“Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ.” (RB, 53)
This saying from St. Benedict’s Rule is one of the more famous. Many who know the Rule have heard of it and those who strive to live the Benedictine life know that hospitality is a very Benedictine quality. St. Meinrad Archabbey takes its name from the martyr of hospitality and seeks every day to provide this care to all who enter her doors.
A time like ours has a great need for hospitality. Endless news cycles tell us why we should reject the orphan, the immigrant and those not like us. Anger and fear have become virtues which hide behind the banner of Democrat and Republican. Instead of being for things we are told or even demanded to be against everything.
Those of a different color, religion, and sexual orientation are looked down upon by many who seek to make themselves feel better simply because they can say, “At least I’m not that.” And the very foundation of life is threatened by those who idolize their “rights” without considerIng the right of those who wish to be born.
Our world more then ever is in need of the Benedictine charism of seeing Christ in everyone. No distinction or qualification can be made when receiving those that come into our lives. Who they may be, what they may have done, or where they might be going is irrelevant to us if we strive to follow St. Benedicts way of life.
What surprises me more then anything is the vitriol one sees on the internet especially when coming from those who claim Christ as their savior and St. Benedict as their father. Bending over backwards, they claim that it is their duty to teach others the “truth” while living lives of hate. Praising God and condemning others in the same breath, they show the shallowness of their faith which hides behind rules and regulations that make them feel safe.
What they and others fail to understand is that as Christians we are not called to play it safe or stay within our own little boundaries in the hope of growing closer to Christ. The Benedict Option is to see all as Christ.
We are called to be challenged to see Christ in everyone – the sinner, the saint, the refugee, the illegal immigrant. We are called to see Christ in the man or woman who is living and dying with HIV/AIDS, the addict who has overdosed for the tenth time on heroine, and the woman who sells herself so that she may feed her children. We are called to see everyone who comes into our lives and the lives of others as Christ living and dying, rejoicing and in sorrow, and we are asked to respond with love. Our presence is what is asked of us. Our judgment should be reserved.
ALL GUESTS are to be received as Christ. The key word in that simple phrase is ALL. It makes no distinction and leaves no room for you or I to determine who we can or cannot allow in, for the moment we shut the door on another is the moment we slam it in Christ’s face.