Guardian Angel

A Father’s Prayer


          There are days in my life when, like anyone else’s, everything stills. Further back in the week, there were a couple of such days when the breezes stirred not and no birds brought their song close to us. There was no unease within me at this odd quietening, though; there’s a time for everything, I figured, even for winds and birdsong.

          Today, things are a little different. The softest of breezes gently finger the windchimes hanging right outside our living room, and birds come by to chatter before winging off. And yet, a deep stillness permeates the air unlit by sunshine. This watchful stillness stretches its presence into my heart, rendering to silence the many voices there.

          But from that silence floats up a single prayer,

Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been

         I can’t help but smile a little. A few short days ago, I was reminded of a little story about my spiritual father, St. Padre Pio. Two young girls had gone to his friary to attend Mass. Spending the night there before Mass the next day, they had heard about St. Pio’s advice to people to send their guardian angels to him with their prayers. Wanting to put it to the test, the girls spent the night sending their guardian angels to St. Pio with various prayer requests. The next day, when they went to St. Pio to seek his blessings, he grumbled good naturedly, telling them he had been kept up all night by their angels.

          Remembering that story, I decided to do the same. There were a few very important things I needed help with. So, I sent them with my guardian angel, telling him to take my prayers to St. Pio, all through the day, every day, until I received my answer. And then, I tucked in a final entreaty: that I be given the prayer I am to pray, given all that I am asking for.

          This morning, with the sun busy with his own thoughts, in that soft stillness, that tiny vine of an old prayer stole into my heart.

Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been

          Although I didn’t seek it, nevertheless, as the prayer uncurled itself, I felt a name written on my heart. Padre Pio. Although I had forgotten what I had prayed for, clearly my spiritual father hadn’t.

          As I remembered my beloved St. Pio and quietly said the prayer, the sun pierced through the fleeces to place upon us his benediction.

Lent 1 ~ The Angel’s Lent


          My Lent direction came a little early this year – only it took me some time to realise it and to reconcile myself to it. One bright blue Sunday morning, as the winds sang aria after aria around our old home, my eldest son did something he doesn’t normally do – and certainly not on a Sunday. He began to clean his room. And one of the things he cleaned was his tiny St. Michael figurine I had bought him years before. With characteristic tenderness, he held the figurine and probed its contours with a damp cotton bud. I smiled and left him to it.

          It was late in the evening, much of the day run its course, when I had some time to my thoughts. From my seat in the living room, I gazed outside at the sun~warmed evening, winds stirring strong the leaves on the trees. Watching those breezes, I felt them lay something by the door of my heart.

The St. Michael’s Lent prayers

          And a stillness stole into my heart. It was the second time the prayers had come by this week. The second time accompanied by these unusual winds, singing and singing hymns only the angels knew the words to. Each time the winds came upon me, I would tilt my face towards them and silently ask the same question,

Is it you, St. Michael?

          For some years ago, St. Michael had taught me that when the winds blow strong and  a quiet comes upon my spirit, that would be the sign of his angelic presence.

          In reply to my asking, I almost felt his quiet yet strong affirmation borne by those winds as they brushed against my heart. So, it was him. And he was asking that I say those Lent prayers again.

          Still, I hung back. It was only 3 years ago that I had become acquainted with the St. Michael’s Lent prayers. Both times, they had come during deep personal strife, my anchor in the storm of pain. They were indeed prayers for when the whip and lash of the storm is great.


          That very word had resounded several times to me as January quietly folded her heart and passed her life to February.




          Now, both the word and the prayer formed side by side before me. It should have sufficed. And yet, my heart sought a final confirmation – because the St. Michael prayers is no simple undertaking. To be said for 40 days, they were for me by far the most demanding of prayers. Coupled with their significance of being battle prayers, prayed when in deep suffering, I was more than a little reluctant. I wanted peace. I was tired of fighting.

          At that very moment, my son came into the living room. Quietly, he placed something on the hall cabinet. Daddy will mend it, he said. Turning away from the waning evening marking the skies with its final pinks and tangerines for the day, I saw my son’s tiny St. Michael figurine on the cabinet top. Its sword had detached.

