Hospitality is a central aspect of Benedictine life that has its roots in the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and ultimately in the Scriptures. Most Benedictine monasteries have some form of lodging for guests. It is a beautiful part of our lives to receive all guests with a loving, welcoming spirit. Here at St. Scholastica we receive many different guests from various religions, cultures, ages, socio-economic backgrounds. It is a deeply enriching experience for our community. Laypeople as well as priests and religious often find here a place where they can quiet down and be renewed for their continuing path in life. Guests often say that this is an oasis for them, a place they can find some quiet and peace. It is an honor for us to share our liturgy and way of life with others. In turn, we are also inspired by our guests.
For Benedictines, hospitality goes beyond mere social courtesy. In his Rule, St. Benedict devotes an entire chapter to the reception of guests (Ch. 53), in which he says that guest are to be “received like Christ,” and that to them “the greatest care and solicitude should be shown, because it is especially in them that Christ is received.” When we encounter guests, we encounter Christ. This part of our monastic charism is to me a symbol of the eschatological nature of religious life. Our world finds it difficult to open a door to strangers. This call to hospitality that we live is a foreshadowing of life in heaven, where we will live as one, unified in the joy of seeing Christ.
St Benedict, help us to see Christ in everyone and everything!