The ancient Christian monks of Ireland would establish bases next to villages or trade routes with the hope that various strangers would stop in and say “hi”.
The abbot of the monastery would stop whatever he was doing and visit with the stranger. In fact, if the abbot was in the middle of fast – he would break the fast in order to have a meal with the stranger!!
Talk about a different worldview then the Roman Catholic monks who considered their “spiritual fast” more important then honoring a stranger….
Back to the Celtic monks….
Why did the abbot act that way? Because of the “Ministry of Conversation”.[@more@]
The Ministry of Conversation is more then just talking to another person – It’s taking a personal interest in the life of the other person. What do they like? What is happening in their life – good and bad?
Or, to put it a different way, how do you feel when someone sincerely cares about you? Doesn’t it make you feel special? Loved? Cared for?
That is what the ancient Celtic monks where doing – they were loving the strangers who came to their door, regardless of why they came or who they were.
We, as the church, have lost the value of the Ministry of Conversation in lieu of “spiritual” actions.
As we move into a post-Christendom society, I pray that the church will recapture the value of conversation as demonstrated by the Celtic monks of yesteryear.