As the cold of heaven burst through the earth's atmosphere and temperatures dropped, a voice was heard of a young man praying in the early morning hours, crying “God you're my help, I trust in you”. Just another helpless stranger on the street, afraid and nowhere to go in a foreign land. Then, as he lifted up his bowed head, he saw the two strangers from afar coming towards him. And in a language, he understood with gentleness, they proposed him a warm shelter for the night? With a nod of his head, he responded to their hospitality, as they drove him to a nearby town where he would spend that night and rest. With a quiet ambiance he pondered that moment they came to his aid, and the incredible peace he felt the whole time in their presence. He was curious to know where they came from, and what were their names? He wanted to know if they were the good Samaritans of the city or Godsend angels on assignment.
Months would pass since that cold night, now integrated into the Parisian social system, the young man kept struggling forward. Daily he would call 115, like so many others, a thousand times, again and again. Tired and weary he would hear their most common response. Sorry Mister... still no place, please try again later. Many do not even try again. Perhaps tonight one might be lucky to have a bed, but if not, they’ll spend it on the warm night bus, or hospital waiting rooms, or inside locked metro stations. The 115 operators are often sympathetic with the cry that comes from the homeless. And so often the young man would fight the urge not to swear or curse. How powerless, he knows, these control room operators must have felt, for who can perform miracles but God alone when there is such an overwhelming need? Where is he who once walked the streets of cities and villages, doing good and healing the sick? He knew they cared, he could sense it in their response, like a precious perfume that fills a room, he perceived.
He always prayed before he called, for without hope and faith, his heart would fail. Often angels would answer his call, the compassion in their voices as shining lights of hope, they could not hide. So it was that night when he called again. She answered with a soft voice, but his heart was hard, burdened by the constant climate change of the street weather. But still, she was patient and kind. Especially now, when she had to tell him yet again, like so many times before, sorry mister... no more place for the night. A moment of silence and a pause, but then she replied: Wait a second, a room just became available, I do have a place for you, as she booked him in to rest for the night. Relieved and with gratitude for answered prayer, he responded in kind, and before he said goodbye, he whispered to her ear: you’re an angel and kissed her goodnight. That night passed quickly, and the morning came for him to restart the whole process again by calling to reserve a place for the night. But in his confusion, he phones an hour before the time. Please call again the person said, and just as she is to end the call, the operator replied again: Wait, please hold a moment, and then another voice, saying: Hello, it’s your angel from last night. Her voice was filled with laughter, and he knew his angel had a smile. Sometimes a voice on the phone, sometimes a face on the street, sometimes a helper at the shelter. Tell me, my angel, are you real? He could see she had a heart to care, just like the Nazarene, despised and rejected.
That same evening, as day turned into darkness, he would go and wait with his friend for the Samu minibus to appear, as arranged. Normally he would wave them down to stop, asking food or shelter for the night. Their faces would always light up to see him or the others, and they always remembered each one's name to welcome them with hospitality. Often, they would despair for the helpless when places were full because in their hearts there was always room for another. And as they came to pick them up, one of them said: Hello mister... it is me again, your angel from last night. Totally surprised he looked into his angel's eyes and her smiling face, hearing her pretty laughter. Time would pass and the young man would learn that his angel had many faces. But the kindness in their voices and the love in their eyes always remained the same. He knows that wherever they are in Paris or in the suburbs, his angels will always be watching over him. And so he would bow his head again to pray, thank you, Father, in heaven for each one of them, may you send them out tonight again with love, hope, and peace, to do your will with joy and strength. Give your angels charge to watch over them. For they are your faithful servants at work, seeking the souls of men, lost at night. Angels on assignment to the homeless and the stranger, giving food, coffee, and shelter for the night. For above and beyond the call of duty, they know and remember each person’s name and face.
There will come a day when my angels will hear the voice of my King saying: I was hungry and you gave me food to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me water to drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and sick, and you came to visit me. If only my angel, you truly knew who I was, and whom I represent, to whom you were showing such deep love and kindness. Till we meet again.