Guardian Angels

In my experience, Baptists don’t think about angels much. Since my conversion to Catholicism, I have acquired a great fondness and thankfulness for my guardian angel. (I’m pretty sure that angels don’t have a sex, but I always think of my guardian as a “he,” so I’m going with it.) I am
particularly happy to realize that he was working in my favor long before my conversion.

In fact, I can think of three occasions with probable outcomes for which, but for my guardian angel, I would not be around to write this post. The first was 20 years in advance of my embrace of the true religion which makes us aware that God has provided us with supernatural helps.
Katherine and I were traveling north on I95 between DC and Baltimore. Somehow, I managed to annoy a fellow motorist and he sought his revenge by moving into my lane in front of us and applying his brakes. Traffic was moving at speed, so that was pretty scary.

I cannot now remember what made me think that swerving to avoid a collision was a better option than braking within my lane and hoping for the best. Perhaps someone was close behind us. But swerving wasn’t the best idea. At 65 mph, that sharp a maneuver caused one of the front
tires of our vehicle to become separated from the rim of its wheel. The steering wheel spun in my hands and it was clear that I no longer had any control over the car. I expected to die shortly and my involuntary response was to close my eyes to meet my end.

But our guardian angels stepped in and we did not die. Rather I opened my eyes to find our car pointed south in the median after crossing the two high speed lanes of traffic to our left. After a short contemplation of this fact I managed to get the car onto the left shoulder and get the tire changed without further incident. I have pretty much blocked out that experience from memory, but may you never find yourself changing a tire on the left side of a four lane freeway.

The second occasion also involved a vehicle, but this time on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico. At the far end of the 14 mile Forest Service dirt road is the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert. At about the midpoint is a very narrow section with the Chama River a 40 foot drop on one side and a ditch bounded by wall of dirt on the other. There are no guard rails on this road.

In the normal course of events, this road is not particularly any more difficult to traverse that 100 or so other dirt back roads I have traveled. But on this day it had been raining in New Mexico and the red clay base of the road was possibly more treacherous than a snowy paved road in New
England. We were returning from the monastery at dusk with very low visibility and though I was on the lookout for this section of road, it caught me by surprise.

The surprise panicked me and in trying to slow down, the car began to skid. It was pretty much a 50/50 chance of ending up in the ditch or tumbling down into the swollen river. Once again our guardian angels stepped in and pushed us into the ditch. Even now, whenever I think about this episode, my stomach gets queasy, because any outcome involving the river side of the road could only believably result in death (though our guardians could have pulled a miracle out of that hat as well).

The final occasion is much more recent and so much more completely out of my hands. On a fine spring day three years ago while we were waiting for our vet to come have a look at our newborn lambs for a wellness check, the electrical system of my heart stopped working like it should. My pulse dropped to below 40 and, as we later discovered in the emergency room, my heart was skipping beats.

The miracle of this episode is that it happened when Katherine was near to hand and could help with diagnosis and the trip to the hospital. It could have just as easily happened when I was in some remote field all by myself with no prayer of getting back to the house and help.

Katherine has always said that we have the hardest working guardian angels and I have no doubt of it. Particularly, as these are incidents of which I am aware, in hindsight, of supernatural assistance. I am sure that there have been many more of which I remain blissfully ignorant.

I frequently thank him for his assistance and daily ask that it continue. To me, it is one of the great blessings of the Catholic faith that we are made aware of these creatures of God sent for our care and to inspire us in our fidelity to our faith.

For other tales of death averted and for more detail about how guardian angels can assist us in other ways, watch this YouTube video highlighting one of our grant recipients, Fr. Malachy, CFR:

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