Black Petals Issue #77 Fall, 2016

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Archangel-Fiction by BP Editor, A. M. Stickel
Drop-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
Essence of Andrew-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Lupine Savagery-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
Smith's Emporium-Fiction by Tony Lukas
Spider Line-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Surviving Montezuma, Chapters 3 and 4-Continuing Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Apsara-Fiction by Jessie Johnson

Fiction by BP Editor, A. M. Stickel




By A.M. Stickel, BP Editor


A meeting with Elohim



At the end of Mass, the whole school, 1st through 8th grade, knelt to pray: “Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Protect us against the wicked snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. Oh, Prince of the heavenly host, please, by the power of God, cast into hell all evil spirits wandering the world seeking to ruin souls. Amen.”

Having been told by their teachers that the devil was watching from the clock in the rear of the church, the children never dared to check. All eyes focused on the winged soldier holding a sword aloft, who stood guard to the left of the virgin and child. Not objects of worship, the statues were reminders to address unseen holy entities with appropriate reverence. Beeswax votive candles in red or white glass holders flickered in front of the statues, lit by parishioners to honor the dead or for prayer intentions.

If little Agnes squinted her eyes just right, she was sure the archangel’s wings moved the tiniest bit. In the slanting rays shining through one stained glass window, briefly, his halo glowed golden and his sword flashed silver. Then, Ah-Choo! A whiff of incense broke her concentration.

Next to Agnes, chubby Helen Grace whispered, “Ble-shoe!”

Over on the boys’ side of the church, in front of the statue of St. Joseph holding a lily, Agnes heard the snorts of a few of them trying not to giggle. The girls didn’t let their eyes drift right to the shuffling boys.

WHAP! Mother Cecilia’s ruler hit the back pew, and the boys quieted.

The nun’s clicker signaled the group to rise, leave their pews, and process down the center aisle, starting in the front with the youngest, each genuflecting as he or she exited. The students crossed the street to their school, Queen of Angels, and proceeded with their day.


That night, after dinner with her mom, dad, and two younger brothers, Petie and Paulie, Agnes hurried through her bath and tooth-brushing. Dressed in her best pink nightgown, she could hardly wait for the bedtime prayer to her guardian angel. This time she added a request for a visit with St. Michael. She had questions…

“Hello, Agnes!” said a voice with a smile in it.

The little girl found herself face to face with the mighty warrior of God. He wasn’t holding a sword or wearing armor, just a long white robe. They were standing among yellow flowers and lush green grass under a clear blue sky. A hilltop park like many Agnes had played in, it even had swings. The next thing she knew she was sitting on one, her bare feet tickled by grass.

As Agnes breathed in clean, fresh air, “Would you like me to push you?” asked the angel, his wings folded.

“Please…just one, and then I’ll—”

A flutter of angel wings, and Agnes flew up in the air, her stomach going elevator-light. She whooped as she came down and pumped her legs to keep herself going. Finally, tired, she jumped off and rolled in the soft grass.

“Let’s roll all the way down the hill,” suggested Michael, tucking his wings around him.

“How did you know that’s my second-best favorite thing to do?” said Agnes.

“Knowing that is part of my job,” answered Michael, grinning. “When we get to the bottom of the hill, you can ask me anything.”

Soon they were lying laughing on the grass at the bottom of the hill next to a rippling stream. Agnes felt thirsty.

“Go ahead and drink!” Michael dipped his hand in and slurped water.

Agnes crawled over and scooped up and slurped water too. Then they splashed water on each other, and laughed at how fast they were dry again.

“Michael,” said Agnes, “angels can see God all the time and are much smarter than people, so why would some of them choose to leave Him?”

“Agnes, God gave us free will just like He gave you. Everyone with an intellect can choose for themselves. As you grow, you will have to decide for or against God. You will make mistakes. When you do, you may begin to understand how even an angel might turn away from the Light.”

“What was the devil’s job as an angel in heaven before he became a fallen angel?” asked Agnes.

“Being beautiful… Humans once called him Lucifer, meaning ‘Light Bearer’ or ‘Light Bringer’.”

“Is that because, when the Fallen One tempted us to turn away, Jesus became the Light to lead us home?”

“Yes, it is an example of how God turns mistakes like pride and jealousy around,” Michael winked.

“What about the name, Satan?”

“That’s the official who wants to convince the judge that someone on trial is guilty, and must suffer for it. Another word for that adversary is prosecutor.”

“It sounds a lot like persecutor. But…what official stands up for us in heaven’s court?”

“The one who advocates for the party on trial is the paraclete—in heaven’s court, the Holy Spirit.”

Agnes lay back on the grass and looked up at the now cloudy sky and sighed, “I do naughty things almost every day, even though I know deep in my heart it hurts God’s feelings. Afterwards I’m always sorry, though.”

“The weight of guilt is unbearable. Only God in the Person of Jesus is strong enough to bear it. It is by His strength that I stand against evil and guard the gates to Paradise, my lamb.”

“Didn’t it make you sad to drive us out?”

“Not when I could see Jesus waiting for you—His sheep and lambs—with open arms.”

“I wish I could see Him!”

Then Agnes felt herself suddenly lifted up, and knew Whose lap she was sitting in under a shady tree back at the top of the hill. The lamb’s visit with Michael was over, her waking in her Shepherd’s care pleasant.


The End

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