Meditation written and read by Cathy Tamsberg.
In the closet of each guest room at the Abbey there was a hot water bottle. I laughed when I saw it because I had not seen one in years. My instinct was to ask, “What is this for?” Then I quickly realized it was there to do what hot water bottles often do—keep your feet warm. It was only the first week of October, but the weather was chilly at night. So I could imagine even with the radiators heating the rooms that something to keep your feet warm in January would be welcome.
The hot water bottles were yet another loving touch offered as part of Benedictine hospitality by the Sisters. They are very frugal, so turning up the heat to make the rooms toasty is not an option. They don’t even heat their mostly-stone worship space most of the year. But they have capes and wraps hanging on the door outside of the guest worship space in case you get chilly during one of the Prayers of the Hours. Small, inexpensive yet very loving touches were all around us, enveloping each guest with care.
I wonder what kind of welcome we offer to others in our homes, in our workplaces, and in our church. Benedictines all over the world unselfishly offer to share whatever they have with total strangers. For example, there was no charge for our stay at the abbey and the request for a donation was very subtle. We could have slept and eaten there for a week for free. The Sisters have leased several acres of their property to a program that welcomes homeless and troubled people. The length of the lease: 25 years. The rent: zero. Hospitality is their way of life. Is there someone you need to welcome today—into a friendship, into your home or office, or into your heart?
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.