2020/05/05

One Break-in, One Angel

Angel at the Door

A reader passes along this story.
The story about the visitor to the Kildalton Old Parish Church struck a cord with me. I thought I might tell you a story from my family.
I believe in angels. I believe in them because the Scriptures speaks of them. I also believe because my father saw one. I believe him, and received the Faith from him, so if he says it happened, it happened. My parents led me to faith in Jesus Christ, so they are both my physical and my spiritual parents.
My father told me this story many years ago. It's been a long time since I've asked him to tell it, so some of the details are fuzzy and possibly slightly inaccurate, but the essence of the story is true. That I would assert above all else: this story is true. I believe it. My father was not telling a ghost story, but recounting cold, hard fact. If some of the details diverge from the way he told it to me, the way it happened, the fault is entirely mine.
My father and mother were married in El Paso, Texas, shortly after he graduated from USMA in 19--. USMA (pronounced "USE-may") is the United States Military Academy, the Academy for the United States Army. It is better known as West Point. My mother had finished college early and moved El Paso to attend the graduate program in English at UTEP. She lived there with her sister, who was a nurse in a Catholic hospital. My mother and aunt are lifelong Southern Baptists, but my aunt chose to work at that Catholic hospital because they did not perform abortions. She would go on to a long career on the foreign mission field as a nurse midwife in Sub-Saharan Africa, bringing babies into the world and spreading the Gospel of Christ. She has retired from that mission field to find a new place as an ultrasound technician in a crisis pregnancy center, because that's just who she is.
Recently commissioned First Lieutenants in the US Army don't make a lot of money, so my folks didn't live in a good part of town. As my dad related the story, every other other apartment around them was vandalized with graffiti or broken into, except for theirs. One night, my father learned something that could explain how. 
A loud noise woke him in the middle of the night. He went to investigate. It sounded like someone was trying to break in. But whoever it was couldn't because, "There was an angel holding the door closed." 
Those are very nearly the words my father used, if they aren't an exact quote. He never described the angel, but I always had the impression of an angel physically present somehow, with a literal hand pressed against the door, holding it shut from the inside. I can't remember whether he said there was one, or more than one, but I can't imagine needing more than one angel. It's like, "One riot, one ranger." One break-in, one angel. I imagine one tall, muscular man with long hair dressed in a white robe putting all his weight against the door with one outstretched arm holding it closed. He is translucent, but also radiant: a man made of light, glowing softly in the darkness.
I praise God for the way he defended my family.

May God defend us all.


Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

16 comments:

  1. If only American Catholics still learned about their guardian angels. They would probably jerk themselves anyway, but they would know that they had them before they would drive them off.

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  2. I can’t remember the name but this reminds me of a man who won the Medal of Honor in Vietnam when he rescued 20+ wounded soldiers one at a time.

    Accounts of witnesses claimed that the soldier, who now that I write this, I believe was a chaplain, seemed protected and witnesses watched enemy tracer rounds “bend around” him as repeatedly walked out directly into the enemy field of fire.

    The older I get the more I realize how little I knew back when I prized ‘rationality’.

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    1. If you could dig up a full version of that account, I'd love to read it.

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    2. There is a similar story from a Japanese infantryman who tried to shoot Desmond Doss repeatedly, but couldn't. His gun kept jamming when he had Mr. Doss in his sights.

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    3. Sounds like some of the accounts about Angelo/Charles Liteky.

      After the Vietnam war, he left the priesthood, ran off with a nun, married her, and they became huge social justice/anti-war/anti-US foreign policy activists. He's probably most famous for being the only recipient to denounce and return his Medal of Honor

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    4. I looked Liteky up and that sounds like the guy. There was a video about him some years back and the soldiers talk about him standing up straight in enemy fire and praying.

      Can’t find any other accounts.

      Found lots of references to the old Angel of Mons legend.

      Liteky’s story is a very sad, very troubling story in the end.

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    5. Part of IMAGO DEI is the freedom of human will. As we ascend the rungs of the ladder of theosis, even near the top, we can willingly jump to the bottom. So great is God's respect for human will that a faith formation instructor even informed me that Heaven is a place that we are allowed to leave.

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    6. Your spiritual instructor is wrong or at least misleading. After death our choice is an eternal one: If we choose heaven we will never leave it, as our will is now fixed.

      This is why one must not worry about the souls in hell "changing their minds" their will is set; they will never repent because they don't want to, as I understand it.

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    7. Because in Christ's parable, the rich man totally says to Abraham, "I f***ing love hedonism! I hope that all of my brothers act as selfishly as I do so that we can all burn together."

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    8. Leaving Heaven would necessarily entail turning away from one's true final end, and would thus constitute sin. But to be in Heaven is to have one's heart perfectly fixed on the Supreme Good, i.e. God's Will. "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." So the wills of the blessed souls in Heaven are eternally fixed on God's Will and are therefore confirmed in good. Thus even the slightest sin is impossible in Heaven. Thus our reward is eternal. "I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."

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    9. I trust you more than I trust my hometown faith formation, Mr. Niemeier, but there are obviously gaps in my knowledge of philosophy. Is there a part of the CATECHISM that I could reference until I understand final ends?

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    10. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm

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  3. Ranba is correct. You don't have to be a jingoist to see the disgrace in Liteky's actions:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xFSum5gddx4

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    1. Many people assume that demons target us where we're weak.

      The focus their attacks on areas where we're strong.

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  4. My only quibble is with this part: "Recently commissioned First Lieutenants " - in all branches of service, everyone commissions as a Second Lieutenant out of the service academies, and one has a minimum of 18 months, but more typically two years, before promoting to 1LT. Now, in some professional specialties (doctors, chaplains, lawyers) they do direct commission those folks at a higher grade, or they access them as a higher grade as soon as they complete initial training, but line officers progress from 2Lt other ranks normally. We don't do "battlefield" commissions or things like that these days. So maybe it's just word choice (he's certainly right about the pay though), but maybe he meant "recently promoted" or recently commissioned Second Lieutenants or maybe he meant "recently commissioned" but if by recent he means about 2 years that seems to be a stretch.

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    1. That's a valid point. I meant 2LT, not 1LT. I was not thinking, and apologize for the inaccuracy. Mom and Dad got married very soon after Dad stopped being Cadet Dad. I don't know when he made 1LT, exactly, because I think he was already Captain Dad by the time I knew what rank was.

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