Hospitality

 

Welcome one another as Christ Welcomed you (Rm 15:7)

 

All who arrive as guests are to be welcomed like Christ, for he is going to say, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Rule of Saint Benedict 53:1)

Come away for a while

The Benedictine Monks of Holy Cross Monastery are happy to welcome guests in their midst for a time of retreat and spiritual renewal. While it is often remarked that people increasingly feel the need to escape the pressures of life in today’s busy and frenetic world it is interesting to note that already in the 11th century Saint Anselm, writing at the Abbey of Bec, could pen these words:

Come on now, little one, get away from your worldly occupations for a while, escape from your tumultuous thoughts. Lay aside your burdensome cares and put off your laborious exertions. Give yourself over to God for a little while, and rest for a while in Him. Enter into the cell of your mind, shut out everything except God and whatever helps you to seek Him once the door is shut. Speak now, my heart, and say to God, “I seek your face; your face, Lord, I seek”. (St Anselm, Proslogion ch. 1).

 Closer to us in time Esther de Waal has remarked:

When God’s voice is drowned out by incessant clamour, whether inner or outer, in whatever shape or form, then continuous dialogue with God becomes impossible. An inner monologue with myself, constant chatter with others, the invasion of the spoken word through the press and television are all the ever-present realities in my daily life over I need to exercise some sort of discipline if I am to keep any quiet inner space in which to listen to the Word. (A Life-Giving Way).

 Listen in the silence

To help their guests to meet with God the monks of Holy Cross Monastery offer a space of silence which all who come to share in their life for some days are invited to respect. Silence is maintained in the guest-house, while the midday and evening meals are taken in silence with the monastic community in the refectory.

 Share with a brother

During their stay at the monastery guests may meet with a brother to share with him what they are experiencing during their time of retreat. Others may seek counsel or sacramental reconciliation. The community welcomes these requests and sees this spiritual accompaniment as part of its ministry.

Unite in prayer

Guests are invited to share in the prayer life of the community. We have seen how the monks gather in the church several times a day for the celebration of the liturgy; it is suggested that guests attend some of these times of worship.

Refreshed, go in peace

The community hopes that all who come to the monastic guest-house benefit from the time they spend at the monastery and it rejoices greatly when they learn that a time of retreat has proved beneficial for a guest.

 

“A brother came to visit a monk.

As he was taking his leave, he said:

‘Pardon me, father, for I have caused you to violate your rule.’

But the monk answered:

‘My rule is to refresh you and send you back in peace.”

 

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