "God, why did You create me?" Your life, ever second of your Now, is your answer.

But why angels? And why do angels bother with us? And why does God even bother with angels, when He can do it all Himself?

First of all, do angels exist? Answer: yes. Proof, read the Old Testament>Pentateuch/Torah, or the new Testament, or the Noble Qu'ran.

Put that one to bed. ("Oh, angels don't exist, but I believe in God and in man." Pshaw!)

Second of all, why does God even bother with them?

Now that's the real question. Because God has no need to bother with them at all, just has He has no need to bother with us at all. But He did. Why? I don't know. But I can take a guess, informed by scripture.

God thought of the angels "long" before He thought of us. Boom, He spoke, and whammo: Creation! What's the first thing out of His Mouth? The Bible doesn't put it like this, but the first thing out of His Mouth were the highest forms, Lucifer and the Seraphim. And guess what? God said, "Lucifer, how do you want to work this?" and Lucifer said, "Well, I think …"

And that was all she wrote for Lucifer. Because God was really asking: "Lucifer, you or Me? Your way or My Way?" And Lucifer lead off with the I, me, and mine, instead of the correct whatever you say, Lord, goes, or: only Thou, Lord. So, Lucifer picked up his ball, taking a third of the angels with him ("Hey, guys, b-ball at 5!") and played in his own damn court.


But here's the miracle, God asked the Seraphim the same thing, and what did they say? Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh … or ("English"): Holy, holy, holy … or (French): Saint, Saint, Saint … or (the modern translation): OMG, OMG, OMG!

The Seraphim, the most powerful angels, were so overcome with the Presence of God, that it set them on fire, and all they can do is shout: "Oh, God!" as they adure.

And so it went with all created things, the Cherubim, the Archangels, the angelic choirs … and then us.

And why do the angels bother with us? I mean, here's Gabriel, "just" an archangel, … an archangel that, with just one feather of one of his wings spans the entire Universe … "just" an archangel that with one blow on his horn calls then end of all creation, and here's Michael, "just" another archangel, that when God said, "Um, who's going to take out the trash?" St. Michael said: "Oh, God, let me get that for you, please?" and then took the rebellious angels and threw them in the incinerator … "just" an archangel that's more powerful than Lucifer, now Satan, and all his cohorts, combined.

And with all that power and majesty, they want to help us. Why?

Some more guesses here. God says, "Um, who wants to …" And He has the entire heavenly hosts just begging at His "Feet" to do something for Him. Anything! Imagine the honour! "God needed this done, and He picked me to do it for Him!"

And to be clear, God doesn't have "need" of anything, but He allows others to do things, in accordance with His Divine Will. "You know what will really perk up Mary [or whatever a particular Angel's name is, Mary may be a popular name in Heaven, but I wouldn't know]? That she helps guide Elena Marie to Heaven. I bet she'd like doing that."

But also imagine the hardship and "disgrace" that they must endure! Here's an angel, an eternal being of pure intellect, having to interact in Time and in the (Physical) World, to enact God's Plan. I mean, you can't get much farther than God, than Time (as opposed to Eternity) and the World (as opposed to Immateriality), but they do it, they beg to do it, because it pleases God.

"Hey, I need two of you to come down with me, assume temporal physical form, 'cause I gotta tell Abraham and Sarah about Isaac, you two wanna come?"

"Yes, Lord!" said tremblingly, awed that God picked them, ignoring the coming agony of assuming physical form, a form so opposite in nature to their own, even for a short "time," because they are doing His Will.

The second reason (in case you lost count, there were two reasons angels help us) is this: so they can learn from us.

Now, wait a minute, geophf, angels are eternal and pure intellect. They don't change, so what do they have to learn?
You say this so smugly, sure you've got the geophfster this time.

Yes, they don't change, do they? At the moment of Creation they picked God or they picked themselves, and now they exist, eternally, with and in that choice.

But we do change. Every second, we pick God or we pick ourselves. Every second we struggle with that choice. It gets better, doesn't it, right? Because the more we pick what we want, the harder it is to pick what God wants. But, sometimes, despite this concupiscence, we choose God.

Put yourself in the angel's place, watching this happen. Your thinking: God is God, c'mon, human, pick God, please! And the human, so stained by sin, says, ya know, I'm gonna go with God on this one.

What does the angel think, seeing this nearly lost soul reach heavenward? Maybe something like, Wow!

Why do Angels exist? No reason, as God has no need for them. But, it must be nice seeing that "little" guardian angel say wow! because it helped that soul take one more step toward God, because it helped Him in His Plan.

Why have angels? I really don't know. But today, even though I don't know, I'm grateful for their presence and their help.


Eve said...

Salamat sa Diyos!

I believe in angels. I do. I was once touched by an angel. A warm hand on my right shoulder while I was crossing a very busy street in Manila. I thought it was Diane for she was with me. But it turned out she has not crossed the street yet and she saw what happened.

Because I felt that hand on my shoulder, I looked back, thus holding me back a bit from crossing the street and by a fraction of whatever, avoided a jeepney rushing by the wrong side of the road, hitting me! Still I made a 360 degree turn and fell down and hit the pavement, barely missed by the jeepney. The driver brought me to a hospital. Had Xray taken. Thankfully, except for a general feeling of body discomfort, I suffered nothing more.

It was a warm hand I felt on my shoulder. Just like the warmth of the hand of my late father.

Angels come in many forms and guises.

Eve said...

Sorry, wrong geometry. It was 180 degree turn, not 360. Absent ako noon sa klase. :-)