Hospitality – Part 2

More quotes from Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way to Love by Fr. Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. See Part 1.

Genuine spirituality is not cozy, and seldom makes you comfortable. It challenges, disturbs, unsettles, and leaves you feeling like someone is at the center of your existence on a major remodeling mission. While affirming how wonderful you are, better than you really know, spirituality is also meant to change you. If it doesn’t, it is something less than spirituality. (ch. 2)

You want to be open, you want to let others into your life—what do you do? Whatever plan you devise, one thing is undeniable: such change starts within. It begins with who you are and who you are becoming. It is a spiritual journey. (ch. 2)

Choosing against hospitality means you will eventually lock your heart away from others and grow cold and hard inside. You cannot take seriously the spiritual practice of hospitality and remain who you are. If you serious about it, nothing will ever be the same again. (ch. 2)

Hospitality, rather than being something you achieve, is something you enter. It is an adventure that takes you where you never dreamed of going. It is not something you do, as much as it is someone you become. You try and you fail. You try again. You make room for one person at a time, you give one chance at a time, and each of these choices of the heart stretches your ability to receive others. This is how we grow more hospitable—by welcoming one person when the opportunity is given to you. (ch. 2)

When we turn away from the poor, we lose Jesus and we lose ourselves. (ch. 2)

Daily, Benedict tells his monks, you and I will encounter Jesus. You will stroll right past him if you aren’t careful. Instead, look closer, look in the person’s eyes, search for that spark of light, and let yourself be open to the possibility of God coming to you in the stranger. (ch. 2)

The point is that you be open. Anyone can give a few dollars today, anyone can take someone for a cup of coffee, anyone can drop a blanket around someone’s shoulders. These are little acts, to be sure, but little acts push at the great big darkness, the darkness that is so huge we feel helpless and so we do nothing and try to make ourselves feel good about it. This is a heart problem. We don’t lack resources or opportunity, we lack heart. …You and I, can help the one in our path. That is enough. Try to get this straight, that really is enough. (ch. 2)

Hospitality is not about what you do, it is about who you are becoming. (ch. 2)

That is where it starts. You make room in your heart, room in your life, room in the moment for a person, with no strings attached. (ch. 2)

When I realized that I am one among many, I begin to realize that someone else is real. Someone else has a right to space, too. Someone else has needs. Someone else has as much right to be here as I do. I am no more. I am no less. I am part of it all. (ch. 2)

Part of the internal work hospitality requires is setting boundaries. You do no one a favor if you allow people to involve you in destructive behaviors. You have to figure out for yourself when this is happening. It is a matter of trusting yourself. [See a somebody else’s post on Spiders and Bees.] (ch. 2)

The paradox of relationship is that we will never achieve any better relationship with anyone else than we have achieved with ourselves. (ch. 2)

The essence of hospitality is receiving the stranger while letting them remain a stranger. By letting the stranger into our “dwelling” (not necessarily a physical structure), we let them into our emotional and spiritual space. We welcome them to be heard and understood, we accept what they choose to reveal of themselves, and we accept them if they reveal little or nothing. (ch. 2)

Patience allows others to approach us as they feel welcome. Patience gives space. (ch. 2)

“Impatience is the offspring of the need to control,” writes James Connor… (ch. 2)

In our relationships with others, what matters is that we keep trying. There is a place inside that you must first open, before you open your door. Some days it will be hard to do that, other days it will be easier. What matters is that you keep trying. (ch. 2)

More in Part 3.

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