THE ANGEL OF BIRTH
Presently, one by one, the Guardian – angels went away. Each was to return to earth with precious knowledge which would benefit her charge. When we were alone, Victoria said,
“Now I want to introduce you to another angel. Will you come with me?”
Eagerly we rose up, and began to walk with her across the grass. I noticed that our angel’s manner was most deferential and when I asked why, he said:
“We have a great respect for men who have attained to the perfect purity we enjoy. We have it as a gift, but these heroic souls have battled for it through the fires of worldly temptations and through all the growing – phases of Heaven’s realm.”
“Was this one not of perfect purity on earth? ” I asked, falling into step beside him. For a moment he looked lovingly at Victoria as she walked with Janet a few paces in front.
“No, but before she died to earth-life she had almost attained. Because she has fought with the weeds of sin in the garden of her soul, and has rooted them out remorselessly, turning every thought into a pure thought and every act into a pure act, she is entitled to wear the Flower of Perfect Purity.”
“I did not see it!”
“No. Do you remember what I taught you, long ago? Each flower blooms in the Garden of the Lord, and one day He Himself will place it on her breast, when it will bloom eternally.”
“I remember!” I cried eagerly. “The Virgin’s Crown is for those who have lived in perfect purity; the Flower is for those who have tended it in the garden of the soul… If she had almost attained, while still on earth, I suppose she came very swiftly to these Heights after death?”
“Swiftly according to Heaven’s standards,” my teacher smiled, but not according to earth’s! She passed through death’s door more than 200 years ago, and has but lately arrived here.”
I was so astonished at this that I had nothing to say, so my angel continued:
“Do not think she has not enjoyed every moment of this span! She has lived in great bliss, growing almost unconsciously. Time is not of earth, here, and passes unnoticed. She would tell you it has been very short! Remember the little shopkeeper, who said he arrived ‘last Wednesday week,’ yet whose span had been about eighty years of earth-time? Recall, too, what I told you of the little boy – that one year of pure childhood is equal to a score of later years. Now I tell you that one year of earth-striving is equal to a hundred beyond death’s door. Oh, if men of earth would but remember this! To strive now, battling against sin in humility and faithfulness, is to lay up a treasure in Heaven so rich that it is beyond their imagining. If they would but use their earth-lives, instead of thinking how much joy they can obtain for themselves, how much joy they would find waiting in Heaven and what heights they would quickly reach! The earth – life is the toil of the digging, but the Heaven-life is the finding of the buried treasure!”
After speaking so emphatically, he walked on silently, giving me an opportunity to ponder on all he had said. I did not ask him how men were to know this, for I remembered how he had replied to a similar question. He had pointed out that the Holy Book gave the teaching over and over again, and that it was supplemented by guardian angels, but that often men would neither read nor hear.
Presently I noticed a light far above us, moving rapidly, and after watching it draw near, I realised that it was an angel. He alighted short distance from us and began walking over the grass.
“Bernard, this is the angel I want you both to meet!” Victoria called, and we immediately hastened our steps. As we rejoined them the angel arrived also, and for a moment I gazed at him in the deepest awe. He was the most radiant angel I had seen, up to now, very tall (even taller than our angel – guide) with dazzling rays of light pouring out from him, so that they formed an aura of luminous shining in all directions for about five feet. His hair was of a copper hue short and curling about his forehead and ears, his eyes were an intense blue, clear and searching, his skin a golden-tan. He wore a shimmering robe of blue, shot with magenta, and his wings were golden.
Victoria quickly introduced us. The two angels bowed to each other, smiling.
“Do you not know me?” asked the Splendid Angel, looking into my eyes.
“No,” I stammered.
“In my journeyings to earth, I have often instructed you,” he said surprisingly. “Sometimes I have given you poems, sometimes gems of wisdom and knowledge.”
Then I knew why I felt so drawn to him. I went to kneel before him, expressing my heartfelt thanks. Janet, too, was delighted. We all smiled happily as we walked slowly on.
Are you a Guardian Angel too?” Janet asked.
“No, I am one of the Angels of Birth.”
“I did not know that there were any,” Janet admitted, looking with wonder at the Splendid Angel.
“Have you not heard fairy stories of earth? “he smiled. “These often cloak wisdom under legend’s veil, or teach of angels by speaking of fairies You have heard of the fairies who are supposed to attend the birth of a child?”
“Yes,” Janet and I said together.
“The real truth,” continued the angel, “is that, so marvellous is the Mystery of Creation, that we angels fly to adore at every birth. When the life that is of God enters into the body of any thing (whether it be human or animal, fish or fowl) it is a little mystery of creation. What is birth? Who among man could animate the body of any thing? Is it any wonder that, when Life enters the body of even the tiniest insect, we angels are there to adore, to pay homage to the work of our Creator?”
“No, it is no wonder, though I had never thought of it,” said Janet, her eyes shining.
“Have you ever wondered,” the Splendid Angel went on, “why it is that men are so drawn to little things? People will exclaim in pleasure at the sight of a baby, whether it is a child, an elephant, a mouse or a bird! Even the hardest of heart are softened by the sight of tiny things. Yet – mark this – only by living things. A miniature model may awake the praise of men, but it does not inspire that pleasure, that softening of the heart.”
“Is it the Life?” I asked.
“Yes, firstly this is a sign of man’s instinctive worship of His Maker. Secondly, it is the drawing-power of the angels.”
“How is that?” Janet was enchanted, for she had always loved little things.
“If you held a piece of cloth in front of a fire, it would become hot. Then if you withdrew it, the heat would remain in the cloth for a time and then gradually fade away. Thus it is with the little people of earth. We angels, who come to adore our Maker at every birth (whether of man, animal, bird or fish or insect) leave a powerful atmosphere of worship and blessing behind us. This is like the ‘heat of the cloth.’ This atmosphere clings about little people, drawing all men and softening their hearts, and gradually fading out as the small ones grow.”
“The Angels of Birth do more than adore,” our own teacher put in. “They leave with the lesser brethren the teaching that will guide them though life, and which men call the ‘wonderful instinct’ of the animal world. Then they leave with the human babies the Heavenly gifts which the guardian angels ask for their charges. Babies almost always listen to the words of their guardian angels, and so they preserve the beautiful Heaven-gifts. Often, as they grow, they close their ears and gradually they lose the power to hear. Thus it is that so many lose the Heavenly gifts that are showered upon them at their birth. Wise parents should pray earnestly before a birth, so that many angels will be attracted, and will come with their Heavenly gifts. Who has not heard the saying, ‘A good fairy must have been present at his birth?” Well, that is the truth of the matter.”
After a little silence, Janet asked: “Why are you here? Is it to meet and teach us?”
“Partly,” said the Splendid Angel, “but my chief mission is to gather many Angels of Birth together, and many valuable gifts; perseverance, sincerity, charity and the like. A mother has been praying for her unborn child, consecrating the child and herself to the Father. Because of this, a great host will be present at the birth, laden with blessing-power and many gifts.”
“Have you just come from a birth?” I asked, eager to detain him, for I saw he was about to leave us.
“Yes,” he answered, his voice dropping to a tender note. “A baby monkey has just been born in the depths of a forest and a bird has newly broken the blue shell of its egg. On both those occasions I was present to adore our Maker.”
He lifted up his hands to bless us, and then sped off on his mission.