If I could live my life over, I wouldn't
want to be a best-selling author, Oscar winner or president of
anything. I would be a porter in an ancient Benedictine monastery.
The Rule of St. Benedict is the only book I know of that gives
instructions on how to answer a door.
St. Benedict wrote the job description
that fits my age, fancies and temperament.
He wants a "wise old man" placed at the
gate of the monastery whose "maturity will prevent him from
straying about." I am a 72-year old man, and wise because I don't
"This porter should have a room near the
gate" so that visitors may always have someone to receive them. I
would be the only monk in the monastery with a private office!
"Should the porter need help, let him have one of the younger
brethren." I would be a supervisor!
When a visitor knocks at the gate, I
answer with a hearty "Thanks be to God" or "A Blessing," I would
receive a blessing in return, knowing that the stranger has
something to give to me. I would show the visitor around the
monastery. This is not my duty. This is my privilege and a blessed
one it is.
Benedictine monasteries never close;
Benedictine porters never sleep. Like Christ's love, Benedictine
hospitality is always there.
St. Benedict wants a monastery that is
self-contained; water, garden and workshops are behind stone walls
so that monks rarely have to leave. It is a secret garden and I am
inviting you to share its abundant love with me.
I can be a porter in my hometown,
treating the people I meet as Christ would treat me. But it
wouldn't be as much fun. I couldn't wear sandals.