This little chapter shows the importance of caring for the needs of the guest, the outsider, the one who does not belong. The Superior holds the place of Christ, and Benedict would have her behavior mirror Jesus' in this act of eating with those outside the community. We see here the (super)natural flow of spiritual formation from a disposition inward, cultivating knowledge and love of God, to a disposition outward, practicing love of neighbor.
Sr. Joan offers,
It was the abbot and prioress themselves who showed the community the price and the process of availability and hospitality and presence to the other. Hospitality was not a warm meal and a safe haven. Hospitality in the Benedictine community was attention and presence to the needs of the other. . . . And, as the presence of the abbot and prioress proves, none of us can afford to be too busy or too important to do the same.