The abbot of New Clairvaux Abbey poses with friends of the monastery

Br. Christopher on Radical Welcome: As monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict we are called to practice hospitality and to welcome everyone as Christ. We consider our guests and visitors as a blessing sent from God for whom we are most thankful! When I was guest master, my goal was that everyone who came to us felt truly welcome and wanted. I regret the times I failed to honor our beloved guests.

Are our churches friendly and welcoming places? Some people stay away from church because they feel unwelcome. They may feel judged and condemned, still bearing the scars of a past in which they did the best they could at the time, or perhaps constrained by the present messy circumstances of their lives. They may feel they are not ‘holy’ enough to come to church. Because their lives are irregular, not up to the ideal, they may feel that they are not accepted. Clearly, that is not the example of Jesus, Who welcomes all.

As Christians, we are called to practice radical hospitality. People need to be loved and unconditionally accepted first, only then they will be enabled to transform their lives, not the other way around. Who is worthy of coming to church? Anyone who wants to be close to Jesus. He utters these wonderful words, “The one who comes to me, I will never turn away”. (John 6:37)

Prayers of Peace and Joy,

Your brothers of New Clairvaux

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