蔡詩綸 神父 / 2021.11撰寫
In different religious culture and tradition, God would visit his people thru a messenger or a protector of His people. In the Bible, they are called angels and usually disguises themselves as human.
In Christian faith, Angels are spiritual beings who, according to many biblical texts, perform a function of mediation under commission from God or, more precisely, one of conveying messages from. I, personally don’t think of them as having hierarchy (Angels/Archangels) or beings with wings as it is commonly portrayed in our Church for century already. But let me shared with you a story of mine about ‘angels’.
In the cold early Sunday morning of January 25, 2004 a newly born infant (with his placenta still attached) was found in a public toilet in a remote village. Nobody in that area knows where this baby came from or who put him there. The folks who found him removed the plastic bag that covers his head and decided to bring the newly born to St. Camillus Hospital. Later, the folks proceeded to the police station to report the case.
In the hospital, the infant’s experience of rejection, abandonment, insecurity and living him for dead were immediately replaced by attention, care, love and life. A hospital pharmacist who just arrived for work instinctively volunteered to be the child’s foster mother. She was married for three years without a child.
The baby needed a special medical attention. It appeared that he was born premature. Given the cold temperature to which the baby was exposed the night before and the unsanitary condition of the place where he was found, the doctors decided to have him confined in the hospital for at least two months.
The coming of the baby created an atmosphere of excitement in the hospital. The baby became an instant celebrity. Hospital staff, friends and relatives of the pharmacist came to see the baby whom everybody considered as luck or blessing.
The following day, the news of the incident was announced in the local radio. The search for the real mother or for whoever abandoned the baby began. More people wanted to see the baby. The event became an object of curiosity. DSWD personnel entered the scene. They informed the hospital administration and the acting foster parents that the child, found under certain circumstances, legally belongs to the State for as long as no relatives would claim within a six months period. They promise, however, to help the acting foster parent in the adoption process. DSWD The social service staff 社會福利和發展部人員 also made it clear that they could assume responsibility for the medical treatment of the baby in the provincial government hospital but would not shoulder the cost of private hospitalization. The acting foster parents decided to keep the baby in St. Camillus Hospital.
The atmosphere of joy, excitement and curiosity continued for a few more days. But on the sixth day the baby’s condition became unstable. Anxiety, pity, and mixed emotions pervaded the baby’s room.
In the afternoon of the seventh day, the baby’s condition deteriorated further. Those attending to the baby asked for emergency baptism. The chaplain came and before he could ask them what name do they had in mind, he heard them saying that this baby was an angel for all of them. The chaplain suggested the name ‘Michael’. They look at each other as if in disagreement. Then the priest suggested the name Raphael. Everybody happily agreed.
A few hours later, baby Raphael had to be transferred to a government regional hospital. Ordinarily, it would take almost four to drive to that hospital. In the absence of an ambulance driver, the priest offered himself to drive. After a few minutes, when all concerned individuals were aboard, they speed away towards the city. Brother Mars came along as a nurse (now a Camillian priest). The foster mother and another pharmacist came along too.
The priest drives too fast, probably not wanting to waste time and to save the baby. But the other people in the car reminds him that their lives are important too; they mean to the priest not to drive too fast.
After two and a half hours drive, they arrived at 政府區域醫院 DMC. But it turned out an hour later that 政府區域醫院 lacked certain life breathing apparatus for baby Raphael. The emergy room is over congested with patients. Immediate transfer to a private hospital had to be arranged (San Pedro Hospital). At San Pedro Hospital, they encounter more problems which ended up in their having to bring the baby back to DMC!
While they were still at San Pedro 急診室, brother Mars help him with an ambu bag 安布袋, baby Raphael’s face assumed an expression which seemed to assure everyone that he would always remember and was thankful for what was being done for him. Talking by looking eye to eye with the priest (so innocent and peaceful eyes), it seem as if he was saying that given the chance, he’d like to be born over and over and over again.
At midnight, back in 政府區域醫院, things calmed down. The foster mother stayed behind to take care of the baby while the rest went back home, on the eight day – feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
Every possible treatment was given to Raphael, but to no avail. On the ninth day, God called him back to His presence. The foster parents couldn’t do anything except to let their tears flow. They felt the pain of loss, yet were deeply grateful for that brief but lasting encounter with Raphael, their little angel. They accepted the turn of events with serenity, mindful of the old saying that “a child is never given to parents by God, only lent to them.”
After a simple liturgy on the tenth day - the feast of St. Blasé, Raphael was quietly put to rest. Because of the swiftness of his arrival and departure, it seemed as if he came like a shooting star. But his memory would certainly not vanish as easily to a few. For Raphael came as an angel to those who encountered and journeyed with him during his brief sojourn in this world. It is hoped that he also felt that he didn’t journey alone in the dark but somehow experienced persons who sincerely strive to relate with one another in a forgiving, healing, unifying, and loving way.
**辣法耳 (意謂 :「天主醫治」)，是在旅途中一直照顧多俾亞的總領天使。每個人在今生的朝聖路途中都有一個護守天使，其任務類似於辣法耳。每一個人都可以當他人的護守天使。
Note: Raphael ‘Medicine of God’ is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey. Every person on his pilgrimage through this life also has a guardian angel with a mission similar to that of Raphael.
(Especially those serving in the hospitals and health care institutions, in a way, are God’s guardian angels). Those helping build such caring institutions, are in a way disguising themselves as God’s angels.)
*The writer of this article is the same person driving the car to the hospital is a Camillian priest. Since 1984, he has been visiting sick people and attending to their relatives. He dedicated his life in service to the poor sick in 1998 when he became a Camillian Religious ordained priest. He has been assigned to serve in different hospitals and health care institutions in different places and situations. He has been a Parish Priest a few times. He also visited a few times St. Camillus Hospital in Makung between 1999-2003. He is back in Taiwan （2016） and working now as a Parish Priest at Assumption Church in Luodong Yilan, continuing his ministry of Preaching the Word of God and visiting the sick.