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By Benoît Bemelmans

Of all the angels, he was the last!

Of the billions of pure spirits God created, immensely more numerous than all mortals that will exist until the end of the world, distributed in an immense hierarchy of nine angelic choirs, he was at the lowest level. All angels, without exception, were superior to him. Far below him were only us men.

But above all, do not think he had any bitterness or disappointment being last angel. On the contrary, he was a particularly joyful and happy angel. In fact, he would have nothing to do with Lucifer’s revolt, who tried to recruit him thinking he might get him to feel unjustly discriminated against. “Follow me,” the Tempter whispered to him, “and the last of the last will become like unto God.”

He would have burst into laughter and turned a cold shoulder, if he only had one, but those are actions proper to us men. So he asked a simple question that was heard from one end to the other of the heavenly vault, “Quis ut Deus?” His phrase was taken up by the Archangel Saint Michael, who turned it into his war cry with the success that we all know: under his leadership, after a huge battle, two-thirds of the heavenly hosts cast the rebellious demons into Hell.

From then on, the last angel was spending his eternity doing good on Earth.

Doing Good on Earth

Being a pure spirit, as you know, he had no body. But he possessed an intelligence immensely superior to ours, a will free of hindrances and a power over the whole temporal world limited only by the designs of Divine Providence. Furthermore, he never had to learn anything—God had given him knowledge from the moment of his creation. He employed his strength and discernment to influence the material conditions of our everyday life. Whenever he went, the air would become lighter, birds would sing more joyfully, flowers would blossom and people would be inclined to become better.

He was the angel who reestablished peace in nature after great storms; the one who made the return of spring so wonderfully pleasant; who keep cool the stone room where harvesters would come to rest; who made sure abundant fruits would be picked in autumn and who always created a cozy, comforting ambience around crackling fireplaces when snow covered the countryside.

He patrolled the earth taming the effects of savage nature, making life more bearable for humans and encouraging them to practice virtue.

His intervention upon the elements brought back hope to men’s hearts. It was a humble action that he carried out with ingenuity and discretion, but he figured it did not accomplish everything he was called to realize.

Prone to make conjectures, he thought God would perhaps one day give him a special mission. “I will undoubtedly become someone’s guardian angel; being the last of angels, he will probably be the last of men,” he said to some great archangels of Paradise who knew more than he did but were happy to simply look at him and smile.

And while he had no clue what was going on, he noticed unusual activity in the heavenly dome. But since in their continuous activities to help maintain Creation none of his elders would stop to tell him what the story was, he simply kept going around the world.

A New Mission

He had been fulfilling his task for several thousand years, which is a lot of time for us but just a little bit of eternity for an angel; and one evening, one of the magnificent seraphim seated very close to God’s throne, came to see him. “Our Sovereign Creator has a mission for you,” he said. “Go quickly to apply your talents to help some poor people at the place I will indicate.”

Rushing to cover the immense distance separating him from the spot he was sent to, and not knowing what he was going to find, he enters a poorly lit place in the countryside. He looks around and notices the smallest, weakest and poorest of all the children of men. At that point, a marvelous light illuminates the simple grotto he is in and he sees the whole heavenly court is also present, with billions of angels ascending and descending and singing a new and extremely sweet song.

Nativity Scene“Hurry up, you can see that he is cold,” the seraphim tells him. It was only at that moment that he learned that God was made man and that his mission was to protect the little baby and His mother, the Blessed Virgin, and His adoptive father, Saint Joseph.

Quickly, he approaches the donkey and the ox sleeping deep into the grotto and has them warm the newborn with their breath; he smoothes out the hay to avoid that any wisp should hurt the baby; and he spreads in the air an aroma of Christmas made with fir tree resin, warm wax, orange blossoms and diverse candies.

The Child smiles at seeing him. He is the last, but the happiest of angels.

Ever since that night, the last angel goes around the Earth annually to make souls of good will smell the sweetness, perfume and spirit of Christmas.

So now, please, look around you and be sensitive to his presence. You will perhaps figure that he has just passed by in the flickering candle before the crèche, in the brightness of a Christmas bauble suspended from the fir tree or in the sweetness of the chants during midnight Mass.



