First, it’s helpful to know that angels are always around us. They are more than present; they surround us like an invisible vaporous mist of God’s light. So first, put yourself in a beautiful place. It can be outside amidst nature or near a lovely picture or gentle art object. Look for unique spots indoors and outdoors where the energy is simply beautiful, loving, and conducive to opening your heart. Breathe deeply and relax. Then imagine yourself surrounded by an angelic vapor of love, peace, and purity. Enveloped in this mist, you can open your arms like a bird or a young child, letting go, and go into that soft light surrounding you. Breathe deeply; this is the first step of calling your angels for help. They already surround you, but now you will allow yourself to relax into that embrace and receive more of it.
Consciously ask your angel friends to be with you at this time. And just as some people have a favorite song, plant, or songbird, you might have a favorite angel or group of angels with whom to work. For example, I love Archangel Zadkiel and his angels because their energy is so pure and clear that I feel it immediately when they are around. So for you, it’s the Archangels Michael and Raphael, your guardian angel, or all the angels. When you pray, you might ask them to be with you and help you.
When we consciously invite the angels into our lives, they join us, working with us in whatever way we wish. For example, an ancient legend tells of a man who got his donkey back from the devil this way:
The man had a donkey that the devil desperately wanted, and he kept offering to buy it from him, but the owner always said no. Finally, the devil offered to trade any animal from his lot for the donkey. The man agreed but knew he wanted the best deal, so he asked for some time to choose. The devil agreed, giving the man time to choose or lose his donkey and the devil’s animal. He went home and thought about it. He would not trade the donkey for some other animal without losing money instead of gaining, so he decided to ask God for help. He went out into his field and prayed, “Dear Lord, I must make this deal by tomorrow or else lose both my donkey and the devil’s animal. Please send me an animal to trade, but it must be one that I can make a profit on.”
The next day, God sent him an angel with a plan: “I have just the perfect deal for you,” the angel said. The man marveled at how thoughtful God was to send him such good help, and without another thought, he heard himself saying, “Yes!” Then he started thinking how crazy it was to trust the devil’s word. He ran after the angel and said, “But wait… I can’t make this deal. Don’t you understand? I only need help because I’m asking for an animal I know is worthless—the thing I’m trading away.”
The angel smiled and said, “Trust me. You will be fine.” The man was still very suspicious, but he had made his deal with God and honored it. He knew that the devil would make good on his end of the agreement no matter what, so he agreed to trust God and the angel for this one. The devil came, and they traded the donkey for a rooster with beautiful plumage and a long, shimmering tail. The man didn’t know what to think, but he thanked God and went on his way.
The man took the rooster home and put him in a special pen he had made just for him. He fed the rooster and enjoyed watching it strut about, sure that this was a much better trade than he had expected. But time passed, and nothing happened; the rooster only crowd, never to lay an egg or do anything but look beautiful in his pen. The man started to get worried again—was God playing a trick on him?
This is where the devil comes in. He returned to collect his end of the bargain and saw that the man was unhappy. “What’s wrong?” he asked, knowing what had happened. The man grumbled a bit about how the rooster just stood around all day and didn’t eat anything or do anything useful. The devil became very excited because he knew that his plan was working—the man had traded something that looked valuable for something that seemed worthless, just as the angel had warned.
So the devil offered to return the rooster and give him another animal in return, but it would be one of his choosing this time. The man thought about it for a moment and realized that the devil would trick him again, but he also knew there was no way out. So he agreed.
The devil led him into his stable, where there were many fine animals, but they all had one thing in common—they were all donkeys! The man laughed about how clever the devil was, and then he remembered that God would see him through this. The devil laughed and took the rooster back, wishing him well with his donkey collection.
The man went home, relieved of the rooster but more puzzled than ever about what had happened. Eventually, he asked God for another animal to trade for something else. He went to the field where he had prayed before and said, “Lord, I’m still not sure what happened, but I’m ready for another animal.”
When God didn’t answer him right away, he became worried again. What if this was some test? He sat and waited and prayed some more, and when God finally did speak, he said, “Dear friend, you still don’t understand the value of what I’ve given you. You traded a rooster for a donkey—a bird known for singing and strutting for an animal in fields. Don’t you know that your angel was with you all along and that if the devil came a second time to fool you a third time, your angel would have taught you more?”
The man went home again and thought about what God had said. He started going out more frequently to pray in his field so he could ask for another animal. While praying, he heard a noise in the bushes that made him jump—it sounded almost like a human being. He decided that it must have been an animal and stayed there for a while longer. When the sound came again, the man quietly searched to see if he could find its source but still saw nothing.
The third time it happened, the man left his prayer and slowly crept up on the noise source. As he approached, he realized it was a rooster just like his own—the one he had traded to the devil in exchange for the donkey. The rooster looked at him and said, “You still haven’t figured out what I’m worth, have you?”
The man didn’t know what to say, but the rooster continued. “You traded me for a donkey who carries heavy things all day long—a strong and stubborn animal that serves its master well, but not as beautifully as I do! You traded me for a donkey, and yet I’m the one who hears the angels sing!”
The man smiled and shook his head in admiration. “Yes, you’re right. I didn’t hear the angels when I traded away my rooster—but you did hear them, didn’t you?” The rooster cocked its head to one side and looked at the man quizzically. “I hear the angels every time you crow,” said the man.
As today’s story illustrates, angels are everywhere—sometimes even in unexpected places. Angels are most often found where people are open to finding them. All kinds of angels surround us throughout our daily lives—people and beings of love and light who want to help us on our journeys: family members, teachers, friends, co-workers, strangers, and more. Even animals can be angels or bring messages from the other side.