It has been some time since I have given any thought to the question of the existence of angels.
Perhaps it has been since the time that I was a young theology student in the 1950s. It was a question in my systematic theology class.
However, while I was a patient in the Lahey Clinic, I received an e-mail message from a priest friend of mine, who was in the process of writing a book. This book was being co-authored with a Jewish Rabbi.
He and his co-author were working on a chapter concerning angels. He had written a good Biblical and Theological Study. He clearly explained the Roman Catholic teaching that angels were messengers of God, who brought God’s will and care to human beings. Yet this did not seem adequate or sufficient for their intended readers. He wanted concrete examples of the work of angels.
He asked me: “Do you have any concrete experiences of the work of angels?”
His question caused me to reflect on my personal experience of being a patient in a hospital as a result of a head injury. One of the difficult results of my accident was constant vertigo, especially when I would be taken for CAT Scans.
I felt I had reached my limits of endurance. One night at about 10 p.m., the dreaded transport agent arrived. He stated that he was going to take me for my sixth CAT Scan. I informed him that I did not think I could endure one more bout of vertigo. He told me not to worry — that all would be well. I was skeptical.
As he wheeled me down the endless corridors and into the elevator he began to talk to me about my favorite Saint, Saint Therese of Lisieux. He stated that he also had devotion to her.
That seemed very strange to me, since he stated he was not a Roman Catholic. Before I knew it, however, the test was completed and I was safely back in my bed. After that, I no longer experienced vertigo.
For me, this man who transported me was an angel. Through him, I experienced God’s love and care.
The lesson: Be aware that God’s angels walk in our midst, and God’s care and providence are with us in our needs.
He sends his angels through those who come to us in different ways, and his love is present through his messengers.
Yes, there are angels.
Father Ronald J. Gariboldi is retired pastor of Holy Family Parish, Gloucester.