We all want to be special. We all want to experience being respected and valued and loved. It’s great when you walk into a room and someone comes over to greet you… “hey Dave, glad to see you…how are you doing…can I get you something…”.
Years ago, my mother said that I was the apple of my father’s eye (don’t tell my brothers and sister). I was also called the “surprise package” because I came 6 years after my next oldest brother and was “unplanned” …… except by God.
The psalmist says, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of thy wings.” (Ps. 17:8) It’s such a feeling of peace and security when you realize that God has his eye on you, that he is watching over you, guarding you, looking out for you…… like a mother watching out for her young child. “He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.”(Deut. 32:10)
We know God has assigned angels to watch over us. The Catechism speaks about the angels in the life of the Church, saying “the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels .…. from its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 334-336)
We are never alone, even when it seems that we are alone. We can be in an empty room, but we are not alone because God is with us. We might hear that “Mr. Smith or Mrs. Jones died alone”… but they really didn’t, because God was there, along with the angels and saints. If we’ve uttered one Hail Mary, we know that the Blessed Mother is praying for us “at the hour of our death”. At the bedside of a dying person, it seems there’s a moment when their attention and gaze shifts from the visible loved ones in the room to the invisible loved ones from heaven… the moment when God takes center stage…. when God comes to focus on the “apple of his eye”…. when God comes to take his beloved son or daughter home.
In the prayer of commendation at a Catholic funeral, you will hear “May you return to your Creator who formed you from the dust of the earth. May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life, and may you see your Redeemer face to face”. You would expect nothing less from God who takes care of “the apple of his eye”. We are the apple of God’s eye….. and that is very good news.