Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Guest House

There is a wonderful poem by Rumi that goes like this:

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I thought of this poem in a new way as I experienced both the monastery and myself as being a “guest house.” We welcome the Sisters of Saint Bede Monastery who this past Sunday truly became one with us in a profoundly moving ceremony. (For a photo album of the transfer ceremony and celebration that followed, click here.)

The president of the Federation of St. Benedict, Sister Susan Hutchens, said it well at the Sunday evening banquet. She stated that not only is our monastery a “receiving community,” but the Sisters of Saint Bede receive us as well. It is a mutual hospitality.

This was also true for the eight women who were with our community during the week of August 16—23. We welcomed five women to a week of the Benedictine Living Experience. They come from Michigan, Minneapolis, St. Joseph and Japan. At the same time, we welcomed the women in the Benedictine Women Service Corps for two weeks of training and formation in an exciting new venture with our monastery.

While the poet Rumi is talking about the many and ambivalent feelings that each human person hosts, I find great wisdom in the reality of being both guest and guest house to the persons who come into our lives. Yes, each has been sent as a guide from our good and gracious Host and they bring “a new awareness,” they are “clearing us out for some new delight.” We receive these women, and all our guests as a blessing and they give us the gift of receiving us as well. It is a mutual hospitality. We meet each other at the open door of our hearts.

poem available in The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

1 comment:

  1. .....wise words that remind me that even sorrow or disappointment has a meaning as it enters one's life. thank you for this writing