Friday, February 8, 2008

RB 53: On Receiving Guests

It's taken us two classes to cover one chapter. That, in and of itself, tells you how important the chapter on guests is to monastic spirituality (and to Sister Aquinata!) Christ, Benedict teaches, comes to the monastery in the stranger. We adore Christ in the guest when we make the stranger friend - when we welcome them into the community heart (RB 53:7).

I can't think about RB 53 without missing Sister Connie Ruth, our Guestmistress at Bristow. She manifests everything Benedict seeks in the one who is to take charge of the guest. The guest quarters are too be entrusted to a God-fearing sister (RB 53:21). Many of our visitors remark about her kindness and her attention to the details of hospitality. Sister Connie's real gift is the love of Christ that dwells in her heart. She can greet Christ in the stranger because she knows Him well. I think that's what Benedict was aiming at in his job description.

Twenty-five monastics have been guests in this house of God - Casa Santo Spiritu. Sister Pauline (Superior), Sister Gabriella and Sister Sophia (Guesthouse), have expansive and hospitable hearts. Hopefully, as the weeks wind down, we will find a way to be blessing to the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing who have cared for us so lovingly.