Wednesday 2nd September 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Angels And Christmas

December 23, 2013 Frontpage No Comments

By MARIA J. CIRURGIÃO

In preparation for this Christmas 2013, many of us will have engaged in traditional decorating — strings of lights, green trees, candles and pine cones, elaborate Nativity scenes. Certainly not forgotten are the angels, those celestial creatures we delight in visualizing as bridging the great divide between Heaven and Earth on a pair of wings.
We know better, of course. “Angel,” from the Greek angelos, means simply “messenger.” There is no mention in the New Testament of celestial messengers equipped with celestial wings to navigate Earth’s atmosphere. (I’m excluding here the Book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, as best left to trained exegetes.)
It is also worthy of notice that when, in her mature years, Sr. Lucia of Fatima was asked to set down in writing her account of the well-known events of 1917, she acknowledged three preparatory visits to her and her cousins — Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta — by a luminous youth who said, “I am the Angel of Peace.” They saw and heard him, imitated him by prostrating themselves on the ground, and repeated and retained the prayer he taught them. But they saw no wings.

“I’ll Pay!”

To set aside all thought of wings is necessary. If, common mortals that we are, we also set aside the need to be dazzled by luminosity, we are then free to ponder whether we may have in fact encountered our share of angels, clothed in human flesh and blood. I am certain that I have, and it is of one such angel that I wish to write this Christmas.
I was about 13 when I knew Ana Maria; if she had a last name, I did not learn it. Neither a playmate nor a schoolmate, she was already “old” when I first met her — which means that she was perhaps 20. Ana Maria was an orphan, maybe a foundling, and had been raised and educated by the Servants of Our Lady of Fatima, a 20th-century religious order.
The Servants, as they were popularly known, had a number of houses throughout Portugal, including a Center of Social Assistance in the town in which I was born. Not knowing where Ana Maria came from was entirely irrelevant. She lived with the nuns and was an essential part of their presence in town. Exercising the function of cook, she shouldered a colossal responsibility since the nuns operated both a day-care center and a soup kitchen. Like other employees at the center, Ana Maria worked for wages. Very humble wages in her case, certainly, since room and board were taken care of.
Ana Maria looked like no other 20 year old. She was, to put it bluntly, rotund, and her blond hair was closely cropped. Instead of shoes and stockings, she wore durable, wooden clogs on bare feet — no doubt to spare expense — and her bulky skirts descended almost to her ankles. Her gentleness and ready smile kept us teenagers from even thinking of giggling, let alone whispering any comments.
I have two very special memories of Ana Maria. There was one summer day, a particularly hot day, when I answered a knock on the door of our home and there she was. She was passing by on some sort of errand, and asked for a glass of water. I invited her in and handed her the water.
She stood in the kitchen doorway, illuminated from behind by the midday sun — the door faced south — and she sipped her water slowly, watching me as I returned to my occupation: feeding my younger brother. He and I were the only persons in the house, at that moment.
Hardly an event worth remembering? Perhaps. But that non-event left in me an indelible impression of having been visited.
The other memory is of a truly dramatic incident, and I cannot account for the privilege of having witnessed it. I was in the nuns’ reception room, where two of the sisters were dealing with an emergency that had arisen: A little girl had been dropped off for day care who shouldn’t be there; she should be in the hospital. (There was a hospital some 12 miles away, for those who could get to it.) Obviously the little girl’s mother knew how ill she was, but was too poor to do anything about it.
Having examined the child, the Sister Infirmarian greatly feared that the onset of tetanus was eminent. A specific shot was called for, and promptly. Yes, she had all that was required in stock, but her stock must be self-replenishing. Bandages she could give away without charge, but not expensive injections. Mother Superior could lift that restriction, but Mother Superior was absent.
As the two nuns stood there watching the little girl and wringing their hands in true affliction, a clattering of wooden clogs against wooden floors was heard and Ana Maria burst into the room:
“Give her the injection, Sister; please give her the injection,” she implored. “Eu pago. . . . I’ll pay!”
Angelical Words

I’ve had many years to reflect on those words — “I’ll pay, I’ll pay!” — and they grow more significant with the passing of time. The orphan, or foundling, could not remain at her stove, safe in her kitchen, and allow death to claim that little girl, whom perhaps she did not even know. And how did she hear, in the kitchen, of what was taking place in the reception room? How many months’ worth of wages did she forfeit? It’s a safe bet that Ana Maria would not be buying any stockings for a long while.
Whether translated into English as “I’ll pay!” or retained in the only language Ana Maria spoke, “Eu pago! Eu pago!,” her words of intervention at that moment tore asunder the dark cloud of death that was closing in on an innocent life and, by extension, paralyzing two well-meaning adults. The two sisters sprang into action, fetching and administering the injection.
Do angels dwell among us, disguised as common mortals? I’m certain of it. Those were angelical words that Ana Maria spoke, evocative of the timeless “I’ll pay!” that purchased eternal life for sinful mankind.
For what is the lived journey from Bethlehem to Calvary but the fulfillment in time of an eternally spoken “I’ll pay”?
Mere mortals raise all manner of opposition to such words, favoring instead the addictive “I’ll take,” or the contentious, doubly addictive “You’ll pay!” The dark core of human history bears unrelenting witness to such a propensity for exacting payment. If the “fittest” are to prosper, the “unfit” must bear the cost of that prosperity. This age-old confrontation has acquired new respectability by appeal to Charles Darwin, a name that Ana Maria would not have been able to spell. She knew nothing of the prerogatives claimed by “science,” but was entirely clear-headed on the subjects of love and life.
This Christmas, I will set up again in the front yard a weather-beaten, metallic “angel,” holding a trumpet to invisible lips and equipped with wings powered by electricity; it’s cheerful. But I shall also thank God for having been born in a rural Portuguese town, where it was perfectly acceptable for a thirsty passerby to knock on a door and ask for a glass of water.

At Mass

One of the few details I once knew about Ana Maria, and have retained, both complements and illumines what I’ve related above. Those who, for some special reason, attended Mass on a weekday, at 7 a.m., could not miss the presence in the virtually empty church of a rather robust female figure, clothed in long skirts and wearing wooden clogs instead of shoes.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Good News . . . Brief update on Father John Corapi

A bit of good news to share: A reliable source has informed me that Father John Corapi, a popular priest among orthodox Catholics who departed public life after a tumultuous period a few years ago, remains in the priesthood and…Continue Reading

9th Shocking Video: Planned Parenthood Sells Intact Aborted Babies, One “Just Fell Out” of the Womb

The Center for Medical Progress released a new video this morning — the 9th in its series of videos catching the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling aborted babies and their body parts. This latest video catches a Planned Parenthood medical…Continue Reading

All priests will be able to forgive sin of abortion during Jubilee for Mercy

September 1, 2015 7:33 AM Vatican City, Sep 1, 2015 / 06:33 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a new set of pastoral guidelines for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy Pope Francis has made some significant moves, allowing all priests to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Francis Arinze: 50 years as a Bishop

Yesterday Saturday 29 August 2015, Francis Cardinal Arinze, 82, marked fifty years as a Bishop. In an interview with Vatican Radio’s English Africa Service to mark to the milestone, Cardinal Arinze was in high spirits. Although now retired and living…Continue Reading

Russians to construct ‘the tallest statue of Jesus Christ in the world’

Towering 80 meters monument to ‘Christ the Teacher’ by Zurab Tsereteli to find home in Vladivostok, Christian Telegraph reports according to RISU. The statue was cast in 2013 by Tsereteli, the famous Georgian-Russian sculptor, known for his gigantic projects such…Continue Reading

If You Still Support Planned Parenthood, You Are Simply Not A Decent Person

Another Planned Parenthood video has been released. I promised I would write about every new video that comes out, so here is my write up on the latest. Please read and share. I don’t usually ask you to share things…Continue Reading

“Catholic” Group Sends Cakes to Thank Planned Parenthood Staff After It Sells Aborted Babies

Apparently, Catholics for Choice want their friends at Planned Parenthood to know how appreciated they are since they will be “harassed” tomorrow at the protests across the country regarding their organ harvesting business.  As LifeNews previously reported, tens of thousands…Continue Reading

Facebook’s very (very) suspicious ‘trending’ Planned Parenthood story

Update Aug. 20, ’15 at 7:54 AM EST: I woke up this morning, and lo and behold, the “trending” news topic had changed. It now reads, “7th video critical of organization released by anti-abortion group.” That’s more like it. I…Continue Reading

Questions raised after pro-life activist Twitter accounts suspended without warning: one now restored

ONTARIO, August 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A pro-life activist campaigning against Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s abortion extremism as well as a pro-life organization on a mission to show the violent reality of abortion through large graphic billboards had their Twitter…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone thankful for San Francisco teacher contract agreement

San Francisco, Calif., Aug 23, 2015 / 06:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Efforts to promote Catholic culture in the San Francisco archdiocese’s high schools and to agree on a contract acceptable for the schools’ teachers concluded on Wednesday with a new…Continue Reading

Catholic Priests’ Forgotten Flock: Catholic Men

The New Emangelization Project has documented that a key driver of the collapse of Catholicism in the U. S. is a serious and growing Catholic “man-crisis”.[1] One third of baptized Catholic men have left the faith and the majority of…Continue Reading

Shortages in Venezuela mean priests are running out of Hosts

Caracas, Venezuela, Aug 15, 2015 / 03:33 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Venezuela’s ongoing economic crisis has hit the Church in a unique way: the production of Hosts fell 60 percent during the past month, affecting three states in the South American…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Saints Will Welcome Families, Pope to Philadelphia

