It was a cold February seventh, in the year 1980 A.D., when the boy was born.  The doctors bustled all around his mother in the operating room; totally oblivious to the presence of three uninvited visitors.

            If the doctors could have been aware of us, they would have stared in amazement.  All three of us were seven feet tall or more, wearing shimmering robes of purest white, like the snow outside in the cold starlight.  We floated in the air upon large feathered wings, each one shining like a diamond in the sun.  We were surrounded in white light, and it was casting its blessing on the proceedings below.

On my right was a stern, calculating angel named Gambiel.  He was somewhat shorter than I, for we archangels are more imposing than our brethren.  To the humans, however, he would have seemed quite tall, at approximately eight feet.  His hair, while as golden as mine, was kept cropped close to his skull, while I allowed mine to grow out and fall around my ears.  He watched every move the doctors made with a critical eye, yet seemed to approve of their methods.  Although I must admit that it was an approval that seemed to have been earned grudgingly.

            “These mortals have gained much skill in the medical arts.”  He spoke, his voice reminiscent of the bass notes of an organ.  The men and women below us heard nothing, however, as he continued, “Considering that they concentrate solely on treating the body and not upon the needs of the soul.”

            “Yes, Brother Gambiel.”  I agreed.  “They have indeed come far in the past century or so.  Surprisingly far.”

            “Why, Father?”  Mara asked tentatively from my left, the side closest to my heart, her proper place in my life.  She was far junior to even Gambiel, let alone my own almost princely status as an archangel.  She did not want to speak out of turn and perhaps be chastised for a breach in etiquette, yet her curiosity was almost always too powerful for her to ignore.

            “I have watched them for millennia, daughter, since Adam’s first steps in the grass of the Garden.  For most of the time since, progress was almost agonizingly slow.  This century, it seems, has seen more change and conflict than all the rest combined.  In a way, that is why we are here.”  I explained, conscious that she had not spent nearly enough time on the mortal plane and knew almost nothing of their different cultures and history. 

            “Why are we here, then, Raphael?”  Gambiel asked, clearly impatient.

            “We have been dispatched to watch this one,” I gestured at the newly birthed boy, cradled in his nearly exhausted mother’s arms.  I was as surprised as he was that we were here, but God had summoned us to His throne and then directed us to this place for this purpose after a few private words with me.  “All mortals are watched by angels in Heaven, and we guard them while the Holy Spirit moves and directs them.  Such is how the will of God is active on this plane.”

            “Yes, yes, I know this.  I watch him, as I do all children born this day.  You are his guardian angel, given the additional duty of being his protector while I simply record his life for the Library, but you, again, do that for all children birthed today.  I ask again, why are we here, overseeing his birth?  Why the three of us?”  The emphasis Gambiel placed on this last question, and the brief glance he took of Mara, made it clear that, more than our presence, he was questioning hers in particular.

            “He is special.”  I answered, smiling at the tiny infant, who weighed only seven pounds and seven ounces, according to the nurse currently weighing him on a scale.  “Very special.  He is an Aquarius, you know, or so the mortals call the formation of these stars that are in ascension.”

            The night sky was suddenly before us as I gestured, a breathtaking blanket of glittering dark that covered the sky as the world beneath it slept.  I drew their attention to the constellation that dominated this time of year, tracing its path in the sky with my hand.

            “They have names for what the sign means.  Water-bearer, sign of the genius, but most important is one of its lesser known names, that of ‘the Sign of the Son of Man.’ And this day within the time of that constellation’s ascension is dominated by that star,” I pointed at a particular bright point of light as I spoke, “That particular star is called Sa’ad al Su’ud, the star of hope.  It will dominate his life, giving him light through his darkest nights.  He will need it.”

            “Why, Father?”  Mara asked again.

            “Because, my daughter, he has been marked by the Lord.”  I said solemnly.  I gestured at the boy.  “Look at his left leg.”

            She floated down among the doctors, secure in her invisibility, and took in every detail of the tiny baby.   His eyes were an icy blue, sharp and clear, although, of course, most babies have blue eyes when they are born.  That might well change as time passed.  He had a beautiful, if toothless, smile.  She moved past these features and on towards the leg.  She saw upon it a birthmark, on the front of the ankle, oval shaped and brown against his pale white skin.

            “What is it?  What does it mean?”

            “It is God’s thumbprint, so to speak.  His mark, showing the boy has been chosen.  Just as you are chosen, Mara, the boy is special in God’s plans.”

            “Chosen?  The Lord has often told me that I am special, but for what purpose, exactly?  What is it that I have been chosen for?”

            “Gambiel and I will watch and guard the child, but you are meant to travel with him through life.  So God has spoken, so shall it be done.  I believe that this is the task He promised you so long ago, the special part you play in His plans.  Only time will tell as to why you are so chosen, what it is you are supposed to do, but that task begins, finally, here, today.”

            “Me?”  She asked, looking from the tiny baby now in his crèche to me and Gambiel.

            “Yes.  He is yours, and you are his.  Watch over him, guide him in the ways of the Lord as I and Jeremiah and Enoch tried to guide you.”  I smiled again as I watched her gaze again upon the tiny babe as he began to drift towards sleep.  I knew that Mara had always desperately wanted to be near children, ever since she had been one, and I knew that this task pleased her.  She was probably already imagining how she could be a surrogate spiritual mother, raising the child invisibly alongside his earthly one.

            “Me?”  She asked again, obviously pleased, but her tone indicated that she was wondering why, as if this were some dream that she was about to awaken from. “Why me?”

            “It has been decided.”  I gazed upwards, so she would remember by whom.  “You have been trapped between two worlds, my child, as a child of an angel and a human.  You are both more and less than your parentage.  Through spending time on this plane, with an earthly child, you will experience that side of yourself, the side your mother blessed you with, in a way that was impossible in Heaven.  Once you understand both halves of yourself, perhaps then the dichotomy shall end.  He is your chance to be whole, ending the division within your soul.”

            “The Lord guides all His children,” Gambiel said, speaking again after a long silence, “That is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the world.  Why does she need to be here, guiding him as well?  And why you and me to watch, Raphael?”

            “You are the patron angel of medicine, my brother.  I am known by a name that means ‘God Heals.’  Perhaps this is why we are here, to inspire the child to be a healer.  I am not entirely sure, as even we archangels do not fully know the mind and will of our Lord and Father.  All I know is that this time in human history is somehow vitally important, and so is he, and we are present in his life for some reason, even if I do not know what that reason is, exactly.  The Lord does, and that is enough.”

            I did not expect my answer to fully satisfy Gambiel.  It did not fully satisfy me, what with its ambiguity.  Faith in the Plan would have to suffice, for I had no other answers to give.

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