The St. Michael’s Lent prayers are also known as the Sword of St. Michael.

          Just like that, it was enough for me.

          My Lenten devotions this year is to be the St. Michael’s Lent prayers – but begun on the very evening of my understanding and acceptance. My Lent is to be one of battle.

          This year, it will be one of healing too as I sense heaven ask for a decade of the Luminous Mysteries Rosary each day.

          As the sun rises from its slumber on Ash Wednesday morn, it rises more golden orange than ever before. My angel’s sign, tender reminder that he walks beside me.

          And so it begins, this Lent of 2021. The Angel’s Lent.

Even If in Bits and Pieces


Many times I found myself praying the Holy Rosary (even if in bits and pieces, the Holy Mother of God knows well how to sort them out)…   Dr. Mario Enzler, former Swiss Guard

          Quiet minutes to myself, the first of this new October. After 9 days of grindingly hard work and unexpected tumults, everything stills this morning. The only speck across this silent dawn is that we have to make that trek into the city. I’d rather stay home, sleep in a bit, get some rest and put the house into better order, but it’s a necessary trip.

          I say my first prayers of the day at my altar. It’s Saturday so I seal my heart in Mother Mary’s, my little Saturday offertory. Since it will be a long drive to the city, I remind myself to say a few Hail Mary’s along the way. Although I’ve done my daily readings and said my prayers all week, it has been one of those weeks with too much crammed into it. Despite the trip we will make today, despite the mental list in my head ready to be ticked off, I know I need to slow my step and quieten down, for the gullies of my heart are dry and in need of wetness.

          A sudden, bright white~gold in the outside sky catches my eye. The sun is coming up from its eastern bed, reminding me that we have to get going soon, when I find myself reading an article about a former Swiss guard and his faith in the Rosary.

Many times I found myself praying the Holy Rosary (even if in bits and pieces, the Holy Mother of God knows well how to sort them out)…  

          Without warning, tears prick my eyes.

          All these days, I’ve tried to keep my heart in God’s. I’ve prayed and prayed, but in drifts and drabs,

in bits and pieces

          Each time, I’ve called for my guardian angel. Called for him to join his prayers to mine and to carry my meagre efforts to heaven, because I knew that my prayers this week were especially small and paltry indeed, paling before the great needs of this week.

even if in bits and pieces, the Holy Mother of God knows well how to sort them out

          And with those words, my Heavenly Mother blew her breath over my weariness. With those words, I fell against Her maternal heart.

          So often this week, I had entreated heaven to scrub clean my offerings of myself. So often, I had scraped the earth of my days to find something of value, something I hadn’t held back for myself, something I hadn’t tainted with my many sins.

          I felt I had given so little to my God all of these 9 days.

          Yet, my beloved Mother was now telling me She had received each morsel of my heart, of my days lived in the depth of unexpected storms, and in unexpected joys too. Of the unseen work of hours and hours upon end. In the many falls and in the struggle to rise once more and start over each time.

          Bits and pieces. Each one received and sorted out.

Look Up


          Late yesterday evening, I felt a slight nudge to look up at the evening skies. So, I did, from my seat in the living room. There was more blue and white for such a late hour. But I didn’t bestir myself much beyond that. I had been at work from past 6 in the morning and it had been a full day. Now, dinner prep and other chores beckoned urgently.

          Then the phone rang and it was my husband. “Have you seen the clouds?” he asked. It had been a very exhausting day for him. He should have been home earlier but work had held him back. In such a state, I wouldn’t have given the evening skies more than a cursory glance.

          But something had caught his heart and tilted his eyes to the skies.

Have you seen the clouds?

          I tucked my duties aside for a while and stepped out. The entire evening sky wore a soft jacket of white and blue fleece. Here and there, the wan pink~sipped orange of sunset peeked out from behind the thick feathering in the sky. It was as if a massive angel were passing over us, his wings spread in formidable, yet gentle breadth.

