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Hospitality – The Rule of Benedict

December 19, 2007
The Rule of Benedict
Hospitality
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“Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.”

Everyone—everyone—is received as Christ. Everyone receives a warm answer—on the phone, at the door, in the office. Sarcasm has no room here. Put-downs have no room here. One-upmanship has no room here. Classism has no room here. The Benedictine heart is to be a place without boundaries, a place where truth of the oneness of all things shatters all barriers, a point where all the differences of the world meet and melt, where Jew and Gentile, slave and free, woman and man all come together as equals.

But whatever happens to the heart is the beginning of revolution. 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 UK domestic policies. Hospitality of the heart could change UK foreign policy. Hospitality of the heart could make my world a world of potential friends rather than a world of probable enemies.

Yet, Benedictine hospitality is more than simply thinking new thoughts or feeling new feelings about people we either thought harshly of before, or, more likely, failed to think about at all. Benedictine hospitality demands that we open our lives to others as well. Benedictine hospitality demands the extra effort, the extra time, the extra care that stretches beyond and above the order of the day. Real hospitality for our time requires that we consider how to take the concerns of the poor, the hungry, the lonely, the dying into our own lives.

It is not enough simply to change our minds about things or to come to feel compassion for something that had never touched us before or even to change our own way of life to let in the concerns of others. Real hospitality lies in bending some efforts to change things, to make a haven for the helpless, to be a voice for the voiceless. Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our lives and minds and our hearts and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time. RB 53

 

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