Maybe it’s a regional thing, but for years I’ve heard it said, “Watch out, company’s coming!” (or something similar) when someone dropped silverware. Of course, no one believes that there’s any real connection between these two things, but we say it anyway.
I’ve even heard that this superstition can be extended to saying that if it’s a fork you drop, your visitor will be a woman and if it’s a knife, you’ll receive a gentleman caller.
In that case, someone must have dropped four forks last night at suppertime because we were blessed with a visit from four of our Sisters from Hankinson this morning. They had a meeting here, and in conjunction with this, they were able to join us for Mass and dinner. Their voices added nicely to the singing for this memorial of St. Augustine. Later, at dinner, their mouths aided us again, enabling us to polish off the remainder of my ice cream cake.
Hospitality is a beautiful thing. The author to the Hebrews exhorts his hearers: “Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.” (13:2) I am not saying that our sisters are angels, though I do appreciate their company. However, Jesus Himself said in Matthew’s gospel that whatever we do to the least of His brothers, we do to Him (25:40). Hospitality, therefore, may be a way of going beyond simply entertaining angels (or ordinary visitors); it may be looked at as an opportunity to serve Christ.
In my experience, hospitality, that is, having “company coming,” can also be of service to those doing the hosting. It is something different to look forward to, different people to visit with, and a chance to catch up. It can add a little spice to everyday life. I am grateful for our visitors.
Next time I discover that someone’s dropped some silverware again, and company is on the way, I hope I remember to say a prayer of thanksgiving and also pray for blessings on those who will be blessing us with their presence.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann