April 8, 2022

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Have you entertained angels on your earthly journey?

Kimberly Pohovey“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Heb 13:2).

I love this Scripture passage from the Letter to the Hebrews. Not only does it remind us to welcome the stranger, as Jesus commanded, but it also acknowledges the existence of angels.

Angels exist throughout Scripture. We understand Michael defends us in battle against the wickedness of the devil. Gabriel is the bearer of good news. And Raphael is the angel of healing, providing good mind, body and spiritual health.

St. John Chrysostom said that during the liturgy, angels surround the priest and the whole sanctuary is filled with angels honoring Christ, present in the Eucharist. He adds that we, though lowly, have been deemed worthy to join the powers of heaven in the worship of the Lord.

In the Guardian Angel prayer, we are promised that our guardian angel provides light, guardianship and guidance. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (#336).

While only three angels are mentioned by name in the Scriptures, according to religious history, there are several classes of angels—known as archangels, cherubim and seraphim—and we are taught that “myriad” angels exist. In Greek translation, myriad can mean 10,000 or an indefinite amount, leading us to believe there are more angels than we can comprehend.

I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of instances in my life when I felt the presence of an angel. Whenever I have nearly been in an accident, I have felt a presence of protection. When I have experienced great sorrow, frustration or fear, I have understood someone has appeared to provide the help I needed. When searching for guidance through prayer, I have often found the answer through someone’s words or deeds.

While these occurrences might not be classified as bonified angel encounters, I cannot help but think that God places angels on our path. I would like to think they sometimes take on the form of humans in order to minister to us.

Years ago, while driving to work in what can only be described as a monsoon, my car locked up as I exited an off-ramp. The storm’s high winds had blown branches all about, and a long one wrapped around one of my tires, preventing forward movement. Just as I wondered what I was going to do, a truck pulled up behind me and a very kind man got soaked as he surmised the situation.

With great effort, he was able to free the branch from my car. I asked if I could pay him for his assistance. He brushed off my offer, saying that he was happy he could help when I was in need. I profusely thanked him for his kindness and returned to my car.

I immediately looked in the rear-view mirror to see if he was going to pull out ahead of me. But there was nothing behind me. I whisked around to see if he was now beside me or perhaps pulled out in front of me, but again, I did not see him or his truck. It seemed he disappeared into thin air.

I remember this event as clear as it was yesterday. I was so moved that this generous man came to my rescue. More importantly, I can’t help but ponder if he was one of many angels I have entertained unawares.
 

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of major and planned gifts for the archdiocese.) †

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