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No Higher Duty

Henri Nouwen, the great spiritual writer was going to a monastery for a

retreat. The monks observed vows of silence and the retreat was to be

meditative and prayerful. Nouwen was delayed and was late getting to the

monastery on that miserable, rainy night. He rang the bell, well after

bedtime, and was met at the door by one of the brothers. The brother warmly

greeted him, took his wet coat, brought him to the kitchen and made him a

cup of tea. They chatted in the late night hours and Nouwen began to relax

and feel ready for the retreat. But he knew this monk was supposed to

observe silence, so he finally asked him, "Why are you willing to sit and

talk with me?" The monk replied "Of all the duties of the Christian faith

and the rules of my order, none is higher than hospitality."

Rev. J. Burton Williams, The Reward of a Disciple

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