The Gospel Truth

Messengers of Grace | September 25, 2011

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living.

I have been putting my life under a huge microscope since I was in high school.

I have delighted in developing a philosophy of life–a code of behavior, based on my Catholic faith that I have tried to live.

Author, Nancy Pearcey, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for Phyllis Schlafly on her nationally syndicated program a few weeks ago, calls this a worldview or what the Germans christened, a Weltanschauung.

You should check out her book, A Total Truth.

When I was in high school my idea of a good time was to take an unsuspecting young lady in the corner of a room during a school dance and tell her the unedited version of my life, replete with my worldview.

That usually took three hours.

You have to understand that I was only 17 years old.

Today that would require a much longer session. That’s why I blog!

It also made dating the same girl a bit difficult because they had heard my life story already.  In senior year at Xavier I dated 22 different girls.

It was at my 50th high school reunion that I realized how much a role angels had played in my life.

I wonder how many people still believe in Guardian Angels?

Guardian Angel 011

Stuff just for children?

In grade school, during my early education the nuns would teach that each one of us had a guardian angel.

Most people probably equated such teaching to having an imaginary friend.

In other words a kind of fantasy you tell children until they are old enough to realize that such things don’t exist.

Think Santa or the Easter Bunny.  The Tooth Fairy is real.

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She is very real.

I know I never gave angels much of a thought.

For adults angels are relegated to the ornamental world of Christmas trees.

Many men dreamed of finding an angel with a very earthly body.

The Bible, especially the New Testament, relies heavily on angels as messengers and powerful intercessors for God’s will.

The older I get the more I look to human angels than any celestial being with wings and things because of the number of intercessions that have been made on my behalf by them.

My trip to Gettysburg for my recent birthday evoked memories of the best-selling book by Michael Shaara, Killer Angels.

The potential for good or evil

This was the author’s theological way of saying that human beings have a divine spark but are also cursed with a lethal tendency.

I think many of us are employed by God to take messages of hope and grace to each other.

It was during the open mike session during the reunion that I had some deep thoughts that I shared with my classmates that demonstrated how interconnected the events were in my life and how many angels or messengers of God’s grace had enabled me to pursue the life that has become my life and my adult Weltanschauung.

I started out by saying how I had received something none of them ever had from Xavier H. S.–a rejection letter.

That was the absolute truth.

What bothered me more than my dashed hopes and dreams, created by a neighbor, who proudly marched past my window everyday, wearing his snappy blue dress uniform, en route to the subway, was the fact that many of my intellectual inferiors in my eight grade class had been accepted.

I did have the consolation that Todd Defronzo had also gotten a thin letter from Xavier.

Todd and I had taken the test for Xavier’s rival Jesuit school, Brooklyn Prep.

Of the 5,000 who took their test, I had finished 162nd and Todd–12th.

Unfortunately he needed a scholarship.  He missed that by two places.

I moped around for a full week until just before the end of the lunch period, one of my inferiors told me to call home–My dad was as excited as I was when he told me they had reconsidered and I had a place in the Class of 1961.

I found out later that the first of what would be several messengers of grace had interceded on my behalf.

My saintly maiden aunt called her Jesuit friend, Father Joseph Connors at St. Francis Xavier Church and he must have told them how smart, good and handsome I was.

Was Fr. Connors my Clarence?

Well maybe two of the three.

Going to Xavier shaped the direction my life would take.

From there I went to Holy Cross–another jebbie school.

They told us that there were only two kinds of schools, the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities.  And then there was everyone else!

At Holy Cross, I met another instrumental  priest, Father John Sullivan, who later became the Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, the same diocese that my good friend Archbishop Joseph Naumann, now leads.

He represented the Catholic Lay Extension Volunteers.

It was their mission to extend the Catholic Church into rural and urban areas where there were just a few Catholics.

This out-reach program catered to teachers, social workers and people who cared about Church teachings.

I promised myself that if I felt as inspired as I was that first time, I would join.

Four years later after hearing Father Sullivan a few more times, I signed up.

But it wasn’t that easy.

Twice they tried to wash me out.

