Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Guardian Angel and the Mangy Donkey

October 2nd - Feast of The Guardian Angels.....

The year was 1936 and Spain was in the throes of a bloody civil war that pitted father against son and brother against brother.
Of especial interest to the Communist side were Catholic Priests and religious.

 Priests especially, were the target of mock trials and obscene executions involving vile tortures beforehand and, just as often they would be assassinated in the streets or at the altar (the Reds delighted in defiling holy places as well as in the act of murder).

Not exactly my idea of what
 a Guardian Angel looks like

A young priest, aged 34 and just 11 years ordained was going about his daily pastoral duties in his usual lively and diligent manner. He was en route to Madrid Cathedral and, as the times dictated, he walked with eyes in the back of his head, wary in case an assassin would step out of the crowd and kill him.

 Wary, also of the hand on the shoulder and the subsequent arrest and torture before a bullet through the stomach would put a painful and lingering end to his life.

As he approached the Cathedral steps he noticed a sinister looking man walking purposefully towards him across the piazza. The man’s hand was going towards an inside coat pocket, very obviously going for a gun; if ever there was an assassin in the making, this man was the one.

As the priest frantically looked about him for routes of escape he saw a large thuggish looking man moving swiftly to head off the assassin. He blocked the assassin’s path to the priest and, when the killer made to bypass him he moved again in a threatening fashion to block the way.
Thwarted, the killer turned on his heels and vanished into the crowd.

The priest, meanwhile, was watching this drama spellbound.
Then, to his dismay, the thug approached him and, in a confidential manner hissed in his ear: “Mangy donkey, mangy donkey”.

Immediately he turned around and striding off was soon out of sight.

The priest was stunned. Not only from the shock of narrowly missing death but also by the thuggish man and the words he had whispered into his ear. “Mangy donkey, mangy donkey”.

These words were used by the priest when he went on his knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament each day. He would speak to Our Lord saying:
“Lord have mercy upon me your unworthy servant, I am no more than a mangy donkey, please have pity on me your mangy donkey”

It was then that the priest realised that, as he alone knew that he used these words in his dialogue with Almighty God, the thuggish man must have been……his Guardian Angel.

Fr Josemaria Escriva then proceeded into the Cathedral to give thanks for his salvation.

This account comes from a broadcast made on EWTN some 3 years ago and has been written from memory.
Fr Josemaria Escriva went on to found Opus Dei and to be canonised a saint of Holy Mother Church.

                                Prayers to Guardian Angels

O God, who in Thine ineffable Providence, hast sent Thy Holy Angels to watch over us: grant, we humbly pray, that we may always be defended by their protection and may rejoice in their fellowship forever. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

God our Father, in a wonderful way You guide the work of angels and men. May those who serve You constantly in heaven keep our lives safe from all harm here on earth. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O my good Angel whom God hath appointed
to be my Guardian. Enlighten and protect,
direct and govern me, this day/night and for evermore.


  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

  2. Richard,
    Great post, It is so sad these days that we do not hear from the pulpits advocating devotion to the Guardian Angeles!

    God Bless.

  3. Richard - thank you for this story, which is completely new to me.

    I have always accepted the idea of Guardian Angels, and now I know I was right to do so.

    God bless!

  4. Immaterial to this point in the saint´s story , but just in case anyone wonders, this would presumably be the old Jesuit Church in a maze of narrow streets - a stalkers paradise- in very central Madrid, the proCathedral in the centuries during which The Almudena cathedral(consecrated 1993 papal visit) was slowly plannned and built, unless it was the crypt of the latter, where our Lady of the Almudena was venerated (all on the very site where a stutue hidden in the moorish invasion had been found after the reconquest) open since 1911.Most of the way to the latter would again be a stalkers paradise until the open space withina hundred yards or so of whatever door- main church doors were mostly bolted shut if the church were open at all at that period. This would be the threshold,or first day or so, not the full throes of the civil war I would imagine.
    This saint's advice jibes with what I, a dreadful sinner, give my kids and sometimes others : "Ten confianza con tu Angel Custodio. – Trátalo como un entrañable amigo –lo es– y él sabrá hacerte mil servicios en los asuntos ordinarios de cada día."
    Trust your Guardian Angel. Treat him as a bosom friend- he is - and he will know how just how to render you a thousand daily little favours in your everyday occupations.

  5. Great story. I must talk to my Guardian Angel more.