Whilst I was writing this for Michaelmas, Chris, a Pilgrim from Poland on his way to Ireland called to ask for hospitality…
Entertaining Angels is the title of the 1996 film about Dorothy Day founder of the Catholic worker movement and 1920’s and 1930’s social activist. It can be regarded that what she did, sometimes single-handedly, always controversially, in her fight against social injustice would, indeed, be wonderful entertainment for angels.
It could mean, however, that her work was for the benefit of the ‘angels’ at the bottom of the social ‘ladder’ for whom she fought daily. And for enlightenment of those who would hold them down…
To actually live and embody the Franciscan dream, that a person might preach without speaking, that in walking around, it might make visible the life within seems beyond comprehension for the ordinary person. The difference between the saints and the rest of us is that the saints not only appreciate, but actually perform. Not only do they admire and know the good life of God, they are actually a part of it.
But I wonder if perhaps we sell ourselves short by saying it can’t be done by us, perhaps in the ordinary, everyday and humdrum life we entertain angels ourselves, as yet unawares.
Are we entertaining angels unawares
When we meet the stranger in the street
If we offer a smile to those we great
A kind word to those in need?
Do we entertain angels in disguise
Gathering with those amidst the cries
Of protest and prophet
Do we entertain angels unawares
When we welcome an unexpected guest
Or listen to stories with feigned interest
We’ve heard told time and time before?
Can we entertain angels unawares
With words of encouragement
Or a quiet hospitality
A sanctuary to those who would come close?
Are we entertaining Angels unawares
Sheltering those caught in a storm,
Easing lives forlorn:
Words of hope for a heart of fear
Tears together shed year on year?
Is it entertaining angels unawares
To smile and laugh and sing along
For some good news shared when
Inside all we want to do is hide and weep?
For often entertaining angels unawares
We go our way and look not back
The ladder touching softly down
Creates a place where love abounds.
(includes a quote from IMDB.com on the film ‘Entertaining Angels: the Dorothy Day Story’ and on the Franciscan way from ‘Blessed are the Consumers’ by Sallie McFague