The spirit of hospitality in this chapter is not separate from the spirit of discernment. The welcome is of the visiting monastic as she is, and the ear of the community is tuned to hear what God has to say through the presence of the visitor. Our Father Benedict makes it clear, however, that the community is likewise responsible to perceive clearly whether that presence is helpful or harmful and to act accordingly.
Among the most powerfully transformative experiences I've had in recent years are those in which I have consciously participated in discerning who is safe and who is not when it comes to intimacy and shared life. I have been made aware of ways in which I have not been safe for others and ways in which others have not been safe for me and for my family. Such discernment processes are not comfortable or pleasant, and they often involve tension around idealized versions of the values of hospitality and welcome. Yet, if such discernment does not take place, an individual, a family, and/or a community is placed at the mercy of those who are unrepentant of their dysfunctions, and, as our Father Benedict indicates, the corruption of others is not far behind.
True hospitality is not blind to the brokenness that accompanies each human being. It does not deny the dangers that accompany the person who refuses to be mended. True hospitality is not accompanied by a need to call evil good.