Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings

The following is a meditation on the liturgical readings for thenext Sunday.  The references are given so you can read them in your Bible or directly from the Roman Misal.  Direct quotes from the Readings are in bold print.  The meditation is geared toward the call to practice a contemplative form of prayer as part of a response to the full life of Christ we share within the Church. 

 Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Cycle A,   August 13, 2017 

Readings: Isaiah 56.1, 6-7; Romans 11.13-15; 29-32; Matthew 15.21-28


The Mystery of the Divine Presence: the Gift of the Holy Spirit


The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ within my consciousness of awareness and will calls me to receive Him as the absolute reality of my life. 


What enables me to enter into this Presence, joyfully and spontaneously on occasions and other times to accept a discipline of prayer that eases me into communion?  The gift of the Holy Spirit empowers me to enter into this interior presence.  No one knows the Son but the Father and no one knows the Father but the Son, and anyone to whom this is revealed.


The Call in the Midst of Obsacles


So much of my contemporary culture denies Him; so much of my interior movements run from Him and his light.  Yet in spite of all this He is there with this deep interior call of Spirit to spirit.


I cry after him; I am persistent.  Lord, heal me.  Lord, allow me to see all in your light.  I cry after him but He seems to give me no word of response.  All around me and even within me there is the strong suggestion: “Do not cry out after him.  It is an embarrassment in the face of what seems real and reasonable. 


The world’s advice: Work out things like everyone else. Rely on your resources; forget the vision of dwelling in the light of divine union as an absolute reality.  Seek rather the great myths of the spiritual masters; there are many paths to God.”


One Other Obstacle: My Unworthiness


Consciousness of my sinfulness and inadequacies is an another fact looming  before me which can be an obstacle.  It is, of course, that I am entirely unworthy that He should enter under my roof.  What is there in me that is worthy to sit at His table and sup with Him in an intimacy of friendship and love. The Gospel Reading:  It is not right to take the food of the children and feed it to the dogs. 


Can I really accept my condition of being so unworthy of God and His Christ?  Am I really able to accept the condition of being as the Canaanite woman who presented herself before Jesus?  Who am I in the grand scheme of universal realities?


It is out of the profound realization of my unworthiness, the beginnings of humility, that the path to divine union begins.  Upon that realization of my condition becomes the moment leading to the act of faith.


The woman knows her condition but she is rewarded because of her faith.  Woman, you have great faith!  Your wish will come to pass.


The Door to Divine Presence: Absolute Faith


The condition for divine union is faith