The phrase All Shall be Received as Christ is one that characterizes Benedictines-- it is in the Rule of Benedict, the guidelines, per se, that outline Benedictine community life. If you've ever experienced Benedictine hospitality, hopefully you can affirm that you were truly received as Christ.
As I was journaling on this principle I reflected on the dignity of each person. All are sacred, not some. Dignity of any person, or thing or place, is not ours, and not ours to take away. There is something about treating others as one would like to be treated (hey!--the Golden Rule, just as we were taught when we were young). This came up one day as a "teachable moment" when I was volunteering at Benedictine. No matter the level of functioning of the exceptional students, they are still youth who need to be reminded of the Golden Rule... as do all of us.
When respect is given to others, it is in the spirit of respecting God-- offering respect to God and the Divine spirit in each person. Similarly we respect ourselves. It is not our choice to determine or be selective as to whom is good/bad, right/wrong, worthy or not of respect and love, and so on. I can see where we need this reminder in daily life: to uphold the dignity of each and treat each as Christ in our thoughts and words and actions. All human life is sacred.
I had a wonderful conversation about life with someone I just met this week. About her ex-husband she said something that really spoke to me, “Right now he’s doing the best he can. I’m doing my best, and he’s doing his best too.” This may not be an appropriate approach to every situation of conflict, but then again, it may. It brings me right to the dignity of each person; dignity which we cannot judge.
Whether I’m working with youth or youthful vintage, with friends or a new face, approaching each with reverence and respect is a goal I renew each day. No matter how well we know someone, there is always a piece of her story hidden from view. She is doing her best—can be encouraged to do so. And I encourage each of us to do the same.