Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, January 21, 2011

Feast of Saint Meinrad--Patron of Hospitality

Good morning. We read in the Gospel for this twenty-first day of January from Mark’s Gospel how Jesus selected His Apostles (Mk 3:13-19).  “He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles…”  It is interesting how the Apostles were so diverse in their various gifts and personalities;  in fact one of the select twelve would even come to hand over the Lamb of God for slaughter. Like the twelve Apostles each of us are given various gifts, but one we are all called to is that of hospitality. I think about this today as we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Meinrad, the Patron of our town and the Patron Saint of Hospitality.  Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a community of some 100 Benedictine monks which shares our town with us, prides themselves in the living out of Chapter 53 of the Rule.  Saint Benedict says: "Let all guests that come be received like Christ Himself, for He will say 'I was a stranger and ye took Me in.”  Yet, I always feel somewhat torn on this day every year as we find ourselves celebrating the feasts of two wonderful Saints.  In addition to it being the Feast Day of Saint Meinrad (Benedictine Ordo), it is also the Feast Day of Saint Agnes (Roman Ordo).  My fondness for Saint Meinrad might be fairly clear given he is the Patron of our town and our parish community. I likewise have a fondness for Saint Agnes as it is a reminder of someone very near and dear to me.  Hospitality is a gift we are all called to, but both of these individuals clearly reflected the gift of hospitality in their day to day lives.  The one, Saint Meinrad, I’ll leave to you to read about.  The other, Aggie likewise was quite gifted and lived daily the call to hospitality.

Aggie, for me, was the epitome of hospitality.  Aggie never met a stranger, and she always had a pot of the world’s best coffee waiting for anyone who graced her doorway.  I know of only one instance of her ever shying away from welcoming someone at her door, and given that door to door sales person’s perpetual incapacity for understanding the word ‘No!’ there isn’t a person alive that could fault Aggie for that.  This gift of hospitality is one that most of us probably need to work harder at; I know I could take a lesson from Aggie.  It is something which as parents we need to work at instilling in our children. Given the estranged nature of our culture, we need to be about instilling in our children the gift of welcoming people into their lives, especially those often discarded by others—the socially and economically marginalized, the elderly, the sick, and those with physical, emotional, and mental challenges. One way to instruct our children in the way of hospitality is to freely discuss the scriptures amongst our family, especially those that note our call to reach out to others.  I know my wife has done well to teach our children, for she learned from one of the best; her mother taught her well.  We miss you Aggie!  Why not share the lesson of hospitality from the Life of Saint Meinrad with your children today. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life and works of both Saint Agnes and Saint Meinrad.

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