Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Guidelines

1. Through the Internet we exchange experiences and insights from our search of Sacred Scripture; from the teaching of the Magisterium and of the Christian mystical tradition; and from our daily practice of contemplative prayer.

2. In prayer we have a sense of union with one another who share the same commitment to the Magisterium of the Church in our contemplative prayer practice.

"Therefore, in order to say a little about this dark night, I shall trust neither to experience nor to knowledge, since both may fail and deceive; but, while not omitting to make such use as I can of these two things, I shall avail myself, in all that, with the Divine favour, I have to say, or at the least, in that which is most important and dark to the understanding, of Divine Scripture; for, if we guide ourselves by this we shall be unable to stray, since He Who speaks therein is the Holy Spirit. And if in aught, I stray, whether through my imperfect understanding of that which is said in it or of matters unconnected with it, it is not my intention to depart from the sound sense and doctrine of our Holy Mother the Catholic Church; for in such a case I submit and resign myself wholly, not only to her command, but to whatever better judgment she may pronounce concerning it. (St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Prologue, no. 2, p. I I in the E. Allison Peers translation, The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland.)

3. We commit ourselves to a basic Rule of Life. The rule of life must be congruent with our state in life. The rule provides a practical discipline of prayer: to practice silent prayer (called prayer of the heart, centering prayer or the prayer of union) in the morning and evening for at least twenty minutes each time; to share in the Holy Eucharist each Sunday and more frequently when possible; to pray the Liturgy of the Hours; to practice daily Lectio Divina based on the Scriptures; to study the writings of the mystics of the Church and compendiums of doctrine for example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church; to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly and to have some form of Spiritual Direction. The seriousness of our commitment to union with God in contemplation will be practically reflected in the time and space given to prayer, silence, solitude and simplicity of life. Each particular task of our state in life reflects God's will for the moment. Obedience to Gods will in love and the freedom of the Holy Spirit is the food of the contemplative.

4. Within the mystery of the Church we look especially upon Mary, the Mother of God, as model and advocate, intercessor for the grace of transformation in Christ and of openness to the Word Made Flesh, Jesus, our Lord.

5. We will be seek to avoid the influence of the spiritual culture that fosters relativism, syncretism, new age Gnosticism, and rebellion against the Magisterium in the guise of a more liberated and humanistic spirituality.

6. This steadfast commitment to the Church that is completely counter-culture, will be gentle and kind, not mean-spirited or querulous.

7. The contemplative life is lived in the mystery of the Trinity; of the Paschal Sacrifice and Glory of Jesus, the Son of God and the Christ; and of the Church as the Body of Christ. Abandonment in faith and love is the same in each of these dimensions of the one mystery of sharing in the Triune Divine Life. Thus, obedience to the Church is one with the loving mutual gift of the Persons within the Trinity and is one with the obedience of the Son who said "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work" (John 4.34). Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross taught that the mystical life of transformation in Christ does not separate us from the life of the Church, rather it immerses us even more profoundly within the mystery of the Church, "which is his body, the fullness of Him who fills all things" (Eph. 1.22) Openness to the Church Magisterium liberates the contemplative from the insatiable desire to know through controversial theological theories and from errors of private judgment on Revelation.

8. The contemplative life includes the affirmation of faith in the profession of the Christian message of salvation, the celebration of Christ's Mystery in the Liturgy and the abiding fight of Christ. The contemplative life also includes the unknowing of faith and the dark nights of purification: God enters into our hearts to dismantle our ingrained systems of selfishness and to free us from sin; and the Triune God draws us into Divine Union in relationship with the Persons of the Trinity beyond thoughts and the powers of our consciousness. This harmony of light and night, of affirmation and of unknowing, is expressed in the Prologue of St. John's Gospel: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." (1. 18). The kataphatic and apophatic are both dimensions of divine union in Christ.

9. According to our state in life and the promptings of the Holy Spirit we will engage in our daily work with a sense of the Presence of God; we seek out committed service in the apostolate of spreading the faith and in works of justice, peace, tending to the poor and needy.

10. The Affiliation recognizes the call to ecumenism. Contemplatives seek to discern how to be involved in this movement of the Holy Spirit according to the directives of Vatican II and the encyclicals of the Holy Father. We seek dialogue with all members of the Church, with all Christians and seekers of truth.

11. The Affiliation is not an official institute of the Church. It is a voluntary association of people who seek to follow the above guidelines.

Each week at this site we will publish a meditation on the liturgical readings of the Sunday's Catholic Lectionary and of the weekday's Gospel reading. The commentary will address the spiritual meaning of the readings. Periodically we will give selections from theological authors and advice on contemplative practice.


For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Fredrickson
Fredrickson46@msn.com