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Share A Cup of Hospitality
AUTHOR
Mark  »

Being hospitable can be a most challenging trait. At the Cenacle we borrow the line from the Benedictines: when a guest comes, Christ comes. The idea being that we must be welcoming and hospitable to all. It is easy to have a very narrow gate, to allow just a few worthy souls to enter and receive your hospitality, at the appointed hour; it is quite another, to have an expansive sense of hospitality, which includes the unscheduled and unexpected.

“Do not neglect hospitality,” Sacred Scripture reminds us, “for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2). Again, it can be easy to prepare for the times we expect to be hospitable, when holidays approach or planned gatherings happen. This we know and thus prepare to be hospitable perhaps by cleaning up, making arrangements, by preparing gifts or food especially things our planned guests may like. It’s the unexpected, the welcoming, the hospitality at the many unexpected guests and instances where we didn’t plan to have a comfortable cup of tea ready, or our time expended in listening to another. Try as we might, being hospitable is not dependent on being proactive (though it helps to be prepared). Being hospitable is a mindset, and a choice: a choice to welcome, a choice to share, a choice to lay previous plans aside to honor, help, and welcome another whether or not they are expected. Having a hard time with hospitality? I’ve found that gratefulness is a regular companion with hospitality. Perhaps there are other ways to engender a spirit of hospitality, to encourage us to say yes, and to understand that, whether angels, persons, or Christ himself, when someone approaches us we can choose to be hospitable.

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The Joy of Hope
AUTHOR
Joan  »

I have grandchildren who, at this particular time, are full of a special sort of hope. The kind of hope that keeps them in a cloud of excitement as Christmas Day approaches.  The kind of hope that leads them to be able to tell you exactly how many days are left until December 25.  I have the impression no matter what is under the tree that day they will have their hopes fulfilled because their hearts will be open to the joy of the unexpected goodness of the people who love them. 

This is the sort of hope I try to embrace myself as the days have darkened and the world seems off kilter more than usual.  The hope that enables me to feel gratitude and joy for each day because I know God loves me and gifts me with what I need to be happy and free.  The things I put on my "list" are not always what I receive but I hold tight to the hope that the God who loves me as a parent loves a child will gift me the grace I need to grow and express God's presence in this world.

May you find and share such a hope in this season of giving and in the year to come.

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Law of Giving
AUTHOR
Steph  »
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Purpose
AUTHOR
Joan  »

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another."  Charles Dickens

This succinct thought from Mr. Dickens clarifies for me the need for community.  With the recent natural disasters both here in the US and overseas it is very clear we all need each other.  Should you ever feel unneeded or even uneccessary to the proper order of the universe just go out and lighten someone's burden -  you will quickly discover how important one person can be and how connected we are.  We need everyone who passes through our day if only to remind us what really makes us complete - and that is love, kindness and the giving of ourselves in even the seemingly smallest ways.

I wonder who might lighten your burden today should you have any?

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Give Harder
AUTHOR
Jill  »

Work hard, Play harder. We have all heard this survival term of life. The teeth gritting, white knuckled, heart pumping work ethic we pass down through generations. Listen up kids! This is life, give it all you got! And in exchange for your time and energy, you will be granted a wage. We exchange our days and nights for monetary gain. Society has taught us to define ourselves by our financial success and praise those who receive more.

 

But what if we changed this phrase, that has been so deeply rooted in the structure of our society. How different we would live, love and even work if the lesson was ‘Work Hard and Give Harder’? Instead of working to reward ourselves, we would strive to live a life to bless others.

 

In what area in your life could you give more?

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The Paradox of Giving

 I had gone a–begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings! My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.
The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say ‘What hast thou to give to me?’
Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.
But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

                                                Rabindranath Tagore

I love the unexpected, ironic ending to this story because I know the truth of it from experience.  I’ve learned the hard way that cautious, even stingy, withholding of whatever it is that I have to give, results in little return.  And I’ve found out that the times when I’ve given “my all”, risky or costly as it may be, it pays off royally.  The sacrifice involved in self-giving can be daunting, but as the throw-caution-to-the-wind beggar Francis of Assisi discovered, “it is in giving that we receive.”  

Can you think of times when you have found this to be true in your experience?

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