Touched by an 'Angel'?

By Mark Endres (Aug. 6, 2018)
Three weeks ago, I was camping in Wisconsin Dells, the "Water Capital of the World," a famous tourist area in southern Wisconsin that attracts some 3 million visitors each year.

I had just pulled into a parking lot to check my smart phone using a local coffee shop wi-fi. I have a "Jesus, I Trust in You" magnet on the back of my van. Over the years, usually in grocery store parking lots, people have walked up to me to inquire how to get one for their vehicles. I usually have a couple extras with me and am happy to give them away. This time, the encounter was different.

I was just about to leave when a man walked up to my driver side window. It startled me because I didn't see him approaching.

His English was difficult to understand. He asked, "Are you from the area?" I said no, but that I had live there as a young boy 40 years ago.

He said he and his three companions were looking for a budget hotel and wanted to know if I knew of any hotel that was more affordable, because they did not have much money. It is not unusual to spend $200 or more for a hotel room in the Dells. I figured he had seen my Divine Mercy Image on the back of my van and felt comfortable approaching me.

I was still somewhat startled as I tried to answer his question. Like most, to have a stranger walk up to you while sitting in your car, it is easy to be startled and somewhat scared in this day and age - shootings, violence, etc.

After a moment, I said, "Yes, there is a budget hotel that I knew of called Angels Getaway." It was about five miles down the highway, and I pointed to the intersection and gave him directions.

Then I said, "Why don't I look up the hotel." So I did on my phone, and I called the hotel. The stranger seemed to be pleased with my extra efforts to find lodging for him and his friends. Turns out the hotel had two rooms available for $68, including tax. I asked the clerk to hold the two rooms, and that they (my new stranger friend) would be there in just a few minutes.

My guest seemed to be very pleased. He then said, "Thank you." Then he said something that startled me, and I did not know how to respond. I kind of froze actually. He said "My name, too, is Angel. And you are a very special person."

I was startled. He simply walked away as I tried to digest what had just happened. It reminded me of the verse from Scripture: "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" (Heb 13:2).

It also reminded me of the quote from St. Faustina's Diary entry 1312:

Jesus came to the main entrance today, under the guise of a poor young man. This young man, emaciated, barefoot and bareheaded, and with his clothes in tatters, was frozen because the day was cold and rainy. He asked for something hot to eat. So I went to the kitchen, but found nothing there for the poor. But, after searching around for some time, I succeeded in finding some soup, which I reheated and into which I crumbled some bread, and I gave it to the poor young man, who ate it. As I was taking the bowl from him, he gave me to know that He was the Lord of heaven and earth. When I saw Him as He was, He vanished from my sight.

Later, she heard these words in her soul:

My daughter, the blessings of the poor who bless Me as they leave this gate have reached My ears. And your compassion, within the bounds of obedience, has pleased Me, and this is why I came down from My throne - to taste the fruits of your mercy. (Diary, 1312)

I tried to follow the man as he walked away, but it was difficult because of how the parking lot was designed. After a few moments, I was not longer able to see him. He, too, vanished from sight.

Was "Angel" heavenly sent, or just a stranger who needed help? Maybe he was both.

Mark Endres is a Marian Helper who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


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