14 October 2009

The Charism of Hospitality

Recently I have found myself 'entertaining' several people through hospitality of one sort or another. This brings me great joy. Don't consider me to be a saint; I'm far from this. Nor am I a particularly outgoing person, but I just love to see people happy when they're fed and watered and, of course, welcomed. We all have our strengths and weakness.

This has also fed into my own personal spiritual development and I have been considering the 'charism of hospitality'. My reading has led me to several articles and one, in particular, has been helpful. You can read more here, from the Intentional Disciples blog. They write about the cause of St Margaret Clitheroe's ultimate imprisonment and death. They say...

It may strike us as almost unbelievable, but Margaret Clitherow was in fact martyred by the English government of her day for the exercise of a charism that we tend to think of as a thoroughly innocuous: the charism of hospitality.

The charism of hospitality empowers a Christian to be a generous channel of God's love by warmly welcoming and caring for those in need of food, shelter, and friendship. Why would any government possibly object to such a simple and inoffensive activity? Because among the guests that Margaret Clitherow warmly welcomed were Catholic priests who were risking their own lives so that lay Catholics might have access to the grace and consolation of the sacraments in the midst of persecution.
It has been, largely, priests who I have been hospitable to. Despite the clear risks, I have determined that I will carry on in this vein. It costs nothing (well, perhaps money!) to welcome another human being to share a meal, to open your home to them and to ensure their needs are met. These are basic lessons I learnt as a child. Yet why did they stay with me? Why is it that I have always enjoyed being hospitable and do not see it as any effort at all? It must be because it is a gift from God. He has put into my heart the desire to be hospitable. Perhaps I need to remind others that this is why I do it. Perhaps I need to encourage others to be hospitable, too. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

4 comments:

  1. You are blessed to have such a gift...it's definitely not mine. It's not that I don't like to see people happy and fed, of course! But I consider hosting to be a stressful event, I don't know what to do. I don't mind serving food and keeping my hands busy, but that's a different thing entirely.

    I have a friend who DOES share that gift with you, though. She and her husband often open their home to priests, and have property where they can offer "retreats", which they do with great joy. I am absolutely amazed by her. While in a sense I do feel called to the Spiritual Motherhood of priests, she has BOTH that charism AND Hospitality which makes her a true mother to them. (and of course to her own sons, one of who is likely to be ordained in a few years.)

    With your gift, you are in wonderful company. No pun intended! :-)

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  2. Thanks for your thoughts. It is a gift, but then we all have gifts which are often complimentary to one another. It strikes me that you have to have the grace to accept hospitality, too. Something, interestingly, which I don't have a lot of. Like I say we're all gifted in different ways. God bless and, please God, your friend's son will go on to a great ministry in the priesthood.

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  3. Hospitality is a great gift indeed..

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  4. Couldn't agree more, Jackie.

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