Chapter 66 of the Rule reveals another important principle in the spiritual life: first impressions set the tone for what follows. Hence, the choice of a good porter (now often called a Guestmaster) is crucial.
I found it interesting that the person should be an older monk, someone not prone to “roaming about” (66:1). I think this is more than just physical limitation; this is choosing a person who really enjoys greeting people.
The role of the porter is essential because this monk is the first person to bless those who come to the front door of the monastery—“a prompt answer with the warmth of love” (66:4).
If you’ll allow me a moment of mild humor, let me put it this way: if I were King, I would decree that Chapter 66 of the Rule “be read throughout the kingdom.” We just cannot underestimate the value of having people at the front doors of our businesses, schools, churches, restaurants, hospitals, law offices, etc.—who can bless people and make them feel welcome. This goes for telephone greetings and emails as well.