This is Part 1 of a 9-part story on the importance of practicing hospitality in our lives. We need to welcome others … ourselves … God. Join Sisters Catherine, Margaret, Charlotte, Marlene, Mary, Stefanie, Marianne, Helen and Rita as they share their wisdom.
All summer long, guests arrived at the Cleary farm.
Cousins came to ride the ponies. Aunts and uncles to visit with the parents.
Meals were prepared, served and cleaned up after. Beds were changed and floors were swept.
On the first of September Mrs. Cleary said, “This is the first day this summer we have not had guests.”
Sister Catherine Cleary’s parents taught their children how to extend ready and joyful hospitality to all comers, as her fond memory above attests.
When she entered the Benedictine community, with its emphasis on hospitality, it felt like home.
Hospitality is a core value of monastic life.
St. Benedict tells us to “let all guests who arrive be received as Christ,” with honor, service and kindness.
Christ himself modeled this hospitality throughout his lifetime, as he received the other – women, tax collectors, Samaritans and Pharisees – with full acceptance and without judgment.
He opened himself to all he met, inviting them to be open to him.
And that, at the heart of it, is real hospitality. It’s not hotel-type service – although service and readiness are components – but letting down the barriers of pretense and fear so that others can feel welcomed to be who they are.
Radical hospitality is really a practice of radical honesty, with others and ourselves.