Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hospes venit....

"And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’" (NRSV: Mt 25:40)

When I arrived here Down Range, a young priest friend of mine from Chaplain Basic Training was nearing the end of a 90-day deployment to the same unit to which SFC McG and I had been assigned. He's a Benedictine monk. Benedictines are noted for their hospitality, among other things.

Like Benedictine. (You know, the liqueur.)

But because I've been sober a while, I guess I won't pursue that avenue of discourse....

Anyway, I've been reminded of Fr. Paul often, because so many people here ask me if I've heard from him (I haven't, but they have -- how does *that* work?). The past couple of days I'm especially mindful of Paul and the Rule of St. Benedict, the foundational document for the living out of communal religious life in the western Church (and I don't mean California).

In the Rule of St. Benedict we read: "Hospes venit, Christus venit." (A guest comes. Christ comes.)

A beautiful sentiment notionally, and in the case of the Benedictines for many, many centuries now, lived out in exemplary fashion. Thirty years ago we Jesuit Novices studied the Rule of St. Benedict as we were preparing to study the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, in order to be able to compare the two rather different approaches to religious life in community.

That was the first time I'd ever heard the phrase, "Hospes venit, Christus venit." A lovely and charitable sentiment, as I've already mentioned.

One of the "older dads" from another Jesuit community was visiting our Novitiate for spiritual direction, and stayed for dinner the night after we Novices had been discussing the Rule of St. Benedict in class. At table, he asked us if anyone knew the "Jesuit version" of that Benedictine watchword.

No one did.

"Hospes venit, Christus venit: Crucifixe eum!" was his reply, beaming.

(A guest comes. Christ comes. Crucify him!)

I have had a room to myself for the past thirty years that I've been a Jesuit. I mention Benedictine vs. Jesuit hospitality, perhaps, because circumstances over here have made it such that my boss has moved into my CHU with me for possibly as long as three weeks....

He's snoring as I type this.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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Anonymous said...

Offer it up, Father. Offer it up. (smile)

1776 said...

You funny....

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