I have always believed in the presence of angels. This belief was confirmed in the Fall of 2007. I was on my way to school, driving alone along a busy one way street. Suddenly, a car streaked past the stop sign at the intersection and slammed into the drivers’ side door of my car. Right before the impact, I felt someone embrace me in a tight a hug. I would later realize that this was my guardian angel. When the first responders arrived, they looked perplexed as they checked me for injuries. Why wasn’t I more hurt? My car was totaled. When my doctor saw the pictures of the wreck, he told my mom and me, “I’m an Atheist. But someone out there saved you today.”
When I went to mass after the car accident, I had an honest talk with God, “I’m sorry for the person I was before I knew You.” With my head in my hands, I added, as tears streamed down my face, “And I’m sorry for the person I was when I did know You.” I have been given so many gifts, blessings, and miracles, and yet sometimes I am still dissatisfied. My perfectionism, ambition, and even my altruism, have often been in the way of living a full life. More often than not, my sin often gets in the way with my relationship with God.
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – Luke 15:10
I know that He has saved my life more than once. I walked away whole from an awful car accident. He saved my life when I was born premature. He comforted my parents and reminded them to pray for me. I grew up healthy. He saved my life at 16, when I was bullied and depressed. He told me that He had seen my pain, that He loved me, and would use me to do His work. I became a Youth & Young Adult leader in His Church. He saved my life at 22, when the man I thought I was going to marry, didn’t fully come home from war. He cried with me and healed me of my wounds. Because of His cross, I see Jesus in those who are suffering. Because of what He has done for me, I have been more intentional about the way I live. Sometimes His responses are mysterious, but other times, His messages are very clear.
A few months ago, I received a gift from a friend who has passed away in our early twenties. He visited me in a dream. The glow from the sun was like nothing I had ever seen. I was sitting on a vast, grassy field. He was wearing his Marine Corps uniform, and knelt down to talk to me. In a kind and gentle way, he said that things will work out and he reminded me to, “Look up.”
He meant that I needed to keep my focus on heaven. Nothing in this world is permanent. We are all citizens of heaven. We need to keep our eyes focused on the prize at the end – especially when we’re going through tough times. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us of not just what is truly important, but who is truly important. Love Himself has asked us to humble ourselves in service of others. At the end of my days, I hope to meet God in heaven. I imagine that He will ask me two questions, “Did you know my Son, Jesus?” and “Who did you bring?” What will He ask you?
“I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe
“Amazing Grace/ My Chains Are Gone” by BYU Noteworthy