Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings




First Sunday in Advent, Cycle C

November 28, 2021

Readings: Jeremiah 33.14-16; First Thessalonians 3.12-4.2; Luke 21.25-28, 34-36

May he strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his holy ones (Second Reading).

Advent is waiting in hope for the coming of Christ.  Christ is fully and really with us now, but now His presence is hidden as the process of redemption is being worked-out.  At this time of Advent we are called to move deeper into the Christ mystery. 

As the Word became flesh and as the Lord Jesus will come to establish his Reign on the last day, so we hope now that the Son will draw us deeper into the mystery of His union with the Father in the Holy Spirit.

  Our sacramental participation in the Liturgical Mystery of the Church is the realization of this ever-deepening union, trusting in the signs of the Scripture proclaimed and the breaking of the bread and the cup offered—
His presence as sacrifice and life renewed. 

Paul asks God to strengthen our hearts in the light of this coming.  He prays that our hearts be blameless and holy when Jesus comes again.  Jesus will bring us into the Father and thus into the full communion of redeemed humanity and creation. 

It follows that all prayer must be Advent prayer from the center of the heart.  The silent, simple prayer of the heart has to do with the naked intention of becoming blameless and holy because God is holy.  God is to be revealed in Christ to all creation at the end of the days.  All prayer is an inner preparation for the great reality of Christ, All in all.

May the Lord increase you and make you overflow with love for one another and for all even as our love does for you (Second Reading). 

A deepening prayer practice brings us into our heart.  Contemplative prayer is heart prayer.  It is a simple act, simple as God is simple. 

Grace moves and elevates the prayer intention of love to share in God’s love, to share in God’s life, for God is love.

Prayer of the heart is love prayer.  In that simple intention in the silence of our hearts we embrace the entire human family with the infinite love of God.  We achieve that level of prayer because Jesus is the one who prays within us by the Holy Spirit. 

However, most of us still have a way to go, even though in hope we are there now by grace in the paradox of the Kingdom already realized in glory.

  [S]o you must learn to make still greater progress (Second Reading).

  Advent is opening the door to progress on the pilgrim  road.

In the contemplative prayer practice, we make progress by praying silently in a simple intention of love.  We progress when we let go of the ingrained orientations of the self, that is, the self–will, disoriented from God’s will.  These disorientations are reinforced by our life-styles:

Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares.  The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap (Gospel Reading).

These words of warning come from the lips of Jesus. That image of the trap springing on us causes a sudden bolting from the quiet of our contemplative approach to our spiritual life.  Or is it that part of the awe and reverence that brings us into the silence and the watching of Advent?  Jesus teaches us of the seriousness of the vigilance that is necessary in the warfare of this present life.

The First Sunday of Advent is placing a moral responsibility before us.  We become who we choose to be.  God’s choice or my choice?  The world’s choices or the Gospel’s choices?  Do I choose life or death, light or darkness?  Do I choose grace that liberates or self-sufficiency that enslaves?

Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect, and to stand secure before the Son of Man (Gospel Reading).

 It is in the simple return to resting in God’s will that we are open to receive the strength “to stand secure.”

Our heart prayer is founded on the saving power of Christ.  Our prayer is Advent prayer, hoping absolutely in Christ’s power to save:

In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure, this is what they shall call her:  "The Lord Is Our Justice" (First Reading).

Advent is a time of entering into greater silence and solitude.  During this time then we can examine the environment of our silence: time given to TV, background music, radio, i-Pod sounds and i-Pad that makes the word available immediately; the need to be always reading or listening to something; time spent reading magazines and papers; time spent chatting on the Web; entering into needless debates over religion and politics. 

Do we fear solitude and are addicted to being in the crowd?  Are we willing to rest in the Divine Word without seeking words, concepts and intellectualizations, and constant “figuring it out?”  We could revisit our rules of life to see if we can order our life more in the spirit of silence and solitude.  It’s the time of new beginnings.  Let the infused virtue of hope purify our memory and open us up to horizons that are hidden in God.  Advent is all about hope.

This is a quote from H. Von Balthasar’s  Praying,( p. 80-81“The man who knows of the fountain of God’s truth and love which is continually welling up at the center of his being will feel compelled to keep returning thither to cleanse, renew and refresh his whole being….Spirit is the implanting of the Word (the Son), the seed of the Father, into the soul.  That is the witness of the Spirit, the final condition which makes contemplation possible.” 
Advent is the work of this implanted Seed, the Word made flesh.
Participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass, especially at the moment of Holy Communion, is the anticipated immersion into the Kingdom, now in Advent hope.

--William Fredrickson, (Secular Oblate OSB; D.Min.)



For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Frederickson