Part 2: Hospitality (Making Space for Another)

purple iris

Welcome to our Annual Summer Retreat, posted here as a mini-online retreat for you. As the woman at the well went at noon to be refreshed and gather water for the day, so we must return readily to our own Divine wellspring.  Our time together will provide an opportunity to drink fully from the well that is Benedictine Spirituality.

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Many people recognize at least some of The Excellence of Love, 1 Corinthians 13. It’s a popular wedding reading.

It’s also a great passage to use as we consider a key Benedictine value. Try replacing the word love with the word hospitality, and you’ll see where I’m going with this:

Hospitality is patient, hospitality is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Hospitality does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Consider how you feel when going to a home that makes you feel welcome.

As if you are the only person for whom the hosts were waiting. As if you were the most important person in the world … no matter who you are, what you believe, where you live or what your backstory is.

You feel you can be yourself.

Now recall times when you clearly were an unwelcome interruption. The hosts were distracted and unfocused on you. You felt uneasy and wished to leave immediately.

You felt exposed; you felt wrong. You certainly did not feel welcomed to be yourself.

We are all called to hospitality. But hospitality calls us to create sacred space not just on the outside but on the inside as well.

Where we welcome all – stranger, loved one, ourself – with openness, warmth and dignity. With presence. Without envy, boastfulness, pride or a record of wrongs.

We easily think about hospitality as greeting the stranger, but it really needs to start with those people closest to us in our lives.

They are the ones we are most likely to resent for their interruptions.

How do you respond to a request for help from an office- or house-mate? Do you greet them with kindness and respect, or a heavy sigh?

Hospitality is saying yes to the present moment, whatever it brings. It is listening deeply. Sharing all that is needed, including your time.

It is making space for another person, no matter who s/he is, what s/he believes, or what her/his backstory is.

Hospitality is patient, hospitality is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Hospitality does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Part 3: What we Need to Grow, to Risk, to Enter the Holy

 

 

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