All guests who arrive should be received as Christ … One must adore Christ in them, for he is in fact the one who is received.

St. Benedict, in The Rule of Benedict

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The desert fathers of monastic life would interrupt their prayers and break their fasts to welcome strangers as their guests.  They lived in an arid environment where being hospitable saved lives.

But what of today?  What of hospitality today?

Do you remember Catholic Southern writer Flannery O’Connor’s short story entitled “A Good Man is Hard to Find?” Do you recall how the religious grandmother led her family into misfortune by directing them to visit an old plantation she mistakenly recalled only to stumble her family (adults and children) into a rendezvous with three armed men, one of whom was an escaped murdered named The Misfit?  Do you recall how this well-meaning grandmother welcomed Misfit and cajoled him with religious nostrums? And how he shot her three times in the chest, killing her without a shred of remorse?

Hospitality suggests one welcome others.  Yes.  This is a good idea. Yet, it presumes that Christ resides in the other.  The notion is that we must not forfeit relationship with others.  Yes, another good thought.

But what if the stranger is not Christ, but one who would kill you?  Your wife and children?  Your parents? Friends?  Your neighbors?  Kill Christ?  Kill Christians?  

How might hospitality work in that environment?

Indeed, what about when ideas that are hostile to Christianity are advanced? Must we welcome them? Must we allow our faith to be subverted?  Must we accommodate those ideas that separate us from Christ? Must our faith die so that we might welcome all, even those who intend our death or to destroy our Church or nation?  Western Civilization? Must we be Flannery O’Connor’s grandmother? 

We live in hard times, when the real world of hate and evil intent meets hospitality.

There are those among us who are as The Misfit.  And those as well who are as the grandmother.  Then there are those among us who see evil and desire to preserve Christianity and Christ.

Presently, the Left are strangers who care not about Christ, have no regard for Christianity – see it as the enemy.  Yes, they would be The Misfits.  And the Left also is composed of grandmothers – those who simply convince themselves that the world is swayed by kindly nostrums, and advanced in goodness by simply pretending that being “nice” will produce peace.  They choose not to see evil and not to preserve what is good.

Where are you on hospitality today?  On Christ?  The defense and preservation of Christian life?  A Misfit?  Grandma?  Or a disciple?  A patriot?

The truth does not change according to your ability to stomach it.

Flannery O’Connor

Don’t fool yourself.

Bobby Sylvester

Shalom.

Note: You would all be wise to become familiar with the name Phil Haney and the book he has written.  I say no more – but do make this recommendation.  Peace be with you.

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