A Place to Encounter Christ
“Let all guests that come be received like Christ Himself, for He will say: ‘I was a stranger and you took Me in.’…Let Christ – who indeed is received in their persons – be adored in them…”
– Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 57
There are so many people in this world who need a place of refuge and come to the monastery as guests. The monks also desire to receive them, for each of us was also a guest at one time. We have each been welcomed by Christ with inexpressible mercy. Therefore, “welcome one another”, says St. Paul, “as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
St. Benedict teaches us to receive guests “as Christ Himself”, bringing them first to prayer and reading the law of God to build them up, and then showing them all human kindness by giving them food and drink, a place to rest, etc. For their part, although guests appreciate a place of rest with food and drink, they more often come to the monastery to find peace and direction for their lives. In fact, they often come precisely to find God. For example, groups come for a weekend retreat with their own itineraries, or even in their own religious groups.