Guardian Angels, Archangels,
My grandmother was a wonderful person. She was faithful and honest. She was faithful and soft.
She was faithful. Grandma was raised Lutheran and when she climbed out her window at 17 years old to marry with a Polish Catholic Cowboy it must have been a shock. Her Norwegian father was heartbroken. Great Grandpa came around eventually but the situation must have been dramatic.
Grandma converted to Catholicism but she prayed just as she was raised, kneeling by her bedside. She also prayed in the kitchen, while ironing, cooking, cleaning. She sang hymns constantly without thinking much about it. She was a fine example of someone who prayed without ceasing.
One of the things I remember was her prayer book, a plump spiritual rosary (the blue book) which held prayer cards, clippings, and family pictures between the pages and was secured by a large rubber band. It could be found anywhere in the house but it usually resided in the single bathroom that everyone shared. As a child, through my eyes, it was holy, really, really, holy.
Grandma and I were close. (All of her grandchildren could say the same thing.) As her oldest granddaughter who was all grown up, one day I shared my affection for the book and was so bold as to ask for it. Looking back, the request makes me feel like the prodigal son, asking for my share of someone else's inheritance. She listened to my words and gave no answer; perhaps she emitted a "hrmmmp." I was surprised at our next visit to be given a book. It was similar but not "the book" because of course, she was still alive. I was disappointed.
I accepted the gift and kept it close. Grandma, knowing me better than I know myself, had given me what I needed then, not a promise of a memento in a will. It was this inheritance that I held one Saturday morning in a hotel room. (Most crisis happen in a hotel room, don't you know.) I leafed through that book looking for answers when I found a newspaper clipping of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer. I did not know the story of Pope Leo but I knew instantly that the prayer was what I needed. The prayer, which begins,
St. Michael, the Archangel defend us in battle,
St. Michael would be my constant companion during my first, and most intense, spiritual assault. The prayer would be, and is, my refuge and my strength against the "snares of the devil".
I am sure I heard the prayer as a child but I didn't know it. I didn't pray it. Perhaps you are like I was? Maybe you have never heard the prayer? I have added it below.
If the archangels are not your dearest friends, today is the day to change that. Today is their Feast Day and we should celebrate all day. Please join me! I will make my angel food cake as soon as I post this and later I hope to sit down and read the story of the Archangel Rafael in the Old Testament book of Tobit. This is a Feast Day, don't miss it!
Here's to the protection and example of Grandmothers, Guardian Angels, and Archangels.
To their constant intercession and prayer,
To their greatest desire to see us in heaven.
They have our best intentions,
They lift us up.
They always see the face of God.
Archangels, please pray for us.
Saint Michael Prayer
Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us this day of battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into Hell,
Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl the world
seeking the ruin of souls.
Baking an angel food cake in recent years has been difficult. The one step cake mix sold by the major brands rise dependent on a chemical reaction. The batter is thin in consistency, as indicated on the back of the box. The increase that the cake requires is amazing; almost tripling its height and volume. I would try to bake the cake in a quiet house, which was almost impossible. A house without little feet running was imperative but when an empty house resulted in a cake that fell in the final minutes, I wondered if I would have to buy angel food cakes at the grocery store. I yearned for the cake mixes of my youth.
The old fashioned mix was a two step process. First, water was added to the egg white powder, beat to stiff peaks and the flour packet was gently folded in. The batter was high and light when baking began. I started to search products for the two-step mix and found that they are available. I found that most in-store brands are two-step recipes. Read the back of the box, looking for the directions indicating two separate packets. Avoid Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines in this case and make sure to keep a few extra on hand if these too become unavailable. In that case, I guess it will be time to return to an even earlier tradition when angel food cakes were made from scratch. I bought my first sifter this summer anticipating as much; but for now, I will benefit from the convenience of a good cake mix. Traditions don't have to be complicated just filled of meaning and love. Remember that every tradition begins with that first year.
May our Guardian Angels enjoy their day, knowing our love and appreciation for their guidance and protection.
“Peace begins with a smile.”
September 25, 2016
October 2, 2014 - The Feast of the Guardian Angels
This image of the guardian angel was in my bedroom as a child. It was a comforting scene and not until I was older did I recognize the peril of the broken bridge and the dramatic drop below. The size of the angel was so grand and yet so maternal. I didn't see the danger, only love.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Making those days memorable at home are as simple as praying The Guardian Angel prayer at dinner as a family or a perhaps a special dessert. Today, I will enjoy making an angel food cake. It has become an annual tradition at our house. I would have made an angel food cake for the Feast of the Archangels but that day always seems to sneak up on me. The Archangels' feast is wonderful and in celebrating it I make sure preparations to celebrate our closest and constant friends, Guardian Angels.
January 2015 Blog