I have read many books by both Parker Palmer and Henri Nouwen. Thanks to Instagram I found out about a delightful podcast that I wanted to share here if you happen to be a fan of Parker Palmer and the intersection of his work with Henri Nouwen. One of my favorite books is Genesee Diary in which Henri chronicles the six months he spent at Abbey of the Genesee in 1978. A secular Franciscan friend of mine introduced me to Parker Palmer almost twenty years ago and since then I’ve read many of his books.
Last weekend at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in the coffee room I found a reflection on hospitality written by Henri Nouwen which really impacted me. I took a picture of the writing with my cell phone camera and mailed it to myself. I’ve transcribed some of it and included it here. I invite you to think about hospitality and what it means to be hospitable.
Hospitality means the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. Hospitality is the opening of an opportunity to others to find their God their way.
The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover their own songs, speak their own language, dance their own dances, free also to leave and follow their own vocations.