Hospitality – Part 4

More quotes from Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way to Love by Fr. Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. See Part 3

Hospitality starts at home, after all. And you do not become good at loving the strain of being together in a family or a community if you have not yet learned to be alone. (ch. 4)

Cloister refers to the time a [person] is alone… It is the apartness of solitude and silence. We use community to refer to your closest relationships, the people with whom you share you life. …Hospitality refers to your interactions in all other relationships, especially those outside the security of our comfort zone—relationships with the stranger. (ch. 4)

The triad of cloister, community, and hospitality represent this balance. These three threads of…life weave together to make a strong whole: a whole life and whole person. (ch. 4)

Each of these [threads] is dependent on the other. They are woven together to create the whole of…life. …We need time alone (cloister), we need time with those closest to us (community), and we need to open ourselves to those who are not one of us (hospitality). (ch. 4)

It is [our] life together that most profoundly shapes who [we] become as human beings. (ch. 4)

Balance your relationships. Take time for those closest to you, be more open to strangers, and do not forget to take time to be alone. We all need regular doses of solitude and silence.

[See separate post on solitude.]

Solitude creates a place that is wide enough to make room for others. (ch. 4)

The important thing we learn from these three threads of [cloister, community, hospitality] is that we must find a way to weave together all the fragments, splinters, and scatterings. Contradictions will always pull at us. (ch. 4)

The longer we wonder through this world the more sure we become that our companions are the utmost importance, as important as our solitude. We don’t need to pick solitude over family, or family over other relationships. We need to attentively set our hearts on balancing it all. (ch. 4)

Companions give us the support we need to go on. They provide the tenderness of friendship and are a source of stability, wisdom, and growth. We need other people. Some companions we choose, such as friends or a spouse. But we are born with a whole set of relationships, for better or worse. (ch. 4)

We are given a family as part of the cost of our humanity. If, by some set of circumstances, we do not have a family we tend to create one for ourselves. Do you believe these relationships are pure chance? (ch. 4)

Our families seem to be rather happenstance. We don’t get to pick them, and they almost always come with a lot weirdness that leaves us toting around a heavy weight for most of our lives. There are few challenges greater than the attempt to hospitable to those closest to us. Some of it is that they are so close. Some of it is that we assume they will love us, regardless of how we treat them. Some of it, maybe, is just bad habits. (ch. 4)

God, after all, receives both the glory and the wreck we make of our lives. We owe it to one another to do no less, even in our families. Family is a good place to start practicing hospitality. (ch. 4)

We look for ways to weave together the fragments of our lives. We want to feel whole and we want to see how things relates to another. Constant change makes us fearful, even insecure. We cannot expect our closest relationships to give us what we can receive only in solitude. We cannot expect solitude to give us what only initmate relationships are capable of giving us, and we must not expect that every relationship can bear the full weight of intimacy. (ch. 4)

“Benedictine spirituality is intent on the distribution of self for the sake of the other,” writes Joan Chittister. (ch. 4)

We become more available…for others as we move toward a healthy balance in our relationships. Balance gives us freedom, it eases anxieties, and it makes room in our lives. Cloister, community, and hospitality—they represent this balance. Enter each deeply. Know the depths of solitude, enjoy the warmth of community, and take a hand in the companionship of hospitality. By gently and gradually gathering up the strands of your fragmented like into one whole, you will become the one…that can distribute yourself to others, and still have something left to take into the great solitude of your vast soul and rest in God. (ch. 4)

More in Part 5

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