Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Meinrad Archabbey, the patron of the monastic community I am attached to as a Benedictine Oblate. The Life of St. Meinrad reminds us of the great act of hospitality we are all called to as followers of Christ and especially as Benedictines.
St. Benedictine tells us in his Rule that we are to “receive all guest as though they were Christ.” (Chapter 53). St. Meinrad followed this command to his death. Seeing Christ even in those who would kill him, he is known as the martyr of hospitality.
Reflecting on the life of St. Meinrad requires me to ask myself how I receive others into my life. Do I see them as Christ or as a nuisance? Working in medicine I come across a lot of different individuals who are unlike myself in a variety of ways. The rich and poor, powerful and meek, the sick and healthy all come into my life at one point or another. Not only do I have the obligation to receive them as Christ, I have the added obligation to receive them in their sickness and suffering. There are times in which I may feel overwhelmed or worn out but this does not give me permission to overlook the great apostolate of hospitality.
St. Meinrad is a reminder for me that I must go the extra mile to live out my
vocation as an oblate even when I do not feel like doing so. Am I asked to give up my life as he did for the sake of seeing Christ in others? Probably not but receiving Christ may call me to go out of myself and suffer a little in the hope of providing hospitality to all I meet. A little death might be asked of me and my ego if I truly strive to live out the Benedictine hospitality I am called
to as an Oblate of St. Benedict.
No one ever said following Christ or the Rule of St. Benedict would be easy. St. Benedict himself reminds us of this. But it is rewarding when we realize that it leads us to a fuller relationship with Christ who quite often appears to us in those who come into our lives.
St. Meinrad, Martyr of Hospitality, pray for us!