On this day when the Church honors the Guardian Angels, I remember the first time I ever heard a real-life story about angelic intervention, which was well before I was Catholic or even Christian. It was about 1993 or perhaps the spring of 1994, and my mother and I were visiting our friend Charles E. Striffler, who had recently been released from the hospital after a long stay being treated for a disease of the immune system.
Not having seen Charles since his illness began, I was surprised on this visit to find him different than I remembered him. Charles, who I’m fairly sure was Catholic, had always been a kind person, but now he was more than kind. There was a peaceful and even beatific aura about him, despite the fact that he was suffering a great deal.
He told my mother and me that, while he was in the hospital, he was visited by two angels.
It was on a day that he was in great pain, the most intense he had ever experienced, and the staff could not (or perhaps would not) do anything to assuage it. In the midst of his agony, two men, whom Charles was convinced were really angels, came to him and rubbed an ointment upon him. Today I would guess that one of them was Charles’ Guardian Angel and the other was St. Raphael, the Archangel of healing, who in the book of Tobit directs Tobias to make an ointment that heals Tobit’s eyes.
After anointing Charles with the ointment, the angelic men left as mysteriously as they came. Charles was miraculously healed of his pain and able to return home for a time. He died September 8, 1994, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I pray for his repose—as we are called to do for all the dead—and, believing he died at peace with God, I ask his prayers as well.
What is your Guardian Angel story?