Hospitality – the forgotten virtue

A couple of months ago I was invited to speak on the Made for Love podcast, to discuss hospitality.

The host, Sara Perla, heard about my article online and asked me to be one of the guests.

After several trial and error runs, we finally managed to get a good run and record a conversation. We ended up discussing a lot more than just hospitality and ended up actually having a really great conversation.

Turns out, Sara and I share many experiences, and it was really nice and encouraging to discover another kindred spirit, though one living thousands and thousands of miles away.

Sara runs the Made for Love podcast, one initiative of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and discusses different topics in each episode.

This one came out a few days ago. Initially, I felt hospitality was a difficult one for me to talk about, as I wasn’t sure I had that much to offer as a single person.

That was until I realised it was one aspect of an issue I feel very passionately about, and that is the dismal state of Christian community in our world.

Hospitality used to be part and parcel of Christian communities. Scripture is flush with stories and parables intimating the importance of hospitality. Christ made this most palpable when He said in the parable, what you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me (Mt 25:40).

Even the cliché of borrowing a cup of sugar from one’s neighbour has its basis in the Christian virtue of charity.

Sadly in our disconnected, technologically-driven world, hospitality seems to have become the forgotten virtue of our time.

Whatever happened to opening our doors to our neighbour at the drop of a hat? Having people to stay without question when in need?

Mobile phone technology, big city-life and our increasingly anti-Christian culture all seem to be combining to destroy these virtues which naturally spring from a Christian ethos and way of life.

In many ways, this is what The Benedict Option is seeking to combat, though perhaps somewhat inadvertently. Developing a village mentality in which community can truly flourish and grow precipitates the flourishing of Christian virtues, like hospitality and charity.

Anyway, enough from me. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think:

See the original podcast page here.

17 thoughts on “Hospitality – the forgotten virtue

  1. “Oh my God”,Anna Hitchings you are truly remarkable-you have the most beautiful heart-your parents must be so proud-they are obviously wonderful wonderful people. God bless you little lady.PS you are right about technology ,never have people more disconnected from each other in the hospitable sense.

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  2. I agree with the commentators on the Podcast.
    I think you hit the nail on the head with your suggestions as to the need to initiate social interaction and opportunities for sharing and caring (hospitality) amongst Christians….now to get church leadership to be more supportive of that.
    If I had my way, I would close the door on the church building on Sundays, and offer people the opportunity to meet in homes local to their area, where they can get to know their neighbouring brothers and sisters in The Lord more personally, and give of themselves and receive from others in practical and targeted help for spiritual, emotional and yes, even physical, health and well-being.
    From that forum would come an awareness of individual interests, skills and needs that can be utilised within the home group, and communicated out to other home groups in the area, so that we the church get a chance to serve, and perhaps to be served by others, using our particular storehouse of gifts (faculties/qualities/talents).
    Let’s pray that The Lord through His mercy and grace gives this ‘sense of Christian Community’ ball a boot along, it is an urgent need and inherently important, indeed crucial, to the good health of the Christian Way!

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    1. Hi Tony , in Australia we used to have a multi millionaire tailor called Rubein F Scarf, if my memory serves me correctly he was of Christian Lebanese origin. This guy made his money during that time before the arrival and flux of the corporatisation. He wrote a book called the Power of Three. You might say where am I headed with this? Well Rubén came to the realisation fairly early on in his career that money for money sake is just that ,its money-a thing. He had money and voraciously pursued it as an end in itself,till one day he came to the realisation that that path had quiete literally divorced from his very own humanity,if you like the pursuit of money had made him an inhospitable creature. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Scarfs book the Power of Three was really his antidote to our greed or callousness. It didn’t matter whether you were a practicing Christian or not, his idea was that we needed to embrace our fellow man with the Christian concept of love of neighbour. Now his idea and he put into practice was to meet people and furnish their human needs first- in other words money and our own self interest doesn’t enter the frame and as such we embrace others as Christ did without ulterior motive-sincerely. What Scarf found was when he embraced people with genuine hospitality ,he actually realised that this was the key to his own happiness ,self worth and enjoyment of life. He actually said that the more” I embraced the will of God the more money I made and the less I cared for it”. So in short Tony Christianity itself is the only way to conduct our lives and I mean that in a business sense as well.Life is about relationships ,in other words loyalty-sure we all may have to work a little harder and know doubt God will keep his end of the deal and we will be both be happier and wealthier as a result of the covenant of hospitality. Tony I’m a firm believer that present day corporate rissoles should be taxed on the amount they turn over and as such be encouraged to to downsize and return family businesses back to our communities where they rightfully belong. The world can do without the corporate con job that has ransacked our lives ,health and culture. Tony I totally agree with your ideas but we also need to push back- people need to wake up to themselves holus bolus and that their labour,productivity and hard earned is all ultimately corporate garbage.

