Friday, February 18, 2005

Just One More Angel Story

Many saints and holy people enjoyed friendship with their Guardian Angel, whose intercession they frequently besought. Blessed Josemaria Escriva [now Saint Escriva] had a special devotion to the Guardian Angels ... Blessed Josemaria dealt with his own Guardian Angel and customarily greeted the angel of the person to whom he was speaking. He called him "a great accomplice" in the apostolate, and asked him for material favours too. During one particular period he called his constant companion my watchkeeper, because he had entrusted him with getting his watch going when it stopped, since he didn't have enough money to have it repaired. He set aside Tuesday as a day on which to put more effort into communicating with his Guardian Angel.

Once during a time of intense anticlerical persecution in Madrid a would-be aggressor stood menacingly in Josemaria's path with the obvious intention of doing him harm. Someone suddenly stood between them and drove off the assailant. It all happened in an instant. The protector came up after the incident and whispered to him: "mangy donkey, Mangy donkey," the expression Blessed Josemaria used to refer to himself in the intimacy of his soul. Only his confessor knew about this. Peace and joy filled his heart as he recognized the intervention of his Angel.

My "met my Guardian Angel" story is by no means as definitive as St. Escriva's. However, I do not know who else it could have been. This happened about 2 years ago. I was pulling up to a red light at a big intersection on my regular way to work. I was in the middle lane of the five lanes on that side of the street, the second car back. As I was slowing down, I noticed a homeless man on the median leaning nonchalantly with his back against a streetlight post. This is a place where a lot of homeless people begged. I was used to handing out granola bars practically every time through there. What made me notice this man though was that as I glanced at him, he was making specific eye contact with me, with an expression on his face of ... it is hard to describe ... quizzical, humorous, and, above all, familiar. It was as if he already knew me and was giving me this look to get my attention. As I stopped, he stopped looking at me and then looked unconcernedly straight ahead down the road behind me, not at any other cars or people. He was ignoring all of them. I really don't remember much about how he looked, except he was not old, his beard and hair were the exact same shade of golden brown as his clothes.

I sat there for a minute. I was out of granola bars. I was ignoring him too as I don't give money. Then I couldn't stand it. I kept thinking of St. John Vianney's injunction to give to the poor and, then, there had been that look. So I grabbed my purse and started opening it as I put the window down. He was already almost at my car ... now how he did that when I had just decided to give ... anyway, I gave him a few dollars. I didn't even look at his face. He said, "Thanks" and I said, "You're welcome."

Then he headed toward the rear of my car. I thought, "Oh, he's going to that gas station on the corner to buy food. He really was hungry." I looked in my rear view mirror. There were no cars behind me, although there were cars around me on all sides and a car in front of me. The man was gone. Well, he must be in the gas station parking lot. No. Or at an angle where I couldn't see him behind my car. No. He was gone. Vanished, you might say.

So I don't know who it was. But I will never forget that look. And I don't know why, if that was an angelic presence, he would have wanted those few dollars. Although that experience solidified my feelings about giving to the poor and it happened just a couple of days before a big debate I was part of in a women's group (which is briefly chronicled here).

So now I am done with angel stories, perhaps mercifully. I have heard a lot about others' stories so I'm passing the torch ... who will catch it?

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading the same story. Tomorrow is October 2nd, the feast of our Guardian Angels and founding of Opus Dei. And to St. Jose Maria Escriva we say "Mangy donkey, Mangy donkey".


    "Bless the Lord, all you angels of the Lord. Sing his glory and praise forever". " In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, my God".

    Happy birthday Opus Dei.

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