A Note from the Author:

Yes, dear Reader, this is only a Christmas tale, but the last angel really does exist. I don’t know his name, but in any case our poor human intelligence would have great difficulty understanding the meaning and beauty of an angel’s name.

Furthermore, he was the one who suggested that I write this tale. When I objected that perhaps not everything would come out just right, he laughed, raised his shoulders and said, “All you’ll have to do is to put a note at the end. Those smart enough to keep their child-like souls will be delighted, and those who can see with the heart will know.”

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 28, 2021

My confidence is placed in God who does not need our help fo...

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July 28

 

My confidence is placed
in God who does not need our help
for accomplishing His designs.
Our single endeavor should be
to give ourselves to the work and to be faithful to Him, and
not to spoil His work by our shortcomings.

St. Isaac Jogues


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Samson of Dol

In Cornwall, he converted a number of idol worshipers by mir...

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St. Samson of Dol

St. Samson is counted among the seven founding saints of Brittany. He was born in Wales, his father being the son of Amon of Demetia and Anne of Gwent, daughter of Meurig, king of Glamorgan and Gwent.

Early in life his education was entrusted to St. Illtud, the abbot of Llandtwit Fawr.

Seeking an even more austere life than this school provided, Samson moved to the island monastery of Caldey where he became a model of virtue. There, he succeeded St. Pyr as abbot.

Later, his father Amon and an uncle joined him in the monastic life. At one point he made a visit to Ireland, and on his return, with his father and uncle retired to a hermittage.

But his peace did not last. He was again made abbot, and was subsequently consecrated bishop by St. Dubricius. After a vision instructing him to travel beyond the sea, he sailed for Cornwall, converting a number of idol worshipers by miraculously restoring a boy who had been thrown by a horse.

He founded a couple of churches, after which he sailed for Brittany possibly visiting the Scilly Islands, one of which is named after him.


In Brittany he traveled extensively preaching and teaching, and working many miracles. A town in Guernsey bears his name. He founded two monasteries, one in Dol and another in Normandy. While visiting Paris he attracted the notice of King Childebert who is said to have appointed him bishop of Dol. Samson died peacefully among his monks in the year 565.

Photo by: Humphrey Bolton

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates t...

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The Rosary and the Possessed Girl

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that a Dominican, Father Jean Amat, was once giving a Lenten Mission in the Kingdom of Aragon, Spain, when a young girl, possessed by the devil was brought to him.

Father Amat began the exorcism. After several unsuccessful attempts, the priest had an idea; taking his Rosary, he looped it around the girl’s neck. 

No sooner had he done this, the girl began to squirm and scream and the devil, shouting through her mouth shrieked, “Take if off, take off; these beads are tormenting me!”

At last, moved to pity for the girl, the priest lifted the Rosary beads off her neck.

The next night, while the good Dominican lay in bed, the same devils who possessed the young girl entered his room. Foaming with rage, they tried to seize him, but he had his Rosary clasped in his hand and no efforts from the infernal spirits could wrench the blessed beads from him.

Then, going on the offensive and using the Rosary as a physical weapon, Fr. Amat scourged the demons crying out, “Holy Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, help me, come to my aid!” at which the demons took flight.

The next day on his way to church, the priest met the poor girl, still possessed. One of the devils within her taunted him, “Well, brother, if you had been without your Rosary, we should have made short work of you…”

With renewed trust and vigor, the priest unlaced his Rosary from his belt, and flinging it around the girl’s neck commanded, “By the sacred names of Jesus and Mary His Holy Mother, and by the power of the holy Rosary, I command you, evil spirits, leave the body of this girl at once.”

The demons were immediately forced to obey him, and the young girl was freed.

“These stories,” concludes St. Louis de Montfort, “show the power of the holy Rosary in overcoming all sorts of temptations from the evil spirits and all sorts of sins because these blessed beads of the Rosary put devils to rout.”

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In the Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that a Dominican, Father Jean Amat, was once giving a Lenten Mission in the Kingdom of Aragon, Spain, when a young girl, possessed by the devil was brought to him.

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