Jun 13, 2024

not conferring a favor

“[St. John Chrysostom] was particularly sensitive to the fragility of the stranger’s identity — a fragility resulting from his or her dependence on others. In a number of homilies, he developed this theme and warned his congregation to show ‘excessive joy’ when offering hospitality in order to avoid shaming the recipient:

The stranger requires much attendance, much encouragement, and with all this it is difficult for him not to feel abashed; for so delicate is his position that whilst he receives the favor, he is ashamed. That shame we ought to remove by the most attentive service, and to show by words and actions, that we do not think we are conferring a favor, but receiving one, that we are obliging less than we are obliged.”

That’s St John Chrysostom from, yes, the 4th century.

—Christine Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition