Today I met another angel. He came and he went, not so unnoticed, for he was very noticed, but he passed by our way in such a way as will be talked about for days and weeks to come. I say another angel for I met one several years ago that brought me comfort at a time when I thought all comfort was nowhere to be found.
Children often ask me if I believe in angels. We had this conversation yesterday, as a matter of fact, being it was the Feast of The Archangels. I tell them yes indeed I do and then point them in the direction of their guardian angels and St. Michael. They are fascinated by the stories of the angels, especially when told from a first hand perspective as evidenced in the book, All About the Angels. Makes me wish the show Touched by an Angel was still on the air, even though it was Hollywood, it had a wonderful message that kids can relate to.
Today a simple man wandered in to our Adoration Chapel and knelt down in prayer. Sounds ordinary, right! Wrong! This simple man was dressed too simply in long white linen robe (alb), no shoes, and was carrying a bible and blanket. He had long hair, drove no car, no bike, walked from we did not know where. It was reported upon entering the Chapel he showed such reverence before the Blessed Sacrament, the ladies in the Chapel were dumbstruck, ran out of the Chapel and went straight to the parish office to inquire if anyone knew of a play going on in the area. What ensued throughout the remainder of the day one can only imagine.
By the time I met this man, he was surrounded by any number of people, being interviewed by the local newspaper and explaining to a small group of children that Jesus loved them very much. I offered him some lunch provided by our school cafeteria, hey you never know. It wasn't going to be said we did not feed Him when He was hungry, if you know what I mean. He sat and visited with several of our office staff and explained his ministry.
He said he was a disciple of Jesus, following Jesus as the early disciples did. He left all he had behind him and went out to evangelize the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. He relied on the gifts of strangers for food and lodging and was on his way to Rome to appeal to the Pope for permission to start an order for his mission. He had been traveling in this way for fifteen years. He prayed with us and for us, as we did him in return. When he left us, he walked barefoot in the direction of a new destination. He touched us and our parish. For the rest of the afternoon, he was all we spoke about. For this moment in our lives we talked about God sending us this "angel", how he looked like Jesus, his spirituality and gentleness. I am still amazed by how this man transformed our parish with his simpleness. He did no miracles, nothing extraordinary, he was just there in our lives for a brief time.
This amazes me because people do these same things everyday. People are kind, they spend time in Adoration and pray everyday. What touched us? He dressed differently and some people wondered if he wasn't crazy. There were skeptics who thought we should send him on his way, but for the most part there was an excitement in the air. Questions were asked, "have you seen 'him'?" I mean who walks around barefoot, on concrete, for crying out loud. We found out later there is a website depicting his story in documentary form at www.jesusguy.com, but at the time we had no idea who he was or where he came from. It was shared with us that a woman who encountered him in the Chapel was overwhelmed with his presence and she broke down and wept, not from fear but from joy. She had been praying to God for guidance and help in some way and in walks this man straight out of the Bible. You can't make this stuff up. This is how our day went, sharing stories of miracles in our lives and how this man resurrected some feelings that gave hope to some that had lost hope for various reasons.
I wonder why it took this special instance to awaken a joyfulness in us that has been lacking for awhile. We only have to look at the Blessed Sacrament this man was worshiping to feel a joy like no other. We only need to reverently receive Jesus, the Body of Christ into our bodies to experience the wonders of God's grace and all that this grace promises for a life everlasting. Our society has made us so cynical and skeptical we find it difficult to trust in the gifts God gives to us. Be it Jesus in the Sacraments or an angel coming to share God's peace, we need to believe in the love God has for us and to accept the graces given to us no matter the form. Go be an angel for someone today!