This terribly sad comment came in, which deserves its own post:
Father – you often mention your guardian angel and the ways in which he has helped you throughout your life. Today in Scotland twin boys, aged just two years old, tragically drowned in a garden pond. How does one explain to someone who asks ‘where were their guardian angels?’ I am at a loss to answer this.
This reminds me of a similar question Padre Pio had for his guardian angel if I remember it correctly. It seems that while he was getting smacked down, very nearly to death, by a demon, he noted his guardian angel up above, circling about, praising God, ever so happy, seemingly oblivious to the dire straits of the merely human priest below. “Why did you abandon me when I needed you most?” he asked his angel. The response was similarly a kind of reprimand, “Because your fidelity to God in the midst of your weakness gave more glory to Him than me saving you.” And Padre Pio was happy to get this rebuke.
Or, how about that angel in Gethsemane sent to comfort Christ our God? Surely he belonged to those twelve legions of angels who would fight for Jesus. This good angel is surely consumed with thoughts of wrath. I mean, look at the eyes. Surely the artist has in mind here that this angel is thinking of all the ways in which he could utterly smack down Judas and the Roman soldiers and all the brigands from the chief priests and the scribes of the Pharisees, all in less than a nanosecond. But instead he watches Jesus pray about doing the will of His Heavenly Father. Unexpectedly awesome on our behalf. So, O.K., he strengthens Jesus in His terrible agony which, by the way, was not about His facing His passion and death, but about permitting that His Immaculate Mother would have a sword of such terrible sorrow pierce her heart. How can a such a Son permit this terrible infliction of agony on His own dearest mother?
Let’s be clear. The mission of Jesus was not in the least to save us from the effects of original sin (or of our own personal sin), not in this world. He came to give us the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity while we make our way through this vale of tears, with that grace turning to glory in heaven where all the effects of original sin fall away. No more sickness. No more death. No more weakness of mind and will. No emotions all over the place. These two kids would not have been in such a position if there had been no original sin. We would look after each other better than that. And also the angels would have had full rights to protect us, whereas now, actually, they do not. It is not their job to save us from any effect of original sin freely chosen with the sin, though God may also permit this as He did in my case so very many times. That’s not really any favor for me over anyone else. I will be judged extremely severely if I don’t follow up on such deference, which I firmly believe has nothing whatsoever to do with me, but with what I might be able to do for others because of having been saved myself. For instance, I was able to save my fellow 7 year old from suicide because of the extended intervention of the angels. God knows the best time for us to go. That includes those two kids. That includes us. I could die in a head on collision with some drunk tomorrow morning. Just like that. With the angels watching. Hopefully with the joy of seeing another soul on its way to heaven, even if delayed to the end of the world in purgatory! Again, their job is not to second guess Jesus or to save us from the present economy of salvation, wherein mercy is founded on justice, with mercy using justice, with mercy glorying in justice. Do kids die because of original sin? Yes. That’s how serious sin is. And that’s why Jesus came to save us. The trick here is to note how serious sin and its consequences are, but then immediately to turn to Jesus and praise Him for coming into this world to save us from ourselves and bring us to heaven. We will all die like those two little kids, one way or the other. O.K. We thank Jesus for dying for us to bring us to heaven, by the way. I don’t think you’ll find those two kids complaining right about now!
When Jesus mentions guardian angels, He does so as a terrible threat. Those who have not repented of their ways, including abuse of youngsters, will have to face the angels. The chief priests and scribes of the Pharisees would have fully known the intended threat. I repeat that threat to the string pullers and those who manipulate them ever so easily, those social engineers whose lust for power and lust for lust brought them to what some might think are unheard of levels of evil. They are to be permitted to do their worst in this world. But not in the next, and the next lasts forever. Our home is not in this world, but, please God, in heaven, forever.