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      1. I’m not disputing your claims, but if we Christians wish to show a ‘brighter light’ to this world and influence change for the better, we need to develop a better sense of community amongst ourselves first.
        We can chastise the world if we like, but my main concern is the welfare of those that have given their loyalty to Jesus, and for many their basic needs for companionship and care are not being met by those who should, namely by their brothers and sisters in the Lord.
        Jesus said that…all that do the will of His Father in Heaven are His brothers and sisters and mothers (so are acting like family)…..
        We need to make sure we act like family, and firstly make sure our own house is in order and that we haven’t a member of our own family unnecessarily suffering, as well as show hospitality to those that are on the outside (influenced by ungodly principles for life).
        Shalom 🙂

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  3. I always consider my Granny the best at hospitality. She definitely had the gift. Didn’t matter who my mom brought home with her, they were always fed and left with something (food or knitted item). Dare I say I blame Tim Hortons and Starbucks into getting *out of our homes* and sacrificing that warmth and sharing of your own food or coffee, for the price of…? I’m not sure. In university days we’d go to coffee shops late at night as to not disturb our parents. Or just go out just because. I was one of the first to get my own place, and I missed that connection. It still seems lost within my generation.

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  4. Yeh same deal Alyssa, I had an Aunty May who used to knit the same face washers year in year out ,she never married and never had much materially, but she exuded warmth . She was great at telling tales (in house family stuff)this generally kept post courting adults on their toes. In hindsight though she never had kids of her own, some of us kids life’s greatest lessons came from her . People never had much and up until the arrival of the corporate culture they never needed much. “Oh Australia how I miss you”.

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    1. This is ridiculous. When we as a nation let in all-comers we eventually lose any sense of shared identity and social cohesion. Part of the problem identified by Miss Hitchings are a consequence of destructive multiculturalism and the misguided and prideful notion that we can accommodate everyone and fix all their problems.
      The institutional Church has much to answer for here in recklessly encouraging mass immigration, which is a reason why our society is so fractured and resembles a multi-national shopping mall more than a country.

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      1. Some of this is probably self-preservation. The Anglos aren’t showing up at church so much anymore. In order to fill at least some pews the Church needs people from other countries.

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      2. Thanks Dimitri-your response has been very instructive. I wasn’t 100% sure about this page, but you have helped to crystallise my concerns. I will look elsewhere for Christian interaction.

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    2. I think it’s an interesting topic. I’m from Canada, so my great-grandparents came here in time of need, literally. Or else they’d probably have died either from starvation or murder in White Russia. Although for Canada at the time, it was pretty much a majority Christian nation, but that tide has turned. Is it due to the world and the changing need for God? Is it due to welcoming other people of different faiths in? It’s an interesting question.
      I can only imagine how much my great-grandparents relied on God at the time in their own countries, and had to flee because of (religious) persecution etc. They did find freedom of religion here somewhat (we couldn’t vote till the 1950s mind you), but in an age of multi faith, how can we all get along and practice our own faiths in the same country? (of Canada… not sure how Australia is dealing with this). We should get to know our neighbour. Can we love each other and not share the same God?

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  5. …… and in the church too, when the doors are closed after Sunday Mass or Worship Service, and the single person goes home to a lonely existence, a single parent goes home with their children and no social interaction with other like minded families and children, an aged couple go home to their isolation…. ….. all with financial and emotional stresses that we know nothing about, or care to help them with!
    How grieving this is to ourselves that we find this state exists, how intensely grieving it must be to our Lord, and Father.

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