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Kissing Angel

by Fr. Jonathan Atchley

I took to heart what a friend recently suggested to me while I floundered in a moment of existential despair: "bring beauty back to the world." This is not an easy challenge, particularly when one is confronted with the ever-present and ugly effects of sin. But where sin abounds, grace, we are assured, does so even more. Perhaps that is where I get the courage, then, to share this story, in hopes of dispelling the darkness with a bit more levity and light.


This has to be the strangest night I have ever experienced.

Rather recently, I was sitting, comfortably reading, set the book down and felt myself sink into the chair. But this was something different than the kind of leaning back and resting on cushions supporting you. I felt like I was shrinking, losing substance, mass—some essential part of me was leaking, and I was suddenly smaller than before. I panicked. What was happening? The question provided me an objective moment of reprieve, a significant pause for me to assess the problem and seek a solution. My hand went to my chest. Definitely a pain, but not angina; I wasn’t experiencing a heart attack, at least the kind I’d read about or heard others describe. Rather, I felt deflated, squishy, like a hot air balloon that sported a serious tear and was descending fast. The thought came to me: I had to see a doctor! A specialist. I tried to stand and walk to the phone. My steps were sluggish. I didn’t have the strength to reach the phone but instead collapsed in my computer chair and frantically began searching for help online. The browser took me to a website of shared experiences, so I started searching there. “Help!” I pleaded. “I don’t know what’s going on but something’s terribly wrong and I’m disappearing!” I stopped typing and listened. My imagination wildly suggested I was hearing a leak, like a substantial stream of air was escaping, not from a container but from me! Then, more urgently, “Please!" I pleaded, "before I evanesce into…nothingness.” The pain was sharper than ever and I began to slip into unconsciousness. “Is this how it ends?” The question arose, but before I could conceive an answer, a voice called out to me. I turned my chair, though it took all the strength to slowly spin the chair way from my computer monitor only to take in the most beautiful being I had ever seen. Rubbing my eyes, I marveled aloud: "what…who are you?"

“I am a Kissing Angel,” she spoke in a soft feminine voice. “A messenger sent to help you. Come here.” She emanated a beautiful aura and from her gentle smile I found sufficient strength to stand. She drew close to me and pressed her lips to mine. Sparks! Fire! A lively, lovely warmth flooded my being, but only for a moment as she drew away and looked at me thoughtfully. “What?” I asked. “As I feared,” she replied. “You humans are very vulnerable: the vicissitudes of life, a relationship tear here, a bruise there, and soon enough you begin to deflate.” I thought she said that I was leaking “Disp-air.” “I’ve never heard of such a thing," I said. “Come!” She commanded, though gently, as a nurse might request that a patient allows her to check one's vitals. She took me by the hand and led me to my bedroom. “Lie down.” I did, though I felt myself sinking again. She moved about standing just so, above me, to fit in another kiss. Oh! I felt air return to my empty lungs. My heart swelled and my lips tingled as though a gentle electric current surged through me. She paused, reflecting aloud: “I don’t know how you humans manage! There, I’ve repaired some of the damage with equal parts of hope and trust. These were sadly missing; you would not have lasted long had I not been sent.” “Can we recharge some more?” I begged. “Here, let me put my arms around you and…” I was jolted by a terrible shock. “Y-you are disappearing!” “Yes, she nodded. “That is how it must be with Kissing Angels. An angel is nothing but a messenger, and I carry a message and a promise of hope and life. But as I communicate my message, I am depleted, that you might be filled; while the tears and holes in your heart and soul are stitched and repaired, my essence drains away. By the time you are better, I will be gone.” She looked sad, for a moment, and then smiled so sweetly, any sorrow I felt was melted away. “But you cannot leave me like this! I need you.” “No, my remedy is but a temporary aid to a lifelong condition you suffer. Your ailment is from a lack of love, and you must learn to find it in friends and family, even those you do not yet know. You must go out and learn to love again, fiercely, bravely. You humans are curiously designed, much more so than us Kissing Angels. You have the capacity to fill one other, again and again. Your heart may be wounded or your soul afflicted, but you can bring relief and peace to others, whatever the troubles that beset you from day to day. My advice is not the perfect remedy--but it should suffice: strive to care selflessly for others and you will continually rebuild and renew yourself in spite of the sufferings and setbacks that life brings.” “But who must I love? How can I care for everyone in this way? “If you choose, you will find a way. And when your concern is genuine, you will find the strength to love as I have loved you.” She looked at me with what appeared to be a sweet condescension, the way an adult assesses the needs of a child, applying bandages and hugs to the little hurts that can bring smiles and laughter to a once tear-stained face. With that, she closed her eyes, pressed herself with one final if sweetly forceful time to my trembling lips, and the pain and gaps in my soul drifted away to be replaced with an ecstatic euphoria. I sat up, quickly, but she was gone. My Kissing Angel, a heaven-sent messenger with a gift of insight and a life for love spent herself to save me! I will never forget her gift! Now I know what I lost--and could lose again if not careful: my very self, from the stresses of misery and conflict. But how long do I have, before my war-torn soul begins to leak its vitality once more into the ether? I have no idea. And again, what of all the other people out there who do not yet share this secret knowledge, that we can be a Kissing Angel for someone who is leaking “Disp-air”?

For me the insight seems new, though you may already have met and embraced someone who shared this message with you. If so, then you have exchanged and hopefully continue to do so, that life-giving love with your own “kissing angel.” In any case, we need to get the word out! So many people leaking “disp-air,” without love, wandering and wondering aimlessly what life is about. And all along, we carry that special gift of ourselves for others, a secret kiss of interest or concern carried out with a word of kindness or encouragement, a smile or wave, holding the door open for someone behind or before us...all of this can be the start of a new life of hope and joy! My angel messenger taught me that love does not deplete itself; on the contrary, if it is wholesome and real, respectful and willing to sacrifice for the good of others, you will find yourselves so full of desires and dreams that you will become much more than who or what you previously thought possible. Go, then; become kissing angels! And see for yourselves: the lives you save will be more than just your own.


"They almost made an end of me on earth but I kept your precepts. Because of your love give me life and I will do your will!" --Psalm 119:87-88

"Go, preach the good news of the kingdom; freely you have received, freely give." Antiphon for evening prayer, 11th Sunday of ordinary time.

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Jun 18, 2023

The light of one candle can not be dimished by lighting even a thousand others. In contrast the light is then magnified and it's warmth carried out to the world.

Love should be magnified, multiplied and given freely.

The joyless are fearful and we should pray for them. We should be ever mindful to remind those who are leaking that trust is the bandage and God is the fixer.

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