Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 67(2) May 2017

Someone Bigger than me

Dr Josephine Treloar MB, BS, MRCGP

AngelMy mother often quoted the rhyme;

'Whenever I am near a church, I'll pay a little visit.
So when at last I'm carried in, the Lord won't say,
"Who is it?"

So, having done a high street trip locally, we popped into the church before returning to the car. There we met a young woman whom we had not seen for several years. It was obvious she was distressed and feeling fairly desperate. She had come to the church, as, in her own words, 'I needed to know there was something bigger than myself'. 

I think we managed to help her with some friendship and advice, but the whole encounter gave me much food for reflection.

Firstly, it was most unusual for us to be in that time and place and sadly I can think of many other times when we have omitted the opportunity to visit the church. So I had a feeling that we had, perhaps, been 'sent'. 

Secondly, her comment gave me the concrete realisation that the bottom line in human faith is that God is greater than we are, or anything else for that matter. The general belittling of anything Sacred and Divine, can leave us fairly exposed when we realise that we are finite beings, especially when we hit a hard time. Our parish priest had some clear messages to pass to us, one of which was that angels are not like pink fluffy fairies. The power of an angel is far greater than we can ever imagine, and thus the power of an angel is greater than the devil who is a fallen angel.

My mother taught us the prayer to my guardian angel, the prayer to St Michael, the prayer for England and many others. At times of significant forces of evil directed against near and dear the inability to 'do something', has made the ability to pray even more wonderful. Another sermon used the analogy of a little yeast to our small efforts which God can then multiply to great ends; this too spurs me on.

Oh my good Angel,
Whom God has appointed to be my guardian,
Enlight and Direct,
Protect and Guide me,
This day and for evermore.

'Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.' (Peter 5:8) is a quotation that comes too often to my mind, with the threat to international peace and the devastation of lives of those I have known since they were born. The de-education done by so-called religious education strips away any Divine law and leaves students in our workplace, the hospitals and our schools with their own 'gods'. To argue both sides of an argument and answer questions which begin 'What are the problems with Catholic teaching on...' is like putting students in a spinning barrel at the fair; the centrifugal force sticks you to the side and the floor is withdrawn, but in this case the floor is not returned when the barrel stops spinning.  

'Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.'
(Peter 5:8)

Our encounter with the young woman helps me know there is a way through the chaos. If we can impart that God is greater than us or any evil, He loves us, and there is Truth, we might at least give some hope to those who are struggling. At work, these principles also hold true. We will not, explicitly, bring God or our faith into the consultation. But that which is true and right must always inform that which we do. We are, after all, required to act ethically in our work and do what is right.

Editor’s note.
Guardian Angels can indeed be very helpful.
A prayer to him asking for help before a difficult meeting can very very helpful indeed.
My Guardian Angel has been very good to me in the past!