St. John Neumann Was Bishop of the City and St. Katharine Drexel Was Born Here United States of America, August 31, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter When Pope Francis and thousands of families arrive next month to Philadelphia, they are sure to be welcomed by two saints with ties to the city. Fr. Thomas Rosica, English-language assistant for the Vatican press office, has compiled the following biographies: * * * ST. JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, C.SS.R. (1811-1860)…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Angelus appeals for persecuted Christians, migrants

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands. Recalling the beatification on Saturday in Harissa, Lebanon, of the martyred Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, Eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, who was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of…Continue Reading

Pope Didn’t Bless ‘Gender Theory’ Children’s Books

pope725

Holy See Denies Any Papal Endorsement of Children’s Books Promoting Same-Sex Relationship Italy, August 28, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Luca Marcolivio Once again Pope Francis is being “used” by those in favor of promoting the same-sex lifestyle. The latest case arose this morning following news of a letter sent by an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State to the author of children’s books that promote “different family types.” The Guardian reported the letter with the headline,…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Recalls Feast of St. Monica

Vatican City, August 27, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has recalled the feast day of Saint Monica, mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Toward the conclusion of Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square in his remarks to Italian-speaking pilgrims, Pope Francis recalled that today, August 27, is the feast day of St. Monica. To the intercession of her and her son, Francis said, “We entrust newlyweds and Christian parents so that, like…Continue Reading

Is Trumpism The New Nationalism?

By PATRICK BUCHANAN Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be? After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes. The…Continue Reading

The Family Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris Presents Many Grave Problems

By MAIKE HICKSON After reading the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) for the upcoming October 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, when it was first published in June, the author of this short article was somewhat stunned and increasingly troubled. Yet I was soon helped by others to acquire a better understanding. It is…Continue Reading

Syrian Apocalypse

By JOHN J. METZLER UNITED NATIONS— Syria continues to descend into the inferno while the international community stands transfixed. A political solution seems elusive as ever, the civil war grinds on having killed over 250,000 people, and more than twelve million people have fled their homeland. Alarmed by these developments, the UN Security Council has…Continue Reading

One Catholic Congressman … Prepping For The Pope’s U.S. Visit

By MATT HADRO WASHINTON, D.C. (CNA)— As the nation’s capital works to get ready for Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. this fall, one Catholic congressman is preparing by reading papal encyclicals. “I say as a Catholic, I’m pretty excited,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kan.) told CNA of the upcoming papal visit. He added that…Continue Reading

ACLU: Force Catholic Hospitals To Abandon Catholic Faith

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The woefully misnamed American Civil Liberties Union is launching a crusade to force Catholic hospitals to act against Catholic moral teachings and the natural law. This is an un-American attack on religious liberty. The ACLU’s intentions came to light this week after it threatened to sue Mercy Medical Center in Redding,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

End Media Blackout On Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Scandal

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The baby parts sale scandal at Planned Parenthood is being aided and abetted by another scandal: the refusal of vast portions of the mainstream media to cover the issue. The release of numerous videos that detail the brutal and criminal killing and dismembering even of babies outside of the womb in order to obtain body…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… The Man Jesus — Humanity At Its Perfection

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 17 What was Jesus like, as a Man? We know about His divinity, we believe in it, but what was He like in His daily life with people in general? We call this topic investigating the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, or, more simply, Jesus the Man. In an obscure province of…Continue Reading

The Episcopal College And The Pope

By DON FIER When Jesus founded the Church, as we saw last week, “He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 874). With the overarching objective to ensure that the ministry He introduced during His time on earth would be carried forward until the end of time, Christ organized her along hierarchical…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Supreme Court has a history of immoral decisions, such as declaring black slaves as property, permitting credit card companies to charge usurious interest rates, allowing the public sale of contraceptives, okaying the killing of unborn babies, and approving sodomy. What’s next? Polygamy? Incestuous “marriage”? Person-animal “marriage”? It would appear that we are on a par with Sodom of…Continue Reading

A Blindness In The Heart

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 35:4-7a James 2:1-5 Mark 7:31-37 In the first reading God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah telling the people that those whose hearts are frightened should be strong and not afraid because God is with them. He then says that on that day the eyes of the blind…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Of Cupertino

By CAROLE BRESLIN Now that the school year has begun, students — especially Catholic students — will find recourse to their favorite patron saint of studying. Some may choose St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine of Hippo. For those students who find it difficult to retain what they read and write about it, perhaps this saint will encourage them: St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Aidan

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Church names many saints as patrons of certain professions, troubles, or countries. St. Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. As the father of Western monasticism, he is credited with building Western civilization. St. Catherine of Siena is also a patron of Europe since she played important roles in settling both civil and ecclesiastical disputes. St.…Continue Reading