Have you seen the clouds?

          Five quiet words that took me out of myself to a garden preparing for twilight’s farewells, warm breezes softly riding alongside the passing angel above. As I walked among flowers gently closing in for the night, peace dropped its sun~scented veils ever so lightly over my wearied heart. After sheltering at home for so long, the return to post-Covid life for our family meant going back to all the old thorns that continued to snag and pierce. Each day, I watched my husband and children return home, a little more quiet, a little more tired. Too worn to look up and rest hearts in the beauty above as the sun spilt the last of its rosy secrets among the white crests of clouds. Each day, we chugged on, helping one another with home chores, sprinkling our hearth with laughter and cheer, wilfully choosing to lift the light out of the heaviness of what the day had been.

          Some days, though, we forgot to give thanks for the very many things we had to be thankful for. Our jobs were intact, our health good, our love strong. We were not beset by the many problems suffered by others.

          And yet, our hearts were not overflowing with songs of thanksgiving.

          For a long while, I agonized over this. Haven’t we suffered enough to ripen our hearts for endless thankfulness? Did we need another piercing to realise how much we had and only then to return to the shores of gratitude and thanksgiving? What was keeping us from whispering thank you’s?

          Then, one day, it came to me.

During the shelter-at-home, we had touched heaven.

          And no one is ever the same after that.

          Despite the many difficulties of working from home and of adapting to new normal in daily life during the stay-home, a hidden door had quietly been opened, streaming a special light and new sweetness into our wearied depths.

          For close to three months, the angels had opened that unseen door at the lip of dawn each day. Each and every day, we had been bathed in its gentle and nurturing Love, our wounds bound, flagging spirits shored up.

          But one day, that old gate between our life and the world outside opened once more, and all the filth from the streets of life spilled inside. For a while, we were strong and brave, but each day, it’s taking a little more out of us to carry our crosses. Each day, the world tugs harder at our souls, chiding us for stubbornly resisting. Hardly have we cleared our inbox, when it clogs up again.

          Since sheltering at home, something has imperceptibly changed within us. Something within us is now recoiling from many the things of this world.

          How long more can we endure, I began to wonder more and more often in recent weeks. Then came the quiet question,

Have you seen the clouds?

          Five words that gentled my hours and told me that some things can wait awhile, even if the world bids that we believe otherwise. Five words that reminded me that life is not meant to be lived bound to draining busyness and to the selfish will of others.

          With those five words, Someone framed our hearts in his hands, and raised our eyes to heaven.

          Look up, said our gentle angel.















Angel to the Heart of Heaven


          I awakened after an unusually long night’s sleep, to a quiet and misty Saturday morning. A Saturday of freedom. For the first time in long weeks, I finally had Saturday to be at home and not on the road, travelling to the city.

          At my altar to say my daily prayers, I remembered that Saturdays for me were for Our Lady. So, after I prayed my customary prayer to Jesus, I seal my heart in Yours, I added on another line, I seal my heart in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

          The moment I said that, an image came to mind. An image of my husband and I driving in the city on Friday yesterday. If I am alone in the city on a Friday, with a quick call to my parish priest for permission, I always get to spend an hour in church. If my husband is with me, we still stop by at church but for a shorter time because my husband always has errands to run.

          Yesterday however, he had this one thing to be done and we felt it would take ages. Hence, we didn’t go to church. I didn’t feel any regret because our Friday trip to the city had come after a very tiring week for us both, and I wanted us to just settle our business there and get home. Furthermore, I didn’t even think of making a flying visit to church because my husband had a long drive ahead of him for outstation work on Sunday and I wanted us to get back to our town as quickly as possible so that he could get sufficient rest before his trip.

          But, this morning, after the prayer, I seal my heart in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I suddenly wondered if I should have made more of an effort to be with Jesus in church yesterday, even for mere minutes.

          After my daily Readings, stopping by at my prayer nook for the saint quote of the day, I learned how important it was to God that I stepped into church when I could, even for the briefest of visits. Today’s quote was from a saint dear to me, and she got straight to the point.

