Angels, prematurity, and mercy

Take a moment and let’s play Blue’s Clues: What could Blue (or Philangelus) be trying to get at with angels, prematurity, and mercy? Take a moment and go sit in the Thinking chair to Think, Think, Think. I’ll wait.

Okay, time’s up. These are some midnight thoughts (courtesy of day-residue) that kept making a lot of sense in the morning.

About three years ago, I read an article comparing human infants to animal infants, which are born much more competent. Most animal infants can get around in a couple of days and feed themselves in a few weeks. Human infants, by contrast, need to be carried, fed, and completely nurtured for a year at the minimum.

The problem is intelligence, or the size of the brain. Human women need a fixed bony pelvis in order to walk upright, but they need to be able to survive giving birth. In order to be as “competent” as infant animals, you see, infant humans would be born at 27 months gestation, and most women can’t deliver the skull of an 18 month old toddler. The biological solution is that, in effect, every human being is born premature.

Now, what could Blue want with angels? Yesterday I read a statement to the effect that (according to Tradition and the Catholic Church) angels received no second chance after the Fall because they understood God far more perfectly than even the most perfect human saint. Their knowledge and understanding is such that when they chose (either God or Self) they did it knowing exactly what they were doing and what would be the consequences. Hence, no second chance. It’s God’s way of saying, “Made. Bed. Lie.”

Now let’s bring in mercy: human beings are recipients of God’s mercy whereas fallen angels aren’t, and it makes no sense because we’re certainly more sinful and we repeat our errors more times than we can count. Judaism compares God’s chosen people to prostitutes, and in Christianity, we as a race killed the Son of God for the crime of showing us love.

What can Blue do with angels and mercy? Not much. But then you throw in the prematurity aspect: human souls are spiritually premature. Like a premature infant, we need to be kept warm, carried, have nourishment put into us… Spiritually, we can’t “do for ourselves” as we’d like. Like a three month old infant, we want to grab something and can’t make our hands work. We “find” our feet and for months it’s the coolest thing to suck on toes (spiritually speaking.) Our vision isn’t all that good beyond about eight inches. We don’t know the language, and even when we begin to “get” it, we babble and can’t produce coherent words, let alone sentences.

I’m hoping for our sakes that this also means that in the eyes of God and our guardian angels, we’re unbearably cute and provoke feelings of nurturing.

And just the way you’d have an easier time “forgiving” your three year old than your 35 year old husband for carrying a bottle of syrup in the living room and dumping it on the carpet, God probably sees that in most ways, we really kind of need mercy because we just don’t get it.

Not that we deserve it: the definition of mercy is that it’s not deserved, otherwise it would be justice. But maybe even doing the best we can, we’d be in trouble. That we’re only really “spiritually mature” and ready to be born when we die, face judgment, and are entered into Heaven.

Pat yourself on the back. We’ve just figured out Philangelus’ Clues because we’re really smart.

For those of you playing along at home, you can sing the “We Just Figured Out Blue’s Clues” song, but don’t do it if you’re at work or accessing this from the library. Really.


  1. Linda

    Thank you. I really needed to read this.

  2. philangelus

    Thank you for reading it. 🙂

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