Human life in the ancient wild meant that assisting guests, visitors, and strangers was a matter of life, and ignoring others a matter of death.
90. Significantly, many small communities living in desert areas developed a remarkable system of welcoming pilgrims as an exercise of the sacred duty of hospitality.
The Father of Western Monasticism also endorsed the virtue:
The medieval monastic communities did likewise, as we see from the Rule of Saint Benedict. While acknowledging that it might detract from the discipline and silence of monasteries, Benedict nonetheless insisted that “the poor and pilgrims be treated with the utmost care and attention”.[Regula, 53, 15: “Pauperum et peregrinorum maxime susceptioni cura sollicite exhibeatur”] Hospitality was one specific way of rising to the challenge and the gift present in an encounter with those outside one’s own circle. The monks realized that the values they sought to cultivate had to be accompanied by a readiness to move beyond themselves in openness to others.
People are surprised about this. They think of monastics, of Benedict, and his option as a retreat. But it is truly an engagement.
All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana