Image by m.gifford via Flickr
Welcoming Christ was the theme of my post on Sunday (see below) and the word hospitality continues to linger in my heart.
In the comment section of Saturday’s post, Colleen reminded me that hospitality was a strength within the Benedictine order. In fact, hospitality is one of the key components of the Benedictine life-style. In his Rule, Saint Benedict says “Let all guests that come to the monastery be received as Christ.”
We try to model our lives after Christ. Jesus paid attention to others. He really “saw” them. We see this happen over and over again in the Gospels.
I know I get so blinded by misleading emotions, misunderstandings, and my own mistakes. I judge instead of tenderly trying to see from the other person’s perspective. I fail to really see others as Christ sees them.
Then I miss Him. I don’t see Christ.
Hospitality can be providing a meal, a warm welcome, or a place to rest, but I think it can mean so much more in our daily interactions with others. To really see another as Christ – just
imagine how the world would be different if we all put this into practice.
Joan Chittister wrote, “When I let strange people and strange ideas into my heart, I am beginning to shape a new world. Hospitality of the heart could change American domestic policies. Hospitality of the heart could change American foreign policy… make my world a world of potential friends rather than a world of probable enemies.”
I have ignored hospitality as a spiritual discipline, excusing myself that it is not one of my gifts. I think I need to be practicing hospitality every day, not just occasionally. To really look for His presence in every person I meet – not just the ones I like or what to know. To be aware of those who enter our world and to treat them as if they were Christ. To honor, listen and care for all who cross my path.
Robert Benson in his book, A Good Life: Benedict’s Guide to Everyday Joy, tells this story:
“My father used to say that when we get to heaven and see Jesus, our first thought is not going to be that we have never seen him before, Instead we will grin and say, “it’s you, it’s you. I have seen you everywhere.”
Dear Lord, open my eyes and heart to see you everywhere.
What does the word hospitality stir within your heart?