Just how self-absorbed do you have to be, as a clergyman, to find proof of the divine in this godawful story?
Here’s the short version: A priest from the Archdiocese of Boston, Kevin Staley-Joyce, is on call in the middle of the night to give last rites to a dying person.
But he falls asleep, and his phone has somehow…
… involuntarily switched to silent mode.
When the call from the hospital comes, Staley-Joyce sleeps right through it. But wait! God is good! The drowsy padre wakes up all by himself about a minute later (it’s a miracle!), gets up for a drink of water, looks at his phone, sees the missed call, and speedily finds his way to the patient’s bedside.
How’s that for a happy ending?
Except for the dead body, of course.
On Twitter, Staley-Joyce, a Princeton alum, is deeply smitten with the grand mystery of arising early from his slumbers — as if waking thirsty or needing to pee in the middle of the night doesn’t happen to a billion people in any given 24-hour period. Nonetheless, he and the most mawkish of the Christian websites see his waking up as
… chilling, but so beautiful!
and as proof positive of
… the existence of guardian angels.
Recounting the story, and referring to his more or less punctual arrival, the priest concludes, satisfied,
Right. Again, except for the dead body.
And now I have questions.
1. If God is infinite, and infinitely powerful, why does He even need billions of guardian angels?
2. Why did the Almighty decide to manifest Himself by letting an angel wake up a priest, rather than by belatedly saving and curing the man He afflicted with a fatal medical condition? Wouldn’t the latter be far more impressive and joyous than the former?
3. Why didn’t the Forces of Go(o)d prevent the priest’s phone from “involuntarily switching to silent mode” in the first place?
4. Is Father Staley-Joyce aware that engaging silent mode, at least on an iPhone, switches off the ringer but will still vibrate the phone as well as light up the screen? How much more likely is it that those perfectly pedestrian alerts roused him from his sleep, rather than one of billions of benign ghosts working on behalf of an equally invisible Creator?