"Viewing each person who comes for spiritual direction as a Divine Presence keeps me ever prayerful for the ability to see the face of Christ in all those we meet. This kind of hospitality challenges me to be completely grounded in the Presence of God in the other because it is so easy to do otherwise.
"By receiving strangers and attending to their needs, Christ manifested God's love. By being a welcoming presence to those who came to him, he modeled the manner by which we are called to receive others. Manifesting this concept in our daily lives gives us ample opportunity for personal reflection and growth. But as I have discovered, nowhere does this understanding of hospitality more profoundly apply than in my ministry as a spiritual director. Most of those who come for direction are seeking to recognize God in their lives and to grow in their relationship with God, self, and others. As a spiritual director, I have a unique opportunity to mirror hospitality to directees as Christ did to those who came to him. While I write from a Christian perspective, I believe this understanding of hospitality and its application to spiritual direction transcends religious boundaries. A short story illustrates my point.
"In 1991, I was part of the coordination team for an international gathering attended by several people from India. I noticed that when they met one another, they would bring their hands together, raise them toward their foreheads, and bow their heads slightly in the direction of the person. Puzzled by this gesture, namaste as it is commonly known, I inquired about its meaning. I learned that it meant, 'I bow to the divinity in you' or 'The divinity in me greets the divinity in you.' For me, seeing this 'divine presence' in every person parallels the specifically Christian ideal of 'seeing all as Christ,' and thereby has universal implications for spiritual direction regardless of the religious tradition from which directees, or we, come. While some may not have previously thought of spiritual direction within this framework of hospitality, I think that the principles as described aptly apply. In essence, the heart of the hospitality I describe is being this welcoming presence to all who come by fully embracing the Mystery of each person, of each situation, as he, she, or it is encountered."