Hospitality

Christian hospitality is not simply good manners, it is an entire way of encountering strangers: receiving them as Christ, as St Benedict says. It takes a peculiar imagination, of course, to hear a knock on the door and know it to be Christ—an imagination rooted in prayer, in a person who knows the hospitality of the God who welcomes truly, even up into his own trinitarian life. So Christian hospitality, as mutual reverence, has a profound contemplative dimension. (Which is also why, for St Benedict, guests cannot linger indefinitely. There must be space for silence.) And Christian hospitality does not require a home or a table or an abundance of food, since it is primarily an open invitation to enter into life together.

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