Hospitality is an attitude of heart that opens us to others and receives them on their own terms. It means openness to what guests and strangers bring to us. We receive a revelation from the guest which can change us and enrich our lives and open us to new possibilities and ways of thinking and living. It means providing space where new life can be found and everyone’s gifts can flourish. To do so, we have to be at home ourselves and be willing to lay down our fears of change. Often our lack of hospitality is simply the failure to notice and acknowledge others and their needs—the needs of the larger world and the needs of those closest to us. We have to be willing to be vulnerable and open to new ways of doing things. We have to let go of our narcissism and exaggerated individualism. Jesus models that attentiveness. He noticed the sick, the excluded, the hungry, those that others passed by. As we contemplate the ministry of Jesus, we are called to heighten our awareness of others so that we can carry on the ministry of Jesus.
Excerpted from Putting on the Heart of Christ by Gerald M. Fagin, SJ
Peace to all who come to this house.
Examine your standards for hospitality in your neighborhood? Your church? This nation? How do you reflect this in your home?
And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing.
Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person on his or her own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who “have found the center of their lives in their own hearts.”
Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our lives and our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step towards dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.
There is an emanation from the heart in genuine hospitality which
cannot be described, but is immediately felt and puts the
stranger at once at his or her ease.
Hospitality is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching
across difference to participate in God’s actions
bringing justice and healing to our world in crisis.
Letty M. Russell
A compassionate open home is part of Christian responsibility, and should be practiced up to the level of capacity.
Francis A. Schaeffer
We show hospitality to strangers not merely because they need it, but because we need it, too. The stranger at the door is the living symbol and memory that we are all strangers here. This is not our house, our table, our food, our lodging; this is God’s house and table and food and lodging. We were pilgrims and wanderers, aliens and strangers, even enemies of God, but we, too, were welcomed into this place. To show hospitality to the stranger is, as Gordon Lathrop has observed, to say, “We are beggars here together. Grace will surprise us both.”
Thomas G. Long
A life of hospitality begins in worship, with a recognition of God’s grace and generosity. Hospitality is not first a duty and responsibility; it is first a response of love and gratitude for God’s love and welcome to us.