Hospitality – Part 5

More quotes from Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way to Love by Fr. Daniel Homan and Lonni Collins Pratt. See Part 4

We all have weapons to lie down and battles to call off before we can open up our hearts. It is a stance of surrender that we are talking about. Ultimately, hospitality is not about the table you set, or the driveway you plow. Hospitality is about preparing the holiest of holies. It is about the heart you make ready. Yours. (ch. 5)

Preparing for another pulls us out of ourselves—that is one of the good gifts of hospitality. (ch. 5)

The image of preparing a table, or preparing a place, is a good overall image of hospitality. In genuine hospitality we work to make our entire existence a welcoming table, a place prepared for others to be at ease, to receive from us comfort and strength. (ch. 5)

Preparing a table has sacramental meaning for Benedictines. Every meal, like every encounter with a human being, has the potential to reveal God present in Creation. The table represents the unknown yearning of every human heart for communion with “something more” that infuses all that exists. (ch. 5)

…places and things mediate God. (ch. 5)

The deep meaning of hospitality involves our entrance into the mess of things; it means we run right into the chaos if that’s what it takes. If we do this, there is a slow, mysterious something that happens, transforming the riot into something good. Naturally, the hard thing is stopping ourselves from making for the door when chaos happens. The hard thing is throwing yourself headlong into the riot and trusting the reality of the transformation. We aren’t going to run toward the riot unless we think the transformation is worthwhile. (ch. 5)

The best kind of hospitality seeps into your soul and shapes your identity. We can give this kind of hospitality to each other if we take the time to prepare sheltering places around us and inside of us. (ch. 5)

Our preparations for others remind us that we are not alone in the world. Not only are we not alone, others are counting on us. (ch. 5)

Our ability to make room for others, and the joy we do or do not find in such activity, depends largely on our experience of being accepted or not. We build shelter for others because somewhere along the way someone sheltered us and thereby taught our hungry heart how to love. Every little lesson along the way has accumulated to account for how we are able to love today. (ch. 5)

Human labor is a reflection of divine work. Human labor is shared with God. Work expresses our humanity, and it gives us a chance to use our gifts. This mystical element to work requires reverence and it teaches us of our value. Former Eagles drummer Don Henly was very Benedictine when he wrote in one of his songs, “…whatever your hands find to do, you must do with all your heart.” (ch. 5)

Note: The word “intimacy” in the following quotes does not mean sexual intimacy. Modern society has confused this word with sex. Intimacy is simply about relating with another on a deeper level.

The media gives us the wrong idea about less intense relationships. They tell us that any relationship that is not intimate is unimportant, and so we have dismissed less-than-intimate relationships. (ch. 6)

Love, by its nature, is life-giving. (ch. 6)

No matter how intimate a relationship might be, that single relationship is not enough to satisfy the human hunger for love.. No human being has enough love to meet such needs. Only our passion for God is enough love; only God’s passion for us can make us whole. (ch. 6)

Intimacy does not consist of a constant level of relating; instead, it simply happens when it needs to if people are open and able to enter the moment.

Sex does not automatically create intimacy. (ch. 6)

When I experience genuine intimacy, I know to the bone that I am not alone. This knowing comes through relationship. It is not a thing I realize with my brain, but a thing I discover with my heart. Intimacy feels familiar, yet sometimes the deep sustaining power of intimacy jolts your sleepy heart wide awake and everything becomes brighter and better. Intimacy is the deep experience of knowing another human heart. (ch. 6)

Intimacy is the experience of sharing life together. (ch. 6)

Genuine joy doesn’t usually happen until you’ve been to the depths of despair. It is not like happiness. Joy is the internal passion that remains after the best attempts of evil to knock the life out of you. (ch. 6)

To say, “I love…” is an affirmation of life at its highest and holiest. To say, “I love…” is to say, “I live, I am human, and you have made me more human. I will always live in you who love me.” (ch. 6)

The message of Benedict to his monks: “Live and love in the name of Jesus.” (ch. 6)

What matters is that we open ourselves up, and we love. What matters is that we love, every single gorgeous second we get a chance at it. (ch. 6)

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