          When you pass before a chapel and do not have time to stop for a while, tell your Guardian Angel to carry out your errand to Our Lord in the tabernacle. He will accomplish it and then still have time to catch up with you.   ~   St. Bernadette Soubirous

          I didn’t sense any sting of admonition; instead, I felt a gentle hand showing the path I should have taken but didn’t think of.

          Heaven had more to tell me. Touched by the quote, I went to add it to my collection of quotes. On my way there, I came across another file – Guardian Angel to Mass. I hadn’t the faintest idea what that was, so I opened it. It turned out to be a prayer I had typed up for the children at the beginning of the stay-home order. A prayer to be said because we could not longer attend Mass.

Prayer to one’s Guardian Angel when unable to attend Mass

O Holy Angel at my side
go to the church for me,
kneel at my place at Holy Mass,
where I desire to be,
At offertory in my stead,
take all I am and own
and place it as a sacrifice
upon the altar Throne.
At Holy Consecration’s bell
adore with Seraph’s love,
My Jesus hidden in the Host,
come down from heaven above.
And when the priest Communion takes
O bring my Lord to me,
that His sweet Heart may rest on mine
And I His temple be.


          Heaven’s rebuke would have been hard enough to bear, but this soft breath of Love sent instead, through the first thoughts at the altar this morning, through the quote and finally through that prayer, made me wish that I had put God first before any errand.

          Still, the gentle sweetness of Mother Mary that opened the eyes of my heart told me that Heaven understood that we couldn’t stop by at church yesterday – but there was a remedy for that for all time:

God had given us someone who could go in our stead.

          Someone who could and would carry our hearts, our burdens, our joys, to the feet of The Most High. For every tear, every sweetness we bequeath our waiting Jesus in silent churches the world over, we have an angel who will willingly and joyfully bear all to the Heart of Heaven.

          With a smile in my heart, I began to pack. Into an old and worn little basket went my offerings of sunshine and a few clouds. The sweetness and the difficult, the unexpected and the funny. The little rose~blooms God had hidden in my work days this week. The morning dream of hope of a superior who has brought us so much suffering. The prayers I should have said but didn’t. The stumbling that comes when you don’t pray enough and don’t trust enough.

          Into the basket woven from years of joy and tears, each one went. Done, I pressed it into my faithful, ever waiting heart’s love.

          Take my offering, I told my Angel.

          Take it to the Heart of Heaven.











Lent 24 ~ When We Can’t


Prayer to one’s Guardian Angel when unable to assist at Mass

O Holy Angel at my side
go to the church for me,
kneel at my place at Holy Mass,
where I desire to be,
At offertory in my stead,
take all I am and own
and place it as a sacrifice
upon the altar Throne.
At Holy Consecration’s bell
adore with Seraph’s love,
My Jesus hidden in the Host,
come down from heaven above.
And when the priest Communion takes
O bring my Lord to me,
that His sweet Heart may rest on mine
And I His temple be!




Lent 16 ~ Thy Hand Upon My Heart


          Yesterday wasn’t the best of days. The sullen hours were pierced and torn by a thousand nails. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. It seemed as if almost everyone was at the mercy of something unseen. It upset me to feel this way, especially when exactly a week earlier, God had blessed us with beautiful news. I was annoyed with myself for not being able to summon enough gratitude and thanksgiving to counter these strange yellow nails.

          Strangely, I also felt my angel smile brightly through it all. What is there to smile at? I asked him reproachfully. Something is tearing my day apart – and I’m helping it.

          His response was a cheeky grin.

          Day pressed its secrets into the night’s ear. And yet, a robin remained at his perch in the dark, determinedly singing his last notes for the day. Despite how I was feeling, the oddity registered. I had never heard the robins here sing so late.

          I rose in the hours of pre-dawn today, to hear a lone koel part the dark skies with his call to the unseen sun. Once more, I paused. Never before has a koel in these parts sung this early before.

          What’s with the birds, I wondered. Still, his notes sweetened my heart and I went to my day with a lighter step.

          At work, the stained nails of yesterday raised their hackles in greeting. They were not done with us yet. But it didn’t occur to me to pray them away. I was too fixated upon frustrations uncoiling once more within me.

          The later hours of the day brought even sweeter unexpected news. Dark turned to light. My heart sang with joy for my child.

Hold on a while! the darkest night
May bring the fairest day.
Hold on a while! the good, the right,
Will always find a way.   ~   Amos Russel Well

          But something remained still in nearby shadows. As I laughed and skipped past it, it stood still, watching. Waiting.

          Detesting any form of limelight, I’ve always strived to work away from the public eye. But today, I had no choice, and thus reluctantly took my place in centre court. As expected, I slipped up in public. It was such a minor gaffe, honestly, and I gamely grinned through it. I was too happy then. Seeing the light in my child’s eyes lit even more timbrels of joy in me.

          But as I moved to leave, that unseen shadow, waiting its time, reached out and clawed at me. Immediately, turmoil sprang to feral life within me, this time in the form of shame. As hour slipped into hour, the shame deepened, to the point of humiliation, as the reel of events played on loop. In vain I tried to hold on to the raft of thanksgiving as the waters churned even more.

          Suddenly, I thought of Jesus, stripped to be flogged. Is this from You, Lord? I pressed. Is it You asking me to be part of Your Passion this Friday?

          Yet, even as I asked, I recoiled from it. The pain of the public humiliation was just too much. But something in me for once refused to pay heed to my rebellion.

Jesus, if You wish me to bear this cross, give me the strength for it.

If not, place Thy Hand upon my heart and take this shame away.

          No prizes for guessing which prayer I hoped Jesus would answer.

          For some reason, from time to time, an unseen finger took my chin and turned my face towards the evening sky. The air was filled with the sounds of a day preparing for its rest. The last birdcalls rang out like elfin bells, boughs swayed gently yet cheerily in the warm honey scented breezes.

          Once again, the urge to look at the sky came. The sunset skies now wore bands of orange weeping into gold tinged blues. The sudden beauty of it took my breath away, and with it, for scant seconds, the hidden churning.

          Into that sudden quietening, a realization was slipped into me.

      I was under attack.

          The shame, the relentless amplification of it – it was an attack. Nails tearing into everyone from yesterday – an attack. I hadn’t recognised it for what it was, so I didn’t pray the prayers for it. But I had prayed. I had fought a little and prayed words that were so hard for me.

Thank you, Lord, when frustration threatened to black out my joy.

I love you because my Jesus loves you, for the woman who hates me.

If You wish me to bear this cross, give me the strength for it, for shame I’d rather not bear.

          Each prayer had been a stone in the river of tumult, forming a path across it. As I prayed, I made my way across the raging river. Sometimes, I slipped and fell. But my happy angel had leaned down each time, hand held out to me.

          And on that last stone,

If it be Thy Will, place Thy Hand upon my heart and take this away.

          Then, peace slipped in.









Lent 7 ~ Faithful Guide


May your good guardian angel always watch over you; may he be your guide on the rugged path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and sustain you with his hands so that you may not stumble on a stone. May he protect you under his wings from all the snares of the world, the devil and the flesh. Have great devotion, Annita, to this good angel; how consoling it is to know that near us is a spirit who, from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother.   ~  Letters III, Letters from St. Pio of Pietrelcina







Lent 6 ~ The Angel Brings My Prayer


Two teenage girls living near the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo heard of Padre Pio’s supposed communication with the angels. Finding it rather incredible, they decided to test the validity of this claim. They spent a whole night sending their guardian angels to Padre Pio. They made such requests as, “Pray for my uncle Federico,” or “Cure my cousin.”

The next day after Mass, the two friends went to the friary to ask for Padre Pio’s blessing. To their surprise, the Padre was upset with them. He said to one of the girls, “You kept me awake all night. First, you sent me your guardian angel to cure your uncle Federico,” and turning to the other girl, he said, “and you sent me yours asking that your cousin be cured. And you kept it up all night long…I didn’t get any sleep!”


