About a year after Georgette and I got married, she started calling me Houdini (after the great magician, Harry Houdini). She claimed that every time there was work to be done around the house, I would disappear. Unfortunately for her, I liked being compared to Houdini, and considered it to be a great compliment. If she had asked my mom before we got married, my mom would have told her that I was really good at two things: (1) getting out of doing work; and (2) getting other people to do work for me.
Because of my ability to get others to do work for me, over the years, I have developed the habit of getting my Guardian Angel to do things for me. My belief is that since God assigned an angel to assist me throughout my life, I would be foolish if I failed to put him to work on my behalf. Over the years, I have become accustomed to calling upon my guardian angel several times a day for assistance. Sometimes he surprises me and comes to my aid without me having to ask for his help.
A few years ago, during the month of December, three of my children, Harry, Maria and Laura, went to a cast party at one of the local restaurants after performing in a show at Peoria Players Theater. Earlier in the evening it had started sleeting outside and by the time the show was finished, the roads were starting to become icy and slick.
On that particular evening, I went back into my office to finish up a project I had started earlier in the day. When I left the office at around 11:15 p.m., I called Harry on his cell phone and told him I thought that he and the girls should head home because the roads were getting very dangerous to drive on. He told me they were getting ready to leave the restaurant when I called. I drove over to the restaurant to see if they needed any help scraping the ice off of their cars.
When I drove into the parking lot, all three of them were scraping their cars. Maria saw me pull into the parking lot and started walking toward my car. I stopped, opened my car door, and told her I was just checking up on them. I grabbed my ice scraper and kept my car running with the headlights shining on Maria’s car. As soon as I got out of my car, it started moving forward toward Maria’s car. (When Maria had walked up to my car, I placed my foot on the brake to stop the car so I could talk to her, and then exited the vehicle without realizing that I had not shifted the transmission into park.)
When I saw my car moving toward Maria’s car, four different thoughts immediately flashed through my mind: (1) that my car was going to crash into Maria’s brand new car; (2) an incident that happened when I was in 8th grade when a classmate of mine, John Ludolph, jumped into the bus driver’s seat to stop the bus from rolling downhill (the bus driver had stopped so he could go to the back of the bus to break up a fight and while the driver was breaking up the fight, the bus started rolling down the hill); (3) a man I had read about in the local newspaper who was run over by one of his car’s tires after he tried to jump into his car to stop it from rolling down his driveway; and (4) an article that had appeared in the local newspaper about a young child who was killed after shifting a running vehicle into gear and then falling out and getting run over by the vehicle.
Those thoughts flashed into my mind as I was running toward my car to jump in and stop it. Then something strange happened. As I was jumping into the car, my brain froze up on me – almost as if it was paralyzed. I experienced massive confusion as to what I needed to do next. For a brief moment, I thought: “there is no way I’m going to get this car stopped.” Then I heard a commanding voice that said firmly: “Step on the big pedal in the middle!” I heard the voice tell me the same thing three different times in a rapid sequence: “Step on the big pedal in the middle!” I then jammed my foot on the brake and the car stopped. At that point in time, my front bumper was only about an inch and a half away from the side of Maria’s car.
All of the thoughts and events that I just described to you happened within a timeframe of less than 2 seconds.
I am convinced that the voice I heard was my guardian angel giving me a command that he knew I would understand and act upon. Later, as I was driving home, I wondered why I was told to step on the “middle” pedal. There were only 2 pedals in my car: the gas pedal and the brake pedal.
The first car I ever practiced driving on was my grandfather’s car which was equipped with a standard three-speed transmission. There were three pedals on the floor of that car: a gas pedal, a brake pedal and a clutch pedal. The brake pedal was the middle pedal (located between the clutch and gas pedals), and was twice as wide as the other two pedals. If you’ve ever driven a standard transmission vehicle, you know that the gears to the transmission have to be shifted manually by stepping on the clutch pedal with your left foot while shifting the gears with your right hand.
In addition to learning how to drive my grandfather’s standard transmission vehicle, while I was in college, I owned and drove a car that had a standard transmission. So that night, when I heard the command to “Step on the big pedal in the middle!”, I instinctively knew, without having to think, that the middle pedal was the brake.
When I was a young boy, I had a picture that my mom gave me that was hung on a wall in my bedroom. It was a picture of a guardian angel watching over two children who were crossing over a bridge. My mom always encouraged me to pray to my guardian angel for help, protection, and guidance. The prayer she taught me was a prayer you probably also learned as a child: “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”
I said the prayer often as a boy, but then forgot about it during my teenage years. It wasn’t until later in life that I became reacquainted with my guardian angel and again started calling upon him for assistance.
The Catholic Church teaches that each guardian angel is: (1) created with a unique personality; and (2) blessed with distinctive traits that will be needed for the angel to assist the particular person he is assigned to. One thing that we never think about is that every guardian angel is able to gaze upon Almighty God at all times and, at the same time, watch over and guide the person he is assigned to, at all times. A guardian angel acts as a perpetual bridge between God and the person he is assigned to, and remains in that role until the person’s soul passes into eternity.
Next week I’m going to share some secrets with you about the immense power you have at your disposal when you know how to effectively communicate with your guardian angel.