Hosting With the Holy Spirit

HOSPITALITY

May your home become a vessel of hospitality.
May your home become a vessel of hospitality. (photo: Shutterstock and courtesy of Bridget McCartney Nohara)

“Be hospitable to one another,” St. Peter encourages the faithful in 1 Peter 4:9.

After years as a guest, I began looking for patterns that I saw in hospitable homes in which I felt welcomed, relaxed and renewed.

What I discovered: Welcoming hosting is more of a charism, a gift given by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church. How can and should we cultivate this charism in our own homes?

 

Tend to the Details

Rather than be consumed about deep cleaning, I’ve tried to focus more on the details that serve my guests.

Prepare the thoughtful details: a vase of fresh-cut flowers, essential oils diffusing and a tray of snacks. Catholic home websites such as TheologyofHome.com and TheCatholicTable.com offer inspiration.

 

Ask What Guests Need 

Dining out of our home has become quite stressful due to my husband’s Celiac disease. Several times, hosts have reached out to us beforehand and asked how they can serve us. This question has provided tremendous relief and made us feel so valued. Now, this has become a routine courtesy I try to offer our guests.

Our Lord often dined with others. Allow your guests to enjoy the gift of your labors by ensuring they can partake in them.

 

Prep a Playlist

Never underestimate the transforming power of a well-curated playlist. Music can stir up fond memories, quell an uncomfortable silence, lend to conversation or reflect your gathering’s theme. Be sure to sprinkle in songs you know your guests enjoy. 

 

Listen

I so appreciate being in the company of people who ask good questions and truly listen. 

I’ve asked some of these people how they became such good listeners. I often hear in response, “I practice.” At Pentecost, people of all tribes and tongues communicated with ease and fervor. Ask the Great Communicator, the Holy Spirit, to teach you how to do so. Before your guests arrive, think about what you might like to talk about. What interests them? How do they like to spend their time? Reflect on your guests individually and prepare a few questions. Do your part ahead of time; then let the Spirit do the rest.

 

Be Present

Be attentive to the present moment. Strive to host more like Mary and less like Martha, “anxious and worried about many things” (Luke 10:41). 

I can be so tempted to apologize for a dust bunny under the couch. But the truth is, a guest is often only as relaxed as her host. Striving to be calmly present will allow your visitors to do the same. I have been Martha enough times to know: “Mary has chosen the better part” (Luke 10:42). 

Seek the Paraclete’s assistance. Pray before your guests come, that he might fill you with peace and allow you to extend that peace in return.

Summer is prime hosting season, so if you’re ready to host again, swing wide your windows and doors and let the warm air carry in good times. 

This season, may your home become a vessel of hospitality, where the Spirit is richly present and your guests well fed and blessed by fellowship.

Bridget McCartney Nohara writes from Ontario, Canada.