We spoke about where God dwells in us in our souls and that we are made of body mind and spirit. The soul is a spirit and has eternal life. The soul’s character can be bad or it can be good. We are process beings because we do not know all things and when we learn and act we develop either a good character or a bad character.
Because of our bodies, our souls are limited by time and location. As a soul or spirit we have the ability to transcend time and place. Pierre Teilhard Chardin said of us that we are spiritual beings having a human existence. We know this to be true because in one example Jesus was tempted while he was in the desert fasting by a bad angel who took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth at one time and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.” (Notice that Jesus never contradicted the bad angel – some think it was Lucifer himself, about his authority over the earth. Makes us think a little to whom we are dealing with if the earth belongs to the devil or bad angel.) Luke 4:1-13
Now Angels are realized beings. Like God they exist in time and outside of time and they know all things simultaneously. But I would like to use the word angel in a very restricted sense—not as a spiritual messenger of the bible, not a special illumination like Tess and Monica in the TV series, Touched By An Angel, nor a winged creature bearing a summons as the angel Gabriel with Mary or with the shepherds to see the babe in a manger, not even as a vision or anything preternatural. By an angel we mean here any person or event that has changed the whole course of our life, influenced our behavior, made us turn right when we were about to turn left and in general made us better. What lifts such a concept out of the natural order is that sooner or later it is seen as being an act of God.
Take for instance in the Book of Tobit of the Bible Tobias was sent by his father Tobit to the land of Media on a kind of economic mission. His mother was worried about sending her son on such a long journey, so she went out and found a guide, whose name was Raphael. Raphael not only protected Tobias from dangers and helped him to collect a debt, but even found a good wife for him. The Book of Tobit says, “Raphael was an angel, but Tobias knew it not.”
I want to tell you that God sends angels in our path who lead us to virtue or deter us from vice but we may never know who they were. Some wonder why God just doesn’t show himself like he did with Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and then with the Apostles through Jesus Christ. He was clear on that realm when we read the story of Dives and Lazarus. Abraham tells Dives that even if people rose from the dead and appeared to Dives brothers they would not believe. The tormentors chided Jesus to come down from the cross and they would believe, but Jesus knew better. The bad angel, devil told Jesus to throw himself down from a pinnacle and angels would spare him and the people would believe in his wonder show of awe. Jesus knew better than that as well.
God is generally operating behind secondary causes, like an anonymous benefactor. His direction of our lives is so hidden that most of us are unaware of how we were made an angel to help a neighbor or how a neighbor was made an angel for us. In remembrance of our patron Saints St. Francis and St. Tarcicius we are going to become angels for others in our lives as we put together our little boxes of animal crackers and blessed unconsecrated hosts with Jesus crucified to represent the sacrifice St. Tarcicius did to bring Jesus in the Holy Communion to Christian prisoners but was interrupted by some youth who beat him to death in order to have him surrender the precious sacrament. The youth who were like bad angels never did find the Holy Communion of St. Tarcicius because St. Tarcicius protected Jesus with his very life. And we will include a special card and prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and bring light to others were there is darkness, joy where there is sadness and Faith where there disbelief.
I know personally that I have been touched by angels in my life who have led me to a great education, marriage of love everlasting, this parish family and this building as home for our parish family. Miracles for me and I hope for you have abounded all around us. On a night driving from San Francisco to San Diego I fell asleep at the wheel. Both Marlyne and son Marc were asleep. At the moment the car was wandering off the road I was literally awakened by whom or what I do not know but it was at the moment that I recovered the car back on course. To this day we all agreed that some angel rescued us. Marlyne was painting our window frames outside when she heard a voice to help someone in need. She knew not where the voice came from but stopped painting and looked around. She wandered across the street to a elderly neighbor that had fallen and needed to be recovered. Marlyne was turned an angel and saved the neighbor but certainly we attribute the voice she heard to her guardian angel.
Dr. Paul Tournier, a renowned psychiatrist said that when we dedicate our lives to God he leads us step by step, from event to event. Only afterwards, as we look back over the way we have come and reconsider certain important moments in our lives in the light of what followed them, or when we survey the whole progress of our lives, do we experience the feeling of having been led without knowing it, the feeling that God has mysteriously guided us. We did not perhaps know it at the time. Time had to elapse to enable us to see it. But He opened the unexpected horizon to us.”