Hospitality

The chapter that I found most striking lately was the one on the reception of guests.

In this chapter, St. Benedict instructs us to welcome guests as Christ. He writes, “Christ is to be adored in them.” Many aspects of the Rule and Chittister’s commentary are very countercultural; this lesson on hospitality runs counter to the expectations of our society, and is a very necessary reminder for us today.

The ministry centre at Renison is one place where I see this virtue of hospitality lived out. When inviting a friend of mine who takes many classes at Renison I first had to convince him that he did not have to pay for the coffee, and that he would not be cheating the ministry centre because he is already a Christian and therefore cannot even be evangelized as payment for the hospitality. There are very few places, I think, where someone is welcome out of pure hospitality, not for any kind of exchange.

The most challenging part of the chapter for me is St. Benedicts admonition to be especially hospitable to the poor “because in them more particularly Christ is received”. I am not quite sure how to go about doing this, but I feel that I should begin. I welcome any suggestions for how we can be hospitable to the poor, both as individuals and as a community.

Philip

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One comment on “Hospitality

  1. joshua says:

    I am always torn between evaluating projects that help the poor for the dependency that they cause vs. the kindness they offer. Much can be said on both sides of the coin about programs in Kitchener such as the Out of the Cold program which provides meals and somewhere to sleep for people during winter months. If you are interested in volunteering or getting to know the poor in town, I would suggest checking out the Working Centre and its projects, the charles st. mens hostel, ray of hope or stopping to sit down and spend some time on the curb with the next person you see asking for money (if they say you can sit next to them…) to name a few…on a similar note I was told this fall that KW has the lowest homeless rate in Canada…

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