          In my sadness last night, I came across this anecdote about a saint close to my heart, St. Pio. While it didn’t turn my heart over, something about it remained with me all night, like a gentle perfume from an unseen wildflower.

          Going to bed, my heart continued to ache over my country and the follies of my leader and elected representatives. Wanting to pray, I tried to search for words. Coming up empty, I once again charged my angel, Angel, pray for me.

          Then, remembering what I had read, I decided I’d trouble my beloved spiritual father a bit. So, as those two young girls in the story above did, I too sent my angel to St. Pio, instructing him,

Ask Padre Pio for my prayer. And tell him you won’t leave till it is given.

          All through the night, each time I awakened briefly, I checked in with my guardian angel. When the morning came, I pressed the air for my prayer once more.

          There was none.

          I wasn’t too happy. I didn’t want to go into the second day leaving it all to my angel. As long as it was willed by God that I prayed this way, it was fine. But having struggled with depression for so many years, I was naturally on alert. If it was malaise that was dragging me down, I needed to rise up and fight it before the coils tightened.

C’mon, Padre Pio, I grumbled. Don’t do this. Please give me my prayer for today.

          A short while later, a line from an old repentance prayer popped into my head.

Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been

          And it continued to appear a few more times. Each time, I duly repeated it, until it struck me that this was my prayer for the day. I couldn’t believe it – and I was less than thrilled. Here I was agonizing over the loss of the government I had voted in, loss of our futures, loss of everything we had worked for, and this was the prayer? Forget and forgive what I had been? I? Focus on my sin at a time when others have cruelly shortchanged us?

          I was in a mild huff as I went to my morning Reading.

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not steal…”   ~  Leviticus 19: 1 – 2, 11

          Verse 11 drew me up short. I knew at once that someone was trying to get my attention.

You shall not steal

          2 weeks ago, this had come to me during Mass in church in a moment of prayer for someone close to me. When that happened, as it did now, I was taken aback for a while. Then, upon reflection, I figured that God was asking me to pray for the sin of stealing: that family member had in fact stolen so much from so many.

          Despite the prayer, I could still sense the lingering presence of You shall not steal as I moved from day to day.

          Today, seeing that exhortation once more, I knew at once that this time, God was referring to what had happened to my country. We had lost the government we had legally and constitutionally voted in. But thieves had crept in and taken it away from us.

Our government had been stolen from us

          Although it should have been obvious, the realization still came as a shock.

          I thought that with the bitter night past, I’d feel better, but the pain came crashing down again. Forcefully lifting up my spirit, I tried to pray for those who had done this to us. But something didn’t feel right about the prayer. Not that it was wrong. Just the sense that it wasn’t what I was being called to for the moment.

          I had to go to work, to the mad amount that needed to be done there today. But I didn’t want to drown in it either. Angel, I whispered, ask Padre Pio for my prayer, and bring it back to me.

Our government had been stolen from us

Our government had been stolen from us

Our government had been stolen from us

          I turned it over and over in my heart as I drove to work.

          Then, in a quiet quickness, I suddenly discerned a change in the dejection within me. The hurt of being cheated slowly began to change into a strange, new sadness. I recalled the good times we had briefly enjoyed after decades of slavery.

          Slowly, very slowly, it began to dawn on me that I hadn’t been grateful enough for those good times and for everything our leaders had done for us.

          Instead, I had joined the masses and fixated upon the slowness of reforms and stewed in impatience over missteps. I had done nothing to convey my appreciation to my elected representatives. I had barely prayed thanksgiving prayers for them.

          And only now, when it was all stolen, did I see what I had done.

          Padre Pio had indeed sent me my prayer at dawn. Like any true father, he had known what I hadn’t, and he was determined that I see what I was blind to.  Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been was truly my prayer for my sin of ingratitude. It had taken an act of larceny of the highest order to lift the scales from my eyes.

Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been

          And with that, a sad peace finally stole into my heart.