The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 66
Over the last couple of years, I have felt much like the porter at our parish. The circumstances of my life have been such that I am physically at the church for most of the working hours of the week. When I hear the clicking of the latch, the squeaking of the hinges, and the banging of the heavy wooden door against the frame down the hall, I rise from my work and stand to greet whomever will appear momentarily at the entrance to the church office.
The disposition of the porter towards the visitor that our Father Benedict describes in this chapter is a tall order to fulfill. St. Benedict is not simply interested in a butler's formal, detached politeness, but in a genuine celebration of the presence of Christ in the person of the uninvited guest. Such a disposition cannot be snapped into place like a clip-on bow tie, but must abide already in one's heart, awaiting the opportunity to be called forth.
The role of the porter offers a view of an inner posture that St. Benedict desires for us all to assume. It is a posture that receives whatever may come with an eye for where God is in it. It is a posture that remains free from entanglement within the deadlines and agendas that keep us from perceiving and welcoming Christ in the moment.
Let us, therefore, like the carol beckons, prepare room within our hearts for the Christ who comes to bring joy to the world. Let us seek to recognize the Christ who searches for a place to be born this night, and may we rise with welcome to receive his blessing.