One night during my college-carousing days, I’d had too much Boone’s Farm wine while I was out with my buddies, feasting on chili dogs and cheese fries. On our way home, I stumbled, fell and nearly hit my head against a ledge.
“Wow, that was a close call,” my friends said. “You’re one lucky dude.” This was during the “dudism” era. “That WAS close!” I said. “No more chili dogs for me.”
When I told my mother the story, she had an entirely different interpretation. After lecturing me about my immature behavior and hanging out with the wrong crowd, she said, “Your guardian angel was watching over you.”
My guardian angel? What an interesting concept—one that I laughed off because at the time I didn’t have enough spiritual maturity. “Mom, it was pure luck,” I responded.
A few years later when I was in Paris, walking down a dark alley after a dinner of frog legs and French wine, two muggers tried to accost me. I was about to be mugged—I should have been mugged—and I don’t know why I wasn’t mugged, but I got away.
When I told Mom, she said, “You better say a prayer of thanksgiving to your guardian angel.”
As children, she taught us the wonderful prayer, “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide.”
Years later, I’ve left behind the Boone’s Farm and the frog legs, and I have a different view of guardian angels. Mom was right, I realize after a lifetime of experiences that were just too coincidental to be coincidence, along with too many perilous situations where I had to conclude someone was watching over me.
I’m not alone in this belief. A poll by the Associated Press said 8 in 10 Americans believe in the existence of angels. The research found that 88 percent of Christians, 95 percent of Evangelicals and 94 percent of those who attend religious services of any faith are believers.
In addition, a majority of non-Christians, along with 4 people in 10 of those who don’t attend religious services, say angels exist. Other polls have shown that only 34 percent believe in UFOs and ghosts while 92 percent believe in God, so there’s some sanity left in America after all.
My sons-in-law scoff at the idea because they only believe in what they can touch, see, taste and drink, which means to say frog legs are more real than angels in their opinion.
But everyone with an open mind and heart, even the positivists among us, eventually comes around when they realize the accumulation of coincidences is too great to be denied. I’ve met people who’ve had personal encounters with angels—supernatural beings sent by God to help them when they needed help. Usually, they’re hesitant to share their experiences because they’re afraid of sounding foolish. I’ve also heard stories of people on their death bed being visited by angels to help them cross over to the other side.
Theologians from Thomas Aquinas right down the line say there are angels all around us, waiting for us to ask for assistance, offering advice and defending us from evil influences. All we have to do is seek their help in prayer, and it will come. That’s a simple thing to do and something we should encourage our children and grandchildren to do throughout the day. All you have to do is ask … and the help will be there.
When I was in an antique shop recently, I found a book published in 1870 titled, Memoirs of a Guardian Angel. Now, that’s something you’ll never see on the Amazon best-seller list.
In his preface, the author wrote, “An angel tells what his duties and his impressions were from the moment a soul was entrusted to him, to that moment when she took her place at his side in glory.”
In the memoir, the angel talked about the many occasions when he guided his charge away from temptation, Satan, calamity and the mishaps and misfortunes we all encounter in daily life.
Upon the woman’s death, the angel said, “What consolation for me to introduce her into eternal repose with those she had loved, a soul I had so long guided through the temptations and dangers of life. After having made it my delight to share in her tears, how sweet it was to take part in her joy!”
Only when we meet our guardian angels face to face in heaven will we realize the full extent of their solicitous, loving and vigilant care for us – and wish we had said “thank you” more often to these tireless friends, these supernatural beings of love that God gave to each of us.
Joe Pisani has been a writer and editor for 30 years.