The Imitation of Mary, by Abbe Alexander de Rouville. No sooner had the incomparable Imitation of Christ appeared than the faithful began to spontaneously wish for an imitation of Our Lady, and finally, in 1768, a monk pulled together a little powerhouse of meditation on the different mysteries and circumstances of her life, from the Immaculate Conception to her Assumption into Heaven! Click here



Often, we hear accounts of mysterious strangers -- those cases where a stranger (in some cases a dynamic and unusually handsome young man) appears out of nowhere to help a person in distress (or actual danger). Sometimes there is more than one. They may suddenly appear when a woman is struggling with a flat tire -- or when firemen are struggling with a house fire. They may appear when someone is searching for a job. They have been known to appear at Mass.

We recall a friend who was out of work and searching for a job in midtown Manhattan. There he encountered a street panhandler who was looking for money -- and though this friend was unemployed and wary of beggars, he gave the man $10.

Days later -- and eight miles away, in another part of Manhattan -- he was coming out of another job interview and he spotted the very same beggar (he ended up landing the new job, as if a payback). A coincidence? There are eight million people in New York -- and millions more during the actual workday. Angels, it seems, roam even the concrete canyons of the nation's largest city. At holy times of the year, they are especially near to us.

Further testimony comes from a viewer named Bob Darry:

"Back in the early 1960s, I was in New York City. At the time I was a sailor and there to meet a ship I was to work on. 

"Having some time on my hands, I decided to walk near the dock area of Manhattan," he writes. "As I was walking, a man came up to me and said that he was hungry and hadn't had anything to eat in a couple of days. He was of average height, slim, but rather neat and reasonably clean. He wanted to know if I could spare a few dollars. 

"Since many of those who panhandle money use it for alcohol or drugs, I refused to give it to him but told him that if he were hungry, I would buy him a meal. He agreed. We walked along and found a small restaurant, so we went in and I told the man he could order whatever he wished for a meal. We both ordered our meals and sat at a table to eat. 

"The man was quiet, but I asked him about places in New York City since it wasn't my home town. He answered my questions with brief responses but never seemed to volunteer information unless asked. When we finished eating, I went to the counter to pay for the meals and he followed, standing by quietly. 

"When I finished paying, he thanked me and we went to the front door, which was a revolving one, and he went ahead of me. 

"I followed behind him closely to the outside. 

"As I got to the sidewalk, I was about to wish him well and he was nowhere to be seen. There was simply no way he could have gotten out of sight that fast and the street wasn't very crowded. Puzzled, I looked every which way but he had vanished. 

"A few months later, I had occasion to be talking with my grandmother and related the incident to her. She smiled as she listened to the tale and then said that it was possible I had an encounter with an angel who was testing me for whatever reason -- possibly to see if I would be charitable. 

"Since that time I have always wondered if maybe grandmother was right. I am positive that the man could not have gotten out of sight that fast and without being seen on the street if he had simply walked away. Maybe angels do use human form to test us from time to time. Anyway, it has always been a source of wonder to me."

The answer is in Hebrews 13:2:

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

[resources: Guardian Angels Our Heavenly Companions, In the Arms of Angels, and The Trumpet of Gabriel]

[see also: Angels among us]

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