Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hospitality/Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday As today is Ash Wednesday, I thought it only fitting to share with you a few thoughts that I came away with from Day 3 of Living Sacraments:  Being a Sign of What We Believe.

The theme of the final day’s retreat was Loving Service as Sacrament.  What do we do as Christians to demonstrate to others that for us (as Catholics) the Eucharist becomes a verb that does justice through the gift of hospitality?

Father Lou shared with us that serving others is the greatest way that we can be Christ to others.  That through our hospitality we can live our life story that is connected to God’s story for our life and honor the sacredness that each person represents as a child of God.

Many of us already do this…as mothers, as wives, as husbands, as fathers, as sons and daughters.  We serve those that we love. But what about those we don’t love…don’t know?  Do we serve them?

As Christians,  the Season of Lent, of fasting and abstinence, is not simply a form of penance.  It is also a call for us to take stock of our spiritual lives. As Lent begins, we should set out specific spiritual goals we would like to reach before Easter and decide how we will pursue them.  For my husband, children and I, we will be looking for opportunities to serve Christ through the gift of hospitality…both to those we know and the strangers that come into our lives on a daily basis.

As I close, I’d like to share with you a simple example of hospitality in action from a few months ago:

junker

www.joesdiecastshack.com/archive.htm

After dropping Mary off at preschool, Benjamin and I ran through a cold, bone-chilling rain to our car. As I was strapping Ben into his car seat, a mom in a hurry whipped into the parking space next to me and ran into the preschool, obviously running late.  Before I had even got myself strapped in, she was back out to her car, frantically trying to start it.  (The car was an older model, very beaten up.)

I rolled down my window as rain/sleet spit  at my face and asked her if there was someone I could call for her.  With tears in her eyes, she thanked me, but said that she had a cell phone and could call her husband.  He was a mechanic and had been meaning to “fix” her starter, but just hadn’t gotten around to it.  She also mentioned that she was worried because she was running late and needed her job.

I knew what I had to do.

“Is there someplace that I can drive you to?”  Her face lit up and she asked if I could drive her to the gas station in town where she was a clerk.  It was a short 2-mile drive and yet she was so grateful…like I had just driven her 200 miles.  I can’t even tell you how good it felt to have provided a tiny bit of hospitality to this stranger.

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In the words of Bette Midler, “From a Distance”:

“God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us, from a distance.”  My prayer this Lenten season is that people of all faiths, of all religions, may look for opportunities to serve others and share the gift of hospitality.


7 comments:

  1. It´s usually those things as we se as little that means the most for those recieving it.
    Have a great day now!
    Christer.

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  2. It's a true sign of goodness when you know that you have been able to help someone in need.
    It's a great feeling! It's also good for our kids to see.

    Have a great day!

    Melinda

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  3. Beautiful post. It makes me want to cry. I think its just beautiful to see people who understand the meaning of these special times each year. And your such a good person. Helping others and trying to be selfless. Good for you. We can all learn from your example.

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  4. Well said my friends, well said!

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  5. Doesn't it just feel wonderful to be able to help others out and make a difference, no matter who big or small it may be? :)

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  6. You are such a sweetie to give her a lift. I was so happy to read in the previous post that the baby seems to be growing at the normal rate/ratio, however they determine these things. I still know whatever the outcome you and your family will all be okay!

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  7. Stopping by to tell you there's an award for you on my blog!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

Valerie