“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2
What does it mean to entertain angels? Despite the title of this post, I cannot guarantee a satisfactory answer to this question. These next few paragraphs simply seek to provide a brief glance into what can come about when one is open to the whisperings of the non-corporeal finite pure spirits which God in His infinite goodness has specifically assigned to His children as guardians, protectors, and guides from the very beginning. In short, where does an angel take you when it comes to visit?
Angels, though beyond the comprehension of our minds, are very real beings. As Catholics we believe this on faith. Nevertheless, many have some form of experience on which to base this as well. Be it a car accident narrowly avoided, the feeling of being protected by a heavenly power, or a simple star that gives comfort in the face of loneliness, many are not limited to depictions of chubby cherubim when considering their heavenly protector and guide. Yet, such moments are like road signs, they let you know you are on the right path and give you a marker to remember, but the final map will not be laid out until you and your angel stand in God’s Throne room together in eternal life.
What does this have to do with hospitality, you might be asking? If our angels are road signs, what need is there for companions – particularly companions we have never met before and likely will never meet again – on the journey? Here perhaps a short story will help. A few days ago I was rushing around at work with my head in the clouds and my feet barely touching the floor. No, I was not floating away on a song or some poetry, I was attempting to serve the pilgrims at the local Basilica, counting down the minutes until lunch time, and meditating on what a crazy idea it had been to wear high heels. In the thick of this all a man appeared at my side – I say appeared only because there were so many people bustling around it was impossible to see across the room – and with him was a weeping child. From what I gathered in twelve seconds the child was lost. Through his tears I discovered what group he belonged to, and recalling that his pilgrimage was to begin their celebration of the Divine Liturgy at any moment, I quickly hustled him up to the Church. Side by side we pressed to the elevators, ascended to the top floor, rushed across the platform, and entered the church just in time for the deacon to start swinging the censer and the choir to begin. The boy quickly found his parents and I rushed down to my job. When my lunch finally came I walked back up to the basilica church and sat in on the Divine Liturgy to do some good hard thinking (after all the homily was in Ukrainian), thinking I have not quite finished. Who was the little boy? No one in particular. He did not vanish into thin air back to the heavenly courts. I saw him changing pews during the Offertory so he could sit with his young friends. Yet, like the angels, he lead me on a journey, one that began in my footsore selfish self and ended in the presence of God at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. From there it was my choice whether to go back or to stay and rest awhile.
When entertaining angels it does not matter who they are but where you let them lead you.
- Grace Marie Urlakis