The Meaning of Hospitality

Posted by David Neff, OblSB on

We often come together – as friends, family, community - to share special occasions: national or religious holidays, birthdays, remembering loved ones, honoring those who have served our community or country. We experience “hospitality” in its best sense.

May we strive – as individuals and community – to live and share the spirit of hospitality every day with friends, associates, family, strangers. 

David Neff, OblSB

“Hospitality does not focus on the goal of being hospitable. It is not about the one offering hospitality. Instead, it is singularly focused on the object of hospitality—the stranger, the guest, the delightful other.......rather than attainment of a concept.”   Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way Of Love (Paraclete Press)

Leviticus 19:34   The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were a stranger in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Hebrews 13:2   Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

1 Peter 4:9   Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

“ Even if you have only bread or water, with these you can still meet the dues of hospitality. Even if you do not have these, but simply make the stranger welcome and offer him a word of encouragement, you will not be failing in hospitality. Think of the widow mentioned in the Gospel by our Lord: with two mites she surpassed the generous gifts of the wealthy.

  • Theodoros, the Great Ascetic

“If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard. Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible.”

  • Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic

“Lift up and stretch out your hands, not to heaven but to the poor; for if you stretch out your hands to the poor, you have reached the summit of heaven. But if you lift up your hands in prayer without sharing with the poor, it is worth nothing."

  • St John Chrysostom

“Hospitality…the greatest of virtues. It draws the grace of the Holy Spirit towards us. In every stranger’s face, I see Christ himself. Love giving hospitality, for it opens the gates of Paradise. Entertain strangers so that you won’t be a stranger to God.”

  • Elder Makris

 

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