"For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life." – William Blake
To welcome another person into one's life is to acknowledge the inherent uniqueness and dignity – the holiness – of another living being. It is to reject false notions of perfection, a word that actually once meant "complete".
And, is anything ever complete? Really? We like to think so because the perception of being whole or finished provides an opportunity to rest – sabbath from striving. But change is the essence of life and nothing is ever fully formed. We typically avoid words that remind us of this inevitability: detachment, decay, death... but these are merely terms that attempt to name natural processes essential for growth – for life.
Nothing grows forever. Nature imposes limits without favoritism. Nature rules.
St. Benedict, 6thcentury creator of the monastic system used in religious orders to this day, instructed his monks to “welcome the Divine in the stranger.” The guidelines used in religious orders are known collectively as The Rule of St. Benedict, which is based on the teachings of Jesus. Inviting and accepting fellow travelers is an opportunity to shed false notions of perfection in others, and in ourselves. We are wired to connect with each other. We just need to let go of ideas that prevent us from true hospitality, which has nothing to do with turned-down sheets or perfectly fluffed pillows. True hospitality is delight at seeing God in the visitor.
And we are all visitors. None of us will inhabit this planet forever.
We are all simply passing by.
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