Margaret Anna Fridays: On Hospitality

It's a tradition on this blog to share some words of wisdom and inspiration on Fridays from the founder of my religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.  Known in religion as Mother Francis Clare, Margaret Anna Cusack was a prolific writer in her day. Given that our Chapter Call at our recent Congregation Chapter centered on hospitality, I thought I'd share her reflection on the Gospel story of Emmaus when the two disciples invited the traveller (Jesus), to sit with them at table.

1st Prelude. - Represent to yourself the room where Jesus reclines at table with His favoured hosts. 
2nd Prelude. - Pray that sweet Jesus may often visit you thus, and, reclining in the home of your heart, give you Himself, the living Bread. 
1st Point. - The faithful disciples not only constrain Jesus to abide with them, they also offer Him hospitality. Alas! even when we have constrained Him to abide with us, do we not too often forget His presence, and not only fail to offer Him the best we have, but sometimes even refuse Him what He asks for? How can we expect to know Him 'in the breaking of the bread,' if we have not entertained Him with the feast of sacrifice? How can we expect that He will manifest Himself to us at table, if we have not carefully prepared for His entertainment? Let us learn from the disciples how to invite Jesus, and how to entertain Him when we have invited Him. They invite Him by earnestness, and they entertain Him by love. 
2nd Point. - The disciples find Jesus in the ordinary duties of life. If we only sought for Him as we should do in these duties, how blessedly we should find Him! Then, indeed, we should truly know Him in the 'breaking of bread;' then our hearts would be constantly expecting it. What duty has He not hallowed? what employment has He not sanctified? If we walk, we may unite our steps to the steps of Jesus--at Passiontide, to His suffering steps; at Easter, to His glorified steps; at Christmas, to His infant steps; and in the long weeks of Pentecost, to His weary steps. If we think, we may unite our thoughts to His suffering thoughts, His infant thoughts, His glorified thoughts. If we sleep, we may unite our sleep to His sleep in Mary's arms, His sleep in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, or to His last sleep on earth. Why do we not unite our life to His life? It is our privilege; it should be our consolation and our only joy. 
3rd Point. - Consider how we may glorify the risen Heart of Jesus manifesting Himself at table. May we not try to do so in two ways? First, by endeavoring to unite ourself to the like actions of Jesus in every duty and employment, and by seeking to find Him and converse with Him in all; and secondly, by seeking to know Him 'in the breaking of bread.' Jesus is our life. He gives Himself to us in the Sacrament of the altar, and He has said Himself, 'he that eateth Me, same also shall live by Me.' (S. John, vi, 58.) This, then, is our life. Oh, let us seek it; let us love it; let us live on it; and seek more and more, in receiving it, that we may be incorporated into it, until, like the apostle, we may say, 'I live, yet not I, but Christ who liveth in me.' 
Aspiration. - Body of my risen Jesus, be my life. 
~M.F. Cusack, Meditations for Advent and Easter (1866)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Very beautiful and inspiring.