Hospitality – Part 3

More quotes from Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way to Love by Fr. Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. See Part 2.

When we create a life surrounded by people just like ourselves, it is a very narrow life. We will not be challenged by such a life. We cave in on ourselves; our minds and spirits shrink to the pea-size of our world. A spirituality centered in such a life will drift into laziness and complacency. It is the kind of life that allows us to settle for easy answers based solely on personal experience. (ch. 3)

Hospitality means we don’t tell people how to feel. We listen to them. We let them tell us how they feel. this is not easy for a compassionate person to do. (ch. 3)

…in relating to the person, we must offer them room to feel what they feel, rather than assuming that we know what they feel. Even if we think that we have been through exactly the same experience ourselves, we cannot know what another is feeling. (ch. 3)

Suspicion is one of the enemies of hospitality. Fear is at the core of suspicion. (ch. 3)

Another enemy of hospitality is narcissism. When we place the great “I” at the center of our universe, we give no value to anyone else. We make commodities of people, consuming them for our personal enrichment and happiness. It’s common in our culture. the other’s only purpose is what he or she can do for us. For many, the only thing that matters is what works for them. There is a kind of contempt in this utilitarian view of others. (ch. 3)

Hospitality treats people respectfully, as if they are sacred, because they are. Even the other, the stranger, the one who is nothing at all like me. He brings the Divine to me, too. (ch. 3)

The stranger helps us locate our favorite lies. The stranger helps us see the absurd in our culture and ourselves. The stranger opens our eyes. (ch. 3)

It isn’t easy to be open and hospitable when you feel threatened. At the root of many less-than-welcoming attitudes toward others is fear. If I am not at home in my own skin, enough to let someone share my space, how will I ever be able to look on the stranger with anything like kindness and welcome? (ch. 3)

Fear devastates our ability to trust, love, and open up to others. (ch. 3)

And then that splitter of light will get through the great mysterious confusion, who knows when or where or why, and grace will sneak up on you and you will know, if only for a splintered flash of a second, you will know that your trying is making a difference and your trying is enough. On a day like that, all the others you have been trying to let into your weary heart will seem at home in your heart, and…you will know that you and all the others are really part of each other. (ch. 3)

See Part 4

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