She’d never seen an angel, never felt herself washed by joy and light.
Not long ago I received a poignant letter from a woman who had never seen an angel or had an angel appear to her. She had only questions.
“Why do angels only appear to some? Why to you and not to me?” she asked. “And if we all have guardian angels, why don’t they always protect us? With all my beliefs,” she wrote, “and my Christian background, with all my prayers and tears and novenas, I don’t even know if God hears me."
What does one say in response to such a plea?
“Life has been difficult at best,” she wrote, “but if only I had had a sign! If only just once I had received a message or image!" All her life she had never gone to bed without saying her prayers but never felt God’s protecting embrace. She ends with the cry of Job: “It hurts me to write it, but I feel like he has left me alone. Why me?”
I have to add one thing. Later in her long letter she told how whenever she prayed the nine-day Novena to St. Theresa of Avila, she always received a rose on the second-to-last day. And the more sincere the prayer, the more definite the sign would be. Sometimes it would be a real flower, sometimes an unexpected card with a picture of a rose, or a candy shaped like a rose. One time she had a take-out lunch and on the napkin was an image of a rose.
Yet ardently, deeply she felt abandoned by God. She’d never seen an angel, never felt herself washed by joy and light.
What do I say in answer to her distress? What would you say? Anyone?