Happy Birthday Patrick!

Patrick turns twelve today! Wonder what bundles are in store for him?

Paddy was born on the Feast of the Guardian Angels. And boy, have those angels been good to him! Here's one from the archives to celebrate angels and Patrick:

Patrick was born on a Sunday. Our pastor at the time told us that he looked into the congregation that morning and wondered at our absence. He had a sense that I was in labor and offered that Mass for us. Paddy was born at 11:42—as near as we can tell to the moment the host was consecrated. It is so easy for me to believe that all the angels and saints were rejoicing at that moment and pledging to each other that they would bless this little boy.

The day before he turned two, Patrick was helping my husband fix the computer. He reached over to move the console cover that Mike had removed and, in an instant, cut his chubby fist on the sharp metal cover. He sliced through two tendons and came within millimeters of slitting his wrist. He had complicated microscopic surgery to repair his hand on his birthday: the Feast of the Guardian Angels. He has nearly full function of that hand today, a tribute to the gifted surgeon and his guardian angel.

Now he is nearly seven and he still has an affinity for heart-stopping crises. Last week, Mary Beth came into the kitchen screaming. She had blood on her hands and all she would say was "Paddy! Paddy!" I went to the garage where Patrick stood holding his head, covered in blood. He kept saying, "I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I’m losing too much blood. I'm really scared!" I took comfort in the fact that he was talking. After we mopped him up and Mike put some pressure to a narrow but deep wound in the back of his head, the story unfolded.

He was trying to get a hockey stick from the back of the garage. The stick bumped "that big tool thing" off the hook above Patrick's head. I climbed over all the things we have stored in the garage, following a trail of blood, until I found "that tool thing." A sledgehammer, blunt on one side and axe sharp on the other. A sledgehammer had fallen on my baby’s head! My knees went week and I shook all over. So close…Paddy, recognizing that he was not going to die after all, said, "Mom, I guess you get extra angels if you’re born on their feast day." I guess so.

We believe in guardian angels because Jesus said, "See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father" (Matthew 18:10). Tradition supports the belief and the Church’s night prayer includes a reference to angels as well: "He has given his angels orders about you, to guard you wherever you go" (Psalms 91:11). One of the first prayers we teach our children is the prayer to our guardian angel.. I try to remember, when I send my children off without me, to send my guardian angel along. He can guard me and the child at the same time.

I must admit that I prayed more fervently to their angels the night after Patrick’s sledgehammer mishap. And I kissed six sweet heads more tenderly. Guardian angels don’t mean that no harm will ever come to us. They simply remind us that His love and protection are with us wherever we are. There is a wealth of both physical and spiritual protection and strength in their presence. They are waiting for us to ask for their assistance. Have you talked to your angel today?

You can barely see the scar in the back of his head.