Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

Angels in the Rafters

My daughter is seeing angels in church. “You will be with us soon,” they told her. My wife and I are greatly concerned.

            For several months, our adopted daughter, Bernadette, has been preparing for initiation into the Roman Catholic Church. Unlike other faiths, they are not satisfied to simply dunk your head in water and shout “hallelujah” and “praise the lord!” and all that. No. Instruction, preparation and mega ritual are required.

            So Bernadette has been meeting with a woman on a weekly basis, studying the Bible, reading about saints and being orientated to the traditions and culture of the church. Bernadette has expressed that she wants to become a saint. Personally, I’d be satisfied with better grades and a cleaner room, but why not set our sights high?

            This preparation is to culminate in Bernadette being baptized, confirmed and receiving communion during Easter Vigil, a 2 ½-hour mega service to take place the night before Easter. This is, presumably, because church isn’t long enough already.

            In the weeks preceding, she will have participated in a number of rituals: The Rite of Sending, the Rite of the Elect, and three Scrutinies that are to take place on consecutive weekends.

            The Rite of the Elect was interesting. Hundreds of catechumens, such as our daughter, were called forward by representatives of their home parishes at the cathedral. Hundreds of would-be Catholics gathered upon the altar of our community basilica as the callers held books that contained the catechumens’ names up to the sky. I am not sure whether the names were to be seen by the bishop or by God in Heaven. Nevertheless, it was a time-consuming process.

            The First Scrutiny did not live up to the hype. It was supposed to include an exorcism.  I was sorely disappointed that said exorcism didn’t include any flying objects, projectile vomit, vulgar insults or rotating skulls. Instead, the priest merely put his hands on Bernadette’s head and muttered a few prayers.

            For the most part, these rituals have proven to be  . . . extremely ritualistic. That is, until the evening of the Third Scrutiny, the scene of the aforementioned Vision.

            My wife and I were entertaining several of our nieces and nephews that weekend, so we sat with them. Bernadette and her “sponsor,” my sister-in-law, sat in the front of the church. Nobody noticed any peculiar behavior out of Bernadette. It was business as usual in church. In fact, Bernadette had a basketball game a half hour following mass, so we piled into three cars for a mad dash to the game, Bernadette changing into her uniform in my sister-in-law’s car. No mention of visitations to this point.

            It wasn’t until after the game, when she was riding home with me and one of the nieces, that the vision came up. “I saw angels in church,” Bernadette said, matter-of-factly.

            “Those were statues honey,” I quipped.

            She went on to describe how they were real angels and they were sitting in the rafters. She demonstrated how they were sitting.

            “Are you sure they weren’t gargoyles?” I asked, still making light of the situation.

            When Bernadette told my wife later, she wasn’t any more receptive. “Brush your teeth and go to bed!” she was told.

            It was not until the next morning that the full extent of our daughter’s experience was understood. My wife woke me up with “Bernadette said she saw angels in church yesterday.”

            “Yeah, she told me.”

            “She said they were all over the church and they told her ‘Soon you will be with us.’” This got my attention. “Bernadette said she tried to tell you last night, but you didn’t seem interested.”

            We questioned our daughter ad nauseam about the previous evening’s events. The gist of her account follows:

            During the homily, Bernadette noticed about 20 angels standing around the altar. Three female angels, whom she believes were the leaders, stood atop the wall that serves as the backdrop with their wings spread. About 30 others sat at various locations upon the giant beams that support the huge domed roof of the building.

            The three leaders looked directly at Bernadette and said, in unison, “You will be with us soon.”

            The seraphs glowed brightly to the extent that she could not discern skin color or race; however, she could make out gender and was certain that none of them had blonde hair. They took the appearance of being in their teens through their late 20’s. The “teen angels” wore jeans, though none of them were sagging or wearing low riders. Evidently, sagging is discouraged in Heaven as well.

            At times, they talked amongst themselves, while at others, they sang with the congregation. Bernadette noted that this was the most beautiful singing she had heard in her life. An unseen piano and violin accompanied them. They remained in their positions for the duration of the mass, though they would move about slightly.

            As Bernadette departed, she had noticed that the angels were perched like birds about to take flight; however, she never at any time saw any of them fly.

            “What did you think they meant by you being with them soon?” I asked.

            “They were talking about my baptism,” she replied.

            “Your mother is worried about you dying,” I said.

            “I don’t think that’s what they meant.”

            We gave her multiple opportunities to back out of her story, but she did not let up. Later, while experiencing a debilitating migraine,  Bernadette produced the following poem, which she said was stuck in her head:

         The day the angel falls from the heavens,
             one heart will stop beating.
         As nine days pass, look to the future fast;
             don’t look back at the past.
         The second day of the week, a peaceful
             evening it will be, up and early.
         Late and pale in a bed at home,
             let the one who dies rest in peace.

A series of rather frantic phone calls followed.

Click for soundtrack

 .

To be continued

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2 Responses to “Angels in the Rafters”

  1. Your wife right it’s creepy!!maybe it’s a rebirth thing with the baptism coming up!

  2. Hmmmm…very interesting! Can’t wait to hear the rest.

    And you should seriously let her watch “Dogma” 😉


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