This is our ninth week of contemplating the key foundations, “charisms,” of the spirituality that Venerable Patrick Peyton learned in his Religious Order, the Congregation of Holy Cross. This week we’ll be reflecting on the fourth charism: Hospitality.
Only once in the entire Bible is the Last Judgement depicted: in chapter 25 of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. In this well-known passage - when the Son of Man comes in His glory he separates the sheep from the goats ... - the sole criterion for judgement is whether one helped those in need. “When I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink ... As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”
That is hospitality! Take careful note of its beauty and depth. We are not talking merely of doing something nice for somebody because it makes me feel good! “YOU DID IT TO ME”: Saint Vincent de Paul said something echoed by many other saints: “The poor man is Christ”. See Christ in the poor! Yet to do so, the Spirit of Christ must be in me, and so we pray that in our acts of hospitality others see Christ in us. The man beaten and left on the road by robbers and the good Samaritan who helped him together manifest Christ.
As I write, now in the ninth week of COVID 19 restrictions in the US, it’s beautiful to see the courage, solidarity, and generosity of so many people, particularly medical staff and others, putting themselves in harm’s way for “the least of these my brethren”. As we applaud them and give thanks we need to realize that indeed it is Christ who is present and acting. We human beings have shown time and time again that we are incapable of sustaining this sort of goodness, left to ourselves! He stands at the door and knocks with open arms so that our hospitality will blossom to be what it is in fullness: DIVINE MERCY! Let’s be sure to let Him in!
About Father Jim Phalan, C.S.C.
Father James Phalan, C.S.C., is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of Holy Cross and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary as part of the Family Rosary team. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!