Avenging Angels

Quite a while back I read St. Patrick’s Gargoyle by Katherine Kurtz. The story of a Gargoyle named Paddy for the Church in Dublin that he guards, stolen alms basins and a roughed up verger, and the desecrated grave of a Knight returned from the Holy Land.

The gargoyles of Dublin meet once a month, on a moonless night, to discuss what’s happening with their various charges (the churches) and what may be happening in the city. The gargoyles explain (both to one another and Paddy to a human, Francis Templeton – an elderly Knight of Malta who helps him out – that gargoyles were once avenging angels. In the Old Testament avenging angels were seen frequently, but they aren’t around in the New Testament.

Templeton sees Paddy’s reflection in the black door of a Rolls Royce…

Reflected briefly in the car’s polished black door, just as his visitor ducked back into the sheltering shadow of the shutters, was not a darkly menacing shadow-shape laced with fire, but the stern, majestic figure of an armored warrior, with a diadem of stars across its noble brow and dark pinions sweeping from powerful shoulders to trail rainbows behind. And what its strong hands were cradling to its armored breast was not a radiator mascot but a tiny winged cherub.

“Oh”, Paddy said apologetically, as Templeton gave a wondering little gasp, slack-jawed with awe. “I guess your car door’s a black mirror. You weren’t supposed to see that. That’s the only way mortals can see us in our true form — unless, of course, they’ve really pissed us off. Then you don’t wanta know. Like I said we used to be avenging angels.

“Not anymore, though. We don’t get to kick ass like we did in the old days. The Boss has mellowed a lot, since the days when He was a Old Testament God. I think it started when His Son joined the Firm. The Son was human for a while, you know, so He’s inclined to be a little softer on sinners.”

The advent of Christ does obviate the need for avenging angels. The Old Testament God punished. After God gave us his Son, there was no need for avenging angels. Through Christ, we are forgiven and saved. Let us remember this as we come into this most Holy season.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

cross posted at The Anchoress

St. Patrick's Gargoyle

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