The other day our monastery had a semi-regular visitor. I’d say the man visits every two to three months. I was relaxing, looking through some images for a possible new web page. It was peaceful, and nobody was bothering me. Looking out the window, I see this visitor. He is a wonderful man who, a few years ago, I ran into three times in our local town. We do have to go to town occasionally to get things, you know, like food! Angels might not need to eat, but I sure do! Each time I’d see him he would come and chat with me. I still remember the second time I met him, it was at, of all places, Hobby Lobby, while I was looking for a stand for an icon. He told me that since he saw me the time before he decided to start praying the Rosary and he wanted to know if that was good. It’s a great thing for him to be doing! Since then he has come to the monastery every so often either for one of our services or to just pray and talk. I’m usually thrilled when I see him.
Not this time!
I was being selfish and wanted my time to myself (as if it is really my time). My door was closed, both literally and figuratively, and I didn’t open it to go out to greet my guest. I was the anti-Abraham. Now that I look back at this situation I realize the irony.
“He (Abraham) lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass.
Abraham RAN! He bowed! He served! He was enthusiastic about welcoming visitors.
I cringed! I hid! I hoped that nobody came knocking on my door!
Sure enough, and thank our good God, someone knocked on my door! It was him. I remember thinking, ‘here we go, there goes MY free time.’ MY FREE TIME! How dare someone impedes on my time! Selfish me! About a minute into the conversation I finally perked up. It was good to have him here, and I was enjoying chatting. Something else changed. A strong peace and joy were now present. He looked at me and said, “I’m going to go into the chapel now and say hi to my friends.” After he had walked out, I sat back in the chair and had great peace and joy. Perhaps I’m crazy for this (I’m most definitely crazy for other reasons), but I thought to myself “I think I just entertained an angel.” In all sincerity, I thought that there was an angel present. I’m well aware that it seems crazy. You can see now how the anti-Abraham irony from earlier on fits into this story. I didn’t think about the full Abraham story of the angels, but I did remember the quote
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2.
That was that!
The next morning I went outside to get a bit of fresh air before matins. On my way out I glanced at our guest book. The guest signed the guestbook with his name and added ‘+ Angel.’
Now that is remarkable!
Maybe I’m crazy. God did provide something needed for me. He rebuked me for my lack of hospitality in a way that gave me a great consolation. He condescended to my weakness! What a God of STRENGTH!
All of this happened on the feast of the Annunciation! A feast where the Theotokos entertained an angel, Gabriel, who announced the incarnation of our God! The angel announced that God was condescending to our weakness and taking flesh! Our Lady, the Theotokos did not hide, and we magnify her for that!
We should all reflect on times when we haven’t shown hospitality that others. When we neglect others, we are missing out on something that God is trying to do for us since we are being ungrateful for the gift God has sent us in the person in front of us.
When have we neglected to show hospitality?
If we do show hospitality, do we run?
Let’s all try, myself first and foremost, to run to show hospitality to others. I mean who knows, maybe we could be entertaining angels!
Pray for me
I’ll pray for you