Monday 19 March 2018

Question of angels stirs many positive emotions


THIS COMING Saturday, September 29, is Michaelmas Day, the Festival of St Michael and All Angels. Michael is the Archangel who led the war in heaven against the fallen angel Lucifer. He is usually depicted as winged and clad in armour bearing a shield and lance.

On Judgment Day, however, as his fellow Archangel Gabriel blows his horn, Michael holds a set of scales in which he weighs the souls of the risen dead – a prospect that prompted me to weigh people's present day belief in angels. Sligo town has a dedicated Angel Shop. And in Lorna Byrne's bestselling Angels in My Hair, she says she has been talking to angels since she was a baby.

The book comes recommend by Daniel O'Donnell and Jim Corr no less.

So sitting down around the table at dinner the other evening with friends I asked for their views.

My wife said she and her best pal shared a desk in school where both of them went out of their way to make a special space between them for their Guardian Angels.

When I asked the 13-year-old at the table if he believed in angels he said, "Whatever an angel is, my little brother is the exact opposite."

The boy's mother said, "We had a prayer we said to our Guardian Angel going to bed that I always found comforting: "And now I lay me down to sleep; I pray to God my soul to keep; And if I die before I wake; I ask the Lord my soul to take." This prompted the person sitting beside her to say, "That prayer and the whole notion of angels flapping around my head at night really creeped me out."

The next person said, "I always thought of angels as messengers.

An angel appeared unto Mary, you know… like glorified postmen or celestial tweets."

The person beside me remembered happily: "Snow angels – where you lie down in the snow and move your arms.

"And the angel at the top of the Christmas tree." "That was a fairy," someone corrected. Another voice cut in, "I believe in angels but I don't want to call them that."

"I believe in angels… something good in everyone …" an Abba singsong broke out.

"More people in America believe in angels than in the theory of evolution," our host said getting back to the topic.

"But then I have a friend going out with a girl from Texas who thinks the bones of dinosaurs were put there by God to test our faith." "God is the House," Nick Cave was quoted. And I decided to call it a night when the young lad asked, "Mam, can Vegans breast feed?" The table-talk moved on. But later I was struck by the same people saying such things as, "I'm a positive person and I like positive energies around me." Another said "I feel lucky, and I am lucky." I thought of that line by the American writer Saul Bellow when he says, I always believed I had a secret deal with life to spare me from the worst.

This I found was the balance of opinion under a cosy roof amongst happy children and good friends having fun over a lovely meal while wondering if we had angels looking out for us.