It has always been said that my guardian angel, my protector, is God’s Archangel, Michael. And contrary to my belief that I deserved no special attention, those who attributed greater meaning to that, considered me blessed and respected me more during my life.
My life was lived peacefully and well, helping others when I could and even at times when I could not. I’ve never considered myself worthy of praise or esteem. For what can we humans do, so weak and short-lived, sprinkled as a handful of grain on the road, but watch over others and receive kindness when in need? Truth be told, often I gave, and I did not always receive kindness. Still, I didn’t grieve over that. We should all act on our own, good or bad. To do well I needed neither God, nor Archangel Michael, dressed in pure white as I have been taught. I did not seek shelter in his name, or appeal to others in his name, or do good for those who did me wrong in his name, but rather because I felt that was what I must do. What we should all do. And yet his sanctification praised me more than any deed.
I am now listening to the last words I will hear on Earth: “Holy Archangel Michael, banish from us the devious spirit that tempts us,” said the priest. “O, great God’s archistratege Michael, defeater of demons! Defeat and destroy all of our enemies, visible and hidden, and pray to our Lord God Almighty to save and protect us from all illness and sorrow, from deadly wounds and sudden death, now and forever and ever. Resurrection day is coming and it looms near. The good doers shall then be separated from those who took refuge from good.
May my soul, O Lord, never see the darkness of the demons, neither in this life, nor in the afterlife, neither in the agony of death, nor in my ascent to heaven.
May not the accursed dragon deride my miserable soul when it abandons this depraved body. Do not let the filthy spirit of fetor and stench snatch it, O my Lord, my Christ, my Jesus, my God, my Light, and carry it away to perdition. O my Master, God of Heaven and earth, may my eyes never see his hideous and darksome face. But at the time of my end, O my holy, thrice holy and glorified King, send me Thy mercy and Truth. O my God, at that time send Michael, the commander-in-chief, over Thy servant. Amen!”
I am not bothered by these words, although I didn’t understand them entirely. I would have traded that whole sermon that felt unnecessary and intended for someone else, certainly not me, just to hear my child’s voice, to listen to it, but she is somewhere else, in a strange land, far away from me, and I will not see her today. I would trade all those words just to listen to the first cry of my grandchild, whom I have barely met, to comfort and calm him, to be his silver-white angel. All the grace I received, I would give for one touch of my tender and long departed Sofi. For this I mourn, and now, at the end, if Archangel Michael can hear me, and if indeed he was my guardian, I pray to him to award me with some wishes. And so my last thought flows out of me, voices become silent, and my last day on earth fades into dark.
And just as I believe it is over it is not. From the clouds, heavenly ivory, the Angel steps in front of me. HE does not resemble any of the icons portraying him on church murals and windows, but I know it’s him. My guardian. He does carry a sword in his hand, which always confused me in the icons, but it shines not with the metallic glow, but some celestial blue, made of jewels, iridescent, beautiful, long, and unexpectedly kind. His eyes are filled with sorrow. All the pain died within me and I feel young and spirited, like once before. I raise my arms to welcome him joyfully.
"I ask for forgiveness", I cried out. "My last prayer was in grief for my life, and I have not nurtured myself with prayers during my time on earth."
"Ask not for forgiveness for there is nothing to be forgiven. You have lived kindly and I bear the Kyanite sword to you,” he told me in a voice deep as the ocean. "Steel to sinners and to you eternal blessing. This is the symbol of life," he said pointing to the sword coloured by the hues of the sky.
"Your will be done!" I shouted as I’ve heard those who pray shout. The Archangel shook his head and said, "Not My will. This blessing you created by living your life well. I only carry the sword. Same to everyone, this crafted from Kyanite is a life bearer and the one from steel holds death. The one who carries the sword has a thousand faces, and for you it is my face you see."
Now I understand. He touched me with the sword and it was as if the majesty of every forest thrived within me. HE shed a tear.
"Why do you cry", I asked.
"I cannot answer your dying wish and that is why I cry. I cry for your child's voice, your grandchild's tears, and your Sofi’s touch. I cry for the happiness you mortals are blessed with. I cry, for if you had known, even the worst of your race would never have missed even a single moment of such happiness." He touches me with his Kyanite sword and I am filled with light.
I am a part of something far bigger now, and Sofi is here, I can feel it. I fly, eager to become immersed with the luminous and infinite. But still I mourn, haunted only by the voice, the cry, and the touch of love.
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