In my hometown there is a Byzantine Catholic Church. It has a sprawling front lawn through which a path and Stations of the Cross wind. When my husband and I lived in this town, we would sometimes walk there and walk the stations with our son (who was 2-3 at the time). He loved the little bridges that cross over a tiny stream.
Last week we were driving through this town early one morning, as we do twice per week when my children go to be with my mom while I work for the morning. I sometimes point out the life-size Crucifix as we pass by, saying something really spiritually inspiring like, “Look, there’s the Crucifix…with the Blessed Mother and John standing by the Cross.” Last week I said that as we passed by.
My son responded simply, “There used to be angels.”
Immediately I thought that, when he was younger, he had thought the statues of the Blessed Mother and John standing by the Cross were angels. Now that he is 5 he sees that they are not but still thinks he remembers angels.
“Where were the angels?” I asked.
My “rational” explanation melted away. This is a boy who recalls details of events when he was two without prodding.
So there used to be angels. Or maybe there just are angels, but only the little ones have eyes to see them. If our 2 year-old daughter could understand the conversation and respond, we just might hear, “What do you mean ‘used to be’? They’re right there.”