In Search Of Angels Among Us
By Maryel McKinley-Udiljak C.D.C.



Are there angels among us? What exactly are angels?
The word angel comes from the Greek angelos which means: a messenger from God. When we think of angels many images come to mind. Most are reminded of angels described by various religions. The most popular being the four archangels of Judo/Christian lore: Uriel the angel of retribution, who rules the south and whose name means light of God; Rafael the angel of providence, ruler of the west, whose name means Divine Healer; Michael the warrior angel, ruler of the east whose name means Looks like God; and Gabriel the messenger angel, ruler of the north whose name means Hero of God.

However, our idea of angels is not limited to the religious or the metaphysical. For instance, how many times have you looked at a baby or even your own child and said "Oh, what a little angel!" Or, to your mate "You are my angel" or to a caring friend or helping stranger in the time of need "You are an angel in disguise." This article will explore the search for the meaning of the various angels among us.

"Every visible thing in this world is put in the charge of an Angel." ‹ St. Augustine

Divine Intervention During a Fire
I believe there were angels watching over my son and me in 1987 during a tragic fire in my New York apartment. The night of the fire, I just happened to be sleeping in the back bedroom with my 13-month-old baby. At 4:00 a.m. a fire erupted in the front of the apartment, saturating the hallway to the front door and traveling into the bedroom towards the fire escape.

We were awakened by the sound of the fire. I grabbed my baby in my arms and prayed "Dear God, do we go out the fire escape or do we go through the flames out the front door?" At that moment a calm wave of peace came over me and I received a divine message that said to me "Go through the flames".

With complete trust that this was the right thing to do, and against all logic, we escaped down the hallway through an 8-foot wall of flames to get out the front door. Miraculously, not a hair on our heads was burned. I reached for the scalding hot front door handle and my flesh remained untouched by the heat. The fire department later told me that if we had gone out the fire escape my baby would not have survived and I might not have either as the flames came through that window like a fire breathing dragon. Furthermore, they said it was impossible that we escaped through the burning building without some sort of injury.

A divine intervention of some kind such as angels are the only possible explanation, because we remained unscathed by fire and protected by an invisible force.

Comforted By An Angel While Incarcerated
Here is the true story of Eduard, who had an equally unexplainable experience while incarcerated. At a young vulnerable age he was put in jail for a misdemeanor offense. He was very frightened and did not know what to expect. Eduard was extremely ill, withdrawing from heroin, and intimidated by the other inmates as he was a minority race in this particular cell.

Suddenly a man approached him and Eduard looked up in fear. As the man handed him a small black book he said "Read this, don't worry, everything is going to be O.K." Eduard asked the man his name. The stranger said "I am Rafael."

Eduard looked down at the book and saw that it contained the psalms and proverbs from the bible. Grateful, Eduard looked up to thank Raphael, but Rafael had disappeared. In spite of his former fear and illness, Eduard immediately jumped up off his cot and tried to find the mysterious man, but he was gone! Eduard never again saw the man who provided so much comfort at that moment.

Amazingly, this kind man named Rafael had simply vanished from a locked cell. At first Eduard thought it was just a hallucination of some sort from his withdrawal symptoms. But to this day, in times of stress, Eduard still clutches the small book of proverbs/psalms that continues to give him so much comfort, as it has since the day Rafael gave it to him in jail. Could this have been Raphael the healing angel?

"Yet angels are our fellow servants and our fellow workers and they carefully watch over and defend even the humblest of us."
                                                - Cardinal Newman

After my experience with the fire I started an angel collection because they are so cute, innocent and aesthetic to the eye and spirit. My husband and I even had an angel theme at our wedding.

However, the angels that I cherish the most are those who have touched my soul to unfathomable depths. If you're reading this you'll know who you are. You are people who give to your fellow man without seeking anything in return. These special angels may manifest as our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our neighbors, the bank teller, a stranger passing by, members of our support group, all the people who donate their time to volunteer work, etc. They always seem to be there on perfect cue to offer a kind word or prayer when in the time of need ‹ a smile, a touch, a selfless gesture when least expected. My gratitude pours out to you. You people are a living prayer.

"It is very important to pray for others, because when you pray for someone, an angel goes and sits on the shoulder of that person."
                - The Virgin Mary to the children at Medjugorje

Searching for the Angel Within
Could it be that our age-old fascination with angels is really a fascination with the greater side of our spiritually evolving species in search of expressing the good within? Of becoming messengers of Love, contributing to life rather than taking from it, raising our consciousness toward the light in us all?

We will always be delighted with angels ‹ whether they be new additions to our angel collections, seeing the angelic qualities in others or pondering the mysteries of ethereal angel experiences. But of more importance to angel lovers is to aspire to be more angel-like (angelic) from within ourselves. This way we can gratefully give back to the Higher Power by being of service to His children.

The question is this:
"Is man an ape or an angel? Now I am on the side of the angels"
                                - Disraeli

Each and every day we have a choice. We can make a conscious decision to choose to be more angelic, thus empowering the human species by spreading our wings and unfolding our hearts as we receive the Infinite Power of Unconditional Love. It is in serving this greater purpose we experience the magic of life.

When we realize that what we are searching for cannot be found in the external world, we know a new serenity and peace. Whether we choose to be like angels or apes, it is only when we embrace and truly accept that we are all God's creatures that our hearts will sing and our spirits will soar.

So let's not be afraid to open our hearts to each other with love and forgiveness so we might unfold our wings and learn to fly with the heavens' messengers. Then we will have found the angels among us and within us.

Maryel McKinley-Udiljak C.D.C. a published writer, is a certified chemical dependency counselor, founder of the Wings of Life Foundation, serves as a Vice President Board of Directors for Yellowstone Women's Detox, and facilitates group/individual counseling sessions at A.O.D.D. She can be reached at (714) 396-4314 or

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