Friday, March 11, 2011

The Paradox of Hospitality


Hospitality is a special part of our charism here at St. Emma's, so when I came across the above title in a booklet of Lenten reflections from the writings of Henri J. M. Nouwen, it "piqued " my curiosity.

It certainly is a different point of view, but one well worth considering:
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.  It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.  It is not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample fruit.  It is not a method of making our God and our way into the criteria of happiness, but the opening on an opportunity to others to find their God and their way.  The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations.

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