"Hospitality: Opening space in our hearts and lives to give and receive in relationship with neighbors and strangers in need."
Reflection on Benedictine Hospitality
In her latest book, Monastery of the Heart, An Invitation to a Meaningful Life (2011), Sr. Joan Chittister, Benedictine scholar, writer and speaker, expanded on the importance and impact of Christian hospitality, on those who provide it, as well as those who receive it. She begins by noting that being hospitable to those who are "our kind of people" ... people who "look like us and think like us" isn't what the scriptures and the Rule have in mind in terms of "community". Benedict intended that the monastic community welcome everyone equally ... the rich and the poor, the slave and the free, the young and the old, artists and craftsmen, peasants and noblemen ... a "motley crew". "The point is clear," Sr. Joan says ... "The guest to the Benedictine is much more than simply another social contact." Our "community" is much more than those immediately around us.
Sr. Joan continues ... "The Benedictine ... is actually on the lookout for guests, for their needs, for their wisdom. Thank God, you've come ... disturb our perfect lives. Guests bring us to God in the guise of the immediate and the urgent, the uncomfortable and the unknown. They expose our emptiness of heart and total self-centeredness, when we may not even know ourselves that it exists."
To read more parishioner reflections on Hospitality, click on the attachments below: