10th December

Angels Speed To Help Us

Jesus said: Be careful that you never despise a single one of these little ones – for I tell you that they have angels who see my Father’s face continually in heaven. Matthew 18: 10

Columba sat transcribing the Scriptures in his little cell at Iona. Two brothers who were near the open door were alarmed when his countenance suddenly changed and he shouted ‘Help! help!’

‘What is the matter?’ they asked with consternation. Columba told them: ‘A brother at our monastery at Oakwood Plain in Derry was working at the very top of the large house they are building there, and he slipped and began to fall. I ordered the angel of the Lord who was standing just there among you two to go immediately to save this brother.’

Later they learned that a man had indeed fallen from that great height, but nothing was broken, and he did not even feel any bruise. As they discussed this Columba said: ‘How wonderful beyond words is the swift motion of an angel, it is as swift as lightning. For the heavenly spirit who flew from us when that man began to fall was there to support him in a twinkling of an eye before his body reached the ground. How wonderful that God gives such help through his angels, even when much land and sea lies between.’

O angel guardian of my right hand
Attend to me this night
Rescue me in the battling floods
Array me in your linen, for I am naked
Succour me, for I am feeble and forlorn
Steer my coracle in the crooked eddies
Guide my step in gap and in pit
Guard me in the treacherous turnings
And save me from the harm of the wicked
Save me from the harm this night
Drive me from the taint of pollution
Encompass me till Doom from evil
O kindly angel of my right hand
Deliver me from the wicked this night
O deliver me this night
Carmina Gadelica (adapted)