October 2nd is my father’s birthday. Perhaps I should say was as he died eight years ago. And yet, for me it is his birthday now and forever. It so happens that it has only been since his death that I have become aware that his birthday is in fact the Feast of the Guardian Angel. And along the way, I read that devotion to the angels is, at heart, an expression of faith in G*d’s enduring love and providential care extended to each of us day in and day out. This is of course a beautiful thought and movingly, the same love that anchors my father’s heart in his children.
My dad, like me, was fully human, and so, complex and imperfect. It is amazing to me that as I grow in my ability to welcome my own imperfection, I am able to see him more clearly and love him more dearly. Thus, as I perceive that the interplay of light and shadow is what gives us depth, I am able to see the divine at work in dad and in me. And so, I see that like dad, the light makes its way into the world through my many cracks. I also understand that in being fully human, I wrestle with my imperfections, my demons. Dad’s spirit is intertwined with mine always and the gift of his spirit thrives as everlasting love.
When I think of my dad’s soul light I see clearly what I will call his authentic spiritual literacy; Justness, kindness, love, devotion, nurturing, compassion, and imagination. These are among the qualities that offered meaning to his life and that shined through his life struggles and personal imperfections. In naming his spiritual gifts, I deepen my connection to his spirit as a force ever entwined with my own desire to attend to suffering in my ordinary lived experience. Seen in its purity, this desire asks that I protect the dignity of all beings and challenges me to authentically offer my being as a channel of divine compassion.
Thus, my father’s ordinary life experience full of light and dark; beauty and challenge; love and suffering; presence and distraction, continues to evolve in an eternal way. It mirrors the true, sincere and indissoluble intimacy of a heart seeking to connect and unite itself with the divine heart.
As is customary with feast days, there is a devotion to the Guardian Angel that resonates with my heart’s way of knowing my father. He is ever present in me in deep time – everlasting life. The Devotion reads: “O Angel of God, to whose holy care I am committed by the supernal clemency, enlighten, protect, defend, and govern me. Amen”