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Monday 9 February 2015

What Many Catholics Do Not Believe Is Not An Option

There is a virtue which the Church until recent times taught as one of those connected to love. The ancient people practiced this virtue, as we see in great stories and histories, both in and outside of the Bible.

Hospitality. In the Early Church, bishops and priests were not only encouraged to have hospices for the poor and traveling, but even the laity were told to be hospitable. This call to hospitality may be found in CCC as well as in other Catholic documents, even documents form the Council of Trent.

St. Bernard of Clarivaux was famous for interrupting his talks to his monks for meeting guests at the gatehouse. Abbots were instructed both in Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries to have a separate guesthouse and kitchen for guests. Fountains Abbey even had separate baths and latrines for guests, as well as a huge hospital.

Notice the common root word....

1560; Latin hospitā (reto receive as guest (compare Latin hospitārīto be a guest; see hospitium ) + -ble


receiving or treating guests or strangers warmly and generously:
a hospitable family.
characterized by or betokening warmth and generosity toward guestsor strangers:
a hospitable smile.
favorably receptive or open (usually followed by to):
to be hospitable to new ideas; a climate hospitable to the raising ofcorn.

Hospitality is the message of Christ in the Parable of the Good Shepherd.

Three of my friends, a student, a poor woman, and a single man, have spent a month trying to find me a place to stay for awhile, either in lay or religious houses. Doors did not open. Too many Catholics no longer believe in the virtue of hospitality. Perhaps, people do not understand what hospitality is as a virtue. 

First of all, here is one quotation from the CCC.

1971 To the Lord's Sermon on the Mount it is fitting to add the moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings, such as Romans 12-15, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Colossians 3-4, Ephesians 4-5, etc. This doctrine hands on the Lord's teaching with the authority of the apostles, particularly in the presentation of the virtues that flow from faith in Christ and are animated by charity, the principal gift of the Holy Spirit. "Let charity be genuine. . . . Love one another with brotherly affection. . . . Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality."29 This catechesis also teaches us to deal with cases of conscience in the light of our relationship to Christ and to the Church.3

St. Paul has much to say on hospitality. 

From Romans 12:

16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;

From Titus 1:

For a bishop,[d] as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.

Deuteronomy notes that God has special love for a certain group who need hospitality.

God will actually judge those who do not love... and He "executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing" Deut. 10:18

St. John Paul II said this: 

"Like the disciples of Emmaus, believers, supported by the living presence of the risen Christ, become in turn the traveling companions of their brothers and sisters in trouble, offering them the word that rekindles hospitality in their hearts. With them they break the bread of friendship, brotherhood, and mutual help" (Homily, June 2, 2000).

St. Peter, the first Pope, wrote this:

"Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another" (1 Pet. 4:8-9).

Hospitality is not having parties or dinners for friends and family. It is specifically the virtue of reaching out to travelers, the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized. It is opening up one's house to strangers. 

Pope Benedict XVI said in Cologne that this virtue is disappearing, "It is a fine thing that on such occasions the virtue of hospitality, which had almost disappeared and is one of man's original virtues, should be renewed and enable people of all states of life to meet."

The man in the ditch was a stranger to the Samaritan. In the hard times to come, those who are rich, and most Americans are among the richest people in the world, will wish they had opened their doors to those who asked. God Who is Generous, will not be outdone in generosity to those who are kind.

Do people think that there are enough homeless shelters to take people in? Do people think there is always a government program? In my home town the waiting list for government housing is eight years. Years...not months.

One may entertain angels....thanks to K and J, Americans,  and C, a Scotswoman, and D an Asian student, for trying so hard to find me a place. I am sorry that you did not find open doors. Thanks also to those who have ordered me things while I am in an empty place for a month. God bless you all abundantly. Blankets and such are important! And a great big thanks to S for letting me use her empty house for a month.

Also,I pray for those friends of mine who wanted to have me in but are having serious family difficulties. God bless you and bring you all peace. 

And, a special thanks for hospitality in the past to Carol, David, Margaret, Ferdie, and M, for hospitality in Europe. 

God will reward you greatly as you are all the Good Samaritans, not spurning a poor, senior citizen woman.

Fighting, even in death..