There was a monastery that was renowned for its hospitality, a welcoming place for many weary travelers in need of rest. One day while the abbot was deep in prayer, an angel appeared, surrounded by golden light. The abbot gazed in rapt contemplation and was filled with a peace beyond measure. Suddenly a series of heavy knocks resounded on the front door. "It is some weary traveler come to find shelter," the abbot said to himself. "What should I do? If I go and answer the door, the angel might disappear. If I stay, who will care for the traveler?"
Reluctantly the abbot rose, looked resignedly at the angel, and left the room in order to attend to the needs of the dust-stained traveler.
When he returned to his cell, the angel, to the abbot's great surprise, was still there. The angel said to him, "Had you not gone to help the needy traveler, I myself would have been compelled to leave."
— Joan Chittister in 40 Stories to Stir the Soul