So it has been a little while since my last post, but I have been a little busy. You see, the reason I began blogging again, arrived! So on November 14, 2012 at 5:26 p.m. Augustine (Gus) Charles Bryson arrived into this world. It was another moment of the in-breaking of God into the life of humanity. As one of my friends stated in his congratulations to me, “Gus in the Word made Flesh again, the ‘incarnation’ of your ‘I do.” This phrase just stays with me, how simple and yet how profound. This connection of a new life brought into this world brings such joy and such an overflowing acknowledgement of going beyond yourself and your own needs and desires–this in-breaking changes your perspective.
So when I began to blog, it was the beginning of the Year of Faith and my wife and were expecting our new little bundle of joy and I continued to ask of “What is this faith that I am going to pass on to my child(ren)?” What are the nonnegotiable of that faith. Well after this most life changing experience, all I can say is that at the heart of our faith is a call to conversatio, in the Benedictine Tradition, or another way to say a call to metanoia. This is the constant in-breaking call of God into our world calling us to change and be changed, to turn and be turned in our life.
St. Benedict writes in the Prologue of his rule, “Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.” The need for us as people to turn our attention to not just a mental awareness, but a single-minded focus that draws one to attend to a deeper understanding of that which is before them. The deeper reality that is drawn out when a new parent experiences a deeper connection to the new-born child is the connection to the transcendent reality. Similar to the experience of Thomas Merton on Fourth and Walnut when he was “awakened from the illusion of a ‘separate holy existence,’ Merton recognized his unity with others and his involvement in the in the world.” When a new parent looks this new baby in the eyes and studies his face and realizes that he is seeing at an extraordinary glimpse of himself. This becomes a call for a parent to awaken from their own illusions of a separate existence, when they awaken to discover their own humanity in the encounter with their new-born child and spouse, it truly becomes a moment of divine hospitality. Merton reminds all who search for God in their lives to live out their life as people of integrity so that the goal of life is toward integration.
“If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end that you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.”
One of the fundamental understandings of the primary end of the human condition is that humanity is made for community. Both in the active and the contemplative life, the role and relationship of community is able to speak to us as a means of knowing God at a deeper level and ongoing transformation in our lives and the lives of those we encounter. Hospitality still bridges the gap between community and solitude, action and contemplation. “You do not become good at loving the strain of being together in a family or a community if you have not yet learned to be alone.” In both cases, hospitality calls us to be a people of deep listening, one that can sit in the both the joys and sorrows, the sleepless nights and tireless days. Listening does not necessarily call the parent “to do” anything, but “to be” with the One who is before them, attentive to this person before them. This attentiveness in relationships grounds a spirituality of hospitality, action in contemplation to theology through sacramental principles and sacramental worldview. Personal transformation continues when theologically reflecting and an openness to the unfolding of the reign of God by being attentive. This integration brings a person’s, home, work, and spiritual life together to create an opportunity in the person for transformation, not only as a person, but also in the life of the family and community.
–How does this new in-breaking of God, call for a greater awareness and attentiveness?
–What is the new integration of life that is being called for through these moments?
 Christine M. Bochen, ed. Thomas Merton: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Christine M. Bochen, Modern Spiritual Masters Series (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2000). 38.
 Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999). 49.
 Daniel Homan, OSB and Lonni Collins Pratt Daniel Homan, Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love (Brewster, Massachusetts: Paraclete Press, 2002). 87.