Saturday, June 29, 2013

Quote for the Day: "True Hospitality Is Marked by An Open Response to the Dignity of Each Person"

Kathleen Norris

I published this meditation back in 2010, the day after Christmas. I've run across it all over again today as I thumb through a journal I kept in 1997, into the back of which I've tucked photocopies from Kathleen Norris's book Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), from which the meditation comes: 

True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each person.  . . .  For the monk, even repentance is seen in terms of hospitality.  . . .  It means recognizing that we have not always seen grace where it exists in the world, and agreeing "to turn away from a stubborn and obdurate position that cannot accept what is new and different and therefore cannot entertain God’s mysterious ways." The word "entertain" is used advisedly here, as the monk goes on to speak of hospitality: "The classic sign of [our] acceptance of God’s mystery is welcoming and making room’ for the stranger, the other, the surprising, the unlooked-for and unwanted" (pp. 198-9).

And, of course, Norris's insightful comments about the connection between hospitality (a central virtue of Catholic monasticism) and respect for the dignity of each person seem to me extremely important in this week in which the Supreme Court underscores the unconstitutionality of DOMA because it attacks the dignity of LGBT persons and their families, and the leader of the U.S. Catholic bishops responds that the Supreme Court decision is a tragedy.

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