Hospitality – Part 1

[book cover]

I discovered a plethora of quotes in reading Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way to Love by Fr. Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. Each quote kind of stands on its own, but together they form a picture of Benedictine spirituality.

Hospitality is the answer to hostility. Jesus said to love your neighbor; hospitality is how. (Introduction)

…if we close ourselves to the stranger, we close ourselves to the Sacred. (Introduction)

Acceptance is about receiving, rather than judging. (Introduction)

Acceptance is not about condoning; it is about embracing. (Introduction)

When we accept, we take an open stance to the other person. It is more than merely piously tolerating them. We stand in the same space and we appreciate who they are, right now at this moment, and affirm the Sacred in them. (Introduction)

Every human is sacred; every life is holy ground. (Introduction)

The Incarnation shows us that God knew no one becomes real to us unless they’re human, including God. (Introduction)

Benedict’s conviction was that all of us are headed together toward God. We are headed toward union with God. It is impossible to say what this means, exactly, but we live our little lives with big purpose and a sense that there is more. We do this by faith. It goes against the seeming ordinariness of everything. We take a radical position when we insist that it all does matter. Life is holy ground. (Introduction)

Your life is not personal property; you belong to God. (Introduction)

Every moment is more brightly precious than we can possibly understand. Our lives are worth more than the best deal that might tempt you to sell your soul. We did not bargain for most of what we get in this life, but life itself is worth holding onto, and worth valuing. It is a great loss if we greet every day with clenched hands stuffed with our own devices. We will never know what is out there waiting for us if we don’t extend an empty hand to the world and wait for wonder to happen. Benedictine hospitality provides us with a way to offer empty hands to the world. It provides us with a way home. (Introduction)

When we speak of hospitality we are always addressing issues of inclusion and exclusion. Each of us makes choices about who will and who will not be included in our lives. To make such choices is inevitable; we do not have the time to be everyone’s best friend. [This issue of inclusion and exclusion not only works on a personal level, but also at a societal level too.] (ch. 1)

Fear is a thief. It will steal our peace of mind and that’s a lot to lose. But it also hijacks relationships, keeping us sealed up in our plastic world with a fragile sense of security. (ch. 1)

Hospitality is a lively, courageous, and convival way of living that challenges our compulsion either to turn away or to turn inward and disconnect ourselves from others. (ch. 1)

Hospitality is not optional for a well-balanced and heathy life. (ch. 1)

There is a big loneliness at the center of every person. It is universal. There’s a reason for the loneliness. It is meant to lead you somewhere. Even if you are unconscious of it, the big lonely is driving you homeward. (ch. 1)

Benedict finds God in people. You can’t ignore people when God is looking out their eyes at you. (ch. 1)

Hospitality acknowledges the vulnerability of being human, both my humanity and that of the stranger. (ch. 1)

Benedictine hospitality prevents us from living either desperately or indifferently. Hospitality requires not grand gestures, but open hearts. When I let a stranger into my heart, I let a new possibility approach me. When I reach past my own ideas, I begin to stretch myself open to the world, and this opening of my heart could change everything. That’s pretty frightening stuff. You can’t ever be the same if you start doing that kind o thing. (ch. 1)

Hospitality is born in us when we are well loved by God and by others. Hospitality is the overflowing of a heart that has to share what it has received. It takes a whole person to open up, it takes a secure person to be available, it takes a strong person to give yourself away. (ch. 1)

It is possible to serve meals in a nursing home, to cook in a homeless shelter, or read stories to children at an inner-city library and never let others into your heart. It is possible to do the good thing and end up feeling satisfied with yourself and even just a bit superior. It is possible to do the good thing and not be changed for the better for it. Hospitality includes cooking the meal, and reading to the kid, but it demands that you let the people you are serving into your heart. Only in opening yourself wide to another are you transformed by the power of love. (ch. 1)

More in Part 2

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