In the book of Hebrews , 13:2, appears the verse “Don’t forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels…”
A few years ago a young woman travelling on Missouri Route 19, Katie Lentz, was in a terrible automobile accident, her car was crushed all around her and soon emergency workers were working against time to free her from the mangled wreckage.
It was taking too long to complete the rescue. The emergency workers knew that time was of the essence. Katie was getting much weaker and they knew they might have only a matter of minutes to complete their work.
They prepared to take the risk of setting the car back upright so that they would have a better chance of success.
Then Katie, who was aware of her weakening condition from her multiple injuries, asked if someone would pray with her, out loud. Someone came forward and said “I will.” Those who looked to see who spoke saw a man dressed in clerical black and with a priest’s collar. He had white hair and was around six foot tall. He had a container of holy oil and anointed Katie and several of the workers as he prayed.
Katie grew stronger with the comfort of the prayer and soon, with the help of additional rescuers, she was free of the wreckage and able to be air-lifted to a hospital. The exhausted workers turned to the priest to thank him for his inspiration, but he was nowhere to be seen, The road had been cordoned off far from the crash site but no one could be seen along it in either direction. Close to seventy pictures were taken of the rescue effort. But he did not appear in any of them.
Many believed an Angel had appeared. Some a traveling priest who preferred anonymity at such a time. One thing is certain; This was a miracle of the best and clearest sort. No sooner had Katie declared her need for that prayer, then he appeared. When he had done what was needed he quietly vanished. (I must add here that a bit later the news informed us it was a living priest, A Father Dowling, who was such a miraculous instrument, but the ending of my article I still hold to more than ever…)
By the anonymity that father Dowling kept that week we were able to test our faith. We were equally comfortable with the thought of an Angelic manifestation or an inspired priest. As the local fire chief said of those choices we were “good with it” either way.
I can’t tell those of you who read my column how happy I am to retell such a story of inspiration so important to this season and for our troubled times. Something that helps restore our daily faith in our direct connection to our creator. It is truly the “good news” that will lead us out of this “slough of despond” in which we so often find ourselves. It shows us that the strength is here to renew the world and not just have to let the wrongness go by with no hope of transformation.
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