• Fr. Daniel Gifford

Angels, Saints and Other Instruments of God's Providence

There are many ways that the Lord reveals His perfect love for us. At times, we might feel as much like the one who has been beaten and robbed in the Good Samaritan parable, as we do the passer-by hearing the call to stop and show mercy. When we are the ones in need, it is indeed a humbling experience. As such, it is also an opportunity to learn to trust in the Lord and His providence. Of course, we know that He doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we would choose or according to our time table. But, He hears us and invites us to trust Him. Still, sometimes we do experience the Lord working through the help of individuals, even strangers, who might come to our aid. In these moments, it doesn’t necessarily mean these persons are angels. I would also not be so bold as to rule out the possibility. The Lord works in many ways. But, we should recognize that we as members of the human race (which angels are not) and as members of the Body of Christ, ought to come to one another’s aid. We should expect that the Lord works through humans, just as He does through angels. We are not angels. But, we are called to be saints. Our belief in angels is an opportunity to wonder at the mystery of God’s creation, which includes non-corporeal persons who intercede before God on our behalf and whom He enlists to help care for us in ways that will largely remain a mystery to us on this side of eternity. So, we thank God for the many ways He works in our lives. This includes thanking Him for our guardian angels. Every soul is indeed entrusted to a guardian angel. We were very likely taught to ask for their prayers as children. In its simplicity and beauty, this prayer is well worth being a part of our prayers throughout life: Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule and to guide. Amen. We have a very special guardian angel statue in our Adoration Chapel (front cover), which not only reminds us of our own person angel, but the angels entrusted with the care of the precious souls who have gone before us into eternity, especially the souls of children. The loss of a child at any stage of life, whether born or unborn, is indeed a great pain and sadness that is beyond imagination. We find comfort and consolation in the perfect love of God, to whose eternal embrace we entrust these precious souls. And as we do so, we might find additional comfort in considering them resting peacefully in the arms of their angels, carrying them to the throne of their Heavenly Father. The Father reveals in many ways that we can trust Him and rest with confidence in His loving care. He sends His angels to comfort us and He also sends us one another. Whether in grief or in any other difficulties, may we seek to answer the Lord’s call to be a saint by the ways in which we can allow Him to work through us to bring others consolation, hope and peace. Thank God for the angels and the saints the Lord places in our lives. May we strive to be one of those saints for one another.

ON RETREAT: Where in the world is Father Gifford this week? This weekend, Alive in You is concluding and the very same day, I am beginning my annual mandatory priestly retreat. This year, the priestly retreat and the annual diocesan Junior Clergy Days (held every summer) have been combined into one. With all of the other travel I have on my schedule this summer, I am grateful for that. I thank you in advance for your prayers for my brother priests and for me on retreat. I will return next week, just in time for Totus Tuus and Totus Tots to begin. What a summer!


APPEAL AT MASS: Next weekend, Father Fabien will make his appeal at all of the Masses, to support their mission in Africa. I thank you for the support you have shown him in the past, and pray that support will continue in the future. As I mentioned last week, I am grateful to God for the opportunity to have him visit our parish again this summer, and grateful to Father for covering the parish while I am away!

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