an angelic tale for children

This is something written by Jean-Baptiste, a friend of mine in France. It seemed like an appropriate post for Advent…

Thus speaks the angel:

When I was told I would become a guardian angel, I was delighted. I have always loved men, women, children. I know: they are sinners, they can be more selfish, nasty, lazy, greedy than you care to imagine, but sometimes such a desire of holiness blossoms in their heart that you can’t help but love them. They are children, after all, all of them, clumsy children, and as mean as they can be, how could you be angry at a child who comes crying for forgiveness?

Besides, Our Lord loves them so dearly, and He knows better than we do.

So I was delighted. I was to become a little boy’s guardian angel. Great!

I knew it would be difficult, of course… that I would have to fight everyday to protect not his body as much as his soul, that he would constantly be lured to places where no boy should go, tempted by our fallen enemy who knows so well how to appear attractive to the sons of men. I knew my heart would be broken sometimes. But I was prepared for all that, and I knew too I wouldn’t be alone with him, that I would be under the everlasting light of the Father and helped by the sparkling army of all the angels and saints of God.

I was prepared.

But nothing happened as I expected.

First it was not a he, it was a she. A little girl. And then, I never had to protect her against anything. She looked so little and fragile, and she was stronger than all the legions of the emperor. In her small, quiet, silent way, she was a rock among the men. Love was flowing from her, whether she worked, walked, laughed or talked. Whoever she was talking to, an old woman, a little boy, a thirsty soldier passing by… there was nothing but tenderness in her voice, as if she saw things in people we can hardly see ourselves.

I didn’t have to teach her to pray either. She prayed as naturally as she breathed. I never had to remind her to sing the glory of God nor to praise the Lord. She was doing it all the time… she never stopped… the Father never left her mind for a minute. And what prayers these were! She improvised them and they seem to have been written for her before the beginning of times. She could hardly read and what she chanted was deeper than anything I heard among the other angels and the wisest doctors of Earth. Oh no, I didn’t teach her to pray… she taught me. I became her pupil, sitting invisibly by her side when she worked, listening to her and repeating clumsily her extraordinary prayers, word after word. And sometimes I had to stop. I was crying.

And here we were, yesterday, at home. She was sewing and I was near her, listening to her, trying to pray with her, and I was the happiest guardian angel Our Lord ever made.

And suddenly, as quietly as a whisper, one of us came in. One of us, but not one like me — not a guardian angel, not a faithful but humble little servant. A great one, one of the greatest angels, brighter than one thousand suns but softer than a candle, with stars for his eyes and enough feathers in his wings to dress all the birds of the sky.

As you can imagine, we were stunned and a little frightened too. There was a short silence, a more beautiful silence than any music made by the sons of men, and, astonished, I saw this great angel among the angels bow humbly in front of my little Marie.

Then he began to speak.

To be honest, I am a little scared. But far less scared than hopeful. I tell you, something is happening…

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