Both times were for the standardized test, the infamous MMPI.

I had to visit the school psychologist at the Cross.

God only knows how I got through that and I was on to a brief period of training at Barat College of the Sacred Heart in Chicago.

I had to take that same test again.  This time I tried to micromanage my answers.

They would give you silly questions such as would you rather march in a parade or pick daisies.

Well it was another trip to the psychologist.

So tell me about your childhood...

It seemed that I was too much of an individualist.  They wanted team players and I was told to go home.

I remember feeling as low as I did when Xavier had rejected me.

I was sitting in a light rain thinking about where m,y life was headed when I heard from our Missouri director, Father Wally Ellinger.

He told me he had gone to see the powers that be and showed them a letter I had written to him, pledging that I would do anything to serve the cause in Missouri.

I guess that sounded like being a team player to them and I had my rejection rescinded again and it was off to Charleston, Missouri, where I met the woman who would be my wife ever since 1966.

Since then I have developed a deeper understanding for personal introspection and how God’s mercy, grace and whatever works its way in each human life.

I have no idea how many times I may have inadvertently acted as a messenger of grace for the people I have encountered over the years, either in person or on the radio or maybe even through my written words.

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Real guardian angels?

One of the lament of life is that you just never know…and maybe that’s a good thing.

Comedian Albert Brooks said in one pf his acts that he had a dream that an angel, like Jimmy Stewart’s Clarence came to him and showed him how the world would have been without him…and it was better.

Of course that was a joke.

I have always said that George Bailey had nothing over me.

While he had done so much good that he was unaware of, I have had people go to bat for me because presumably they saw something special in me and they have changed my life completely.

I hesitate to think of what my life might have been without them.

They were true messengers of grace who helped me along the road to my earthly and eternal destiny.

I hope this gives all of you something more to think about.

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2 Comments »

  1. Angels in our Lives

    Many say “Oh, what a coincidence”! Or, “Wow, how lucky”. Or “Oh, what bad luck”.

    I learned long ago that there is a reason behind things that we experience in life. Good things and bad things happen to all of us. We are always being influenced, and sometimes impacted, by these “Circumstances”. But they are not merely circumstance or random chance events.

    We spend our lives here on earth in the midst of an unseen, raging spiritual battlefield. Good against evil. Mind you, our Father God, is always in control. However, He has given us “Free will” to choose our course and our actions.

    There is a saying that money can buy a fine dog. But only love can get him to wag his tail.

    God created us to share His love in a personal relationship with Him. That is why He made us free to choose Him (Good) or to turn away and fulfill our earthly desires (evil). He desires genuine love from us. Otherwise he would have created us as robots to mindlessly worship Him.

    Fast forward thousands of years from man’s original sin in the garden. Today Satan is constantly trying to divert our attention and affection away from God. But is much more serious than that! The devil goes around like a roaring lion, looking to devour souls.

    So we are in the midst of a great spiritual battle of angels and demons competing for our souls. God can allow good things to happen to us. He can also allow evil to cast us into harm. When harm befalls us, God desires for us to look up to Him for His help and guidance. When we choose to do this, He can teach us and we can learn from Him.

    With God always in control, we can gain much when bad things happen to us. The opportunity to learn from God is always present. And it will benefit our spirits greatly for God’s glory when we choose to learn.

    As we give our hearts and lives over to God we begin to realize how He has always been at work in our lives. We begin to understand how He has given us His Angles to watch over us. To nudge, to guide, to steer and to protect. Sometimes people around us are sort of like angel surrogates. God uses others to nudge, steer and protect us.

    Drawn near to Him and He will reveal much to you.

    Comment by Mike Schneller — September 28, 2011 @ 2:56 am

  2. I pray to my guardian angel at the start of the day and at the end of the day. God works through people, yes. but God has a mulitude of angels of various rank and position and job descriptions. When you die you will see the angel that has been with you from conception and will accompany you to the judgment. You will know what that angel did to protect and enlighten you in your choices. My angels name is Mariah. What did you name yours?

    Comment by Mary B — September 28, 2011 @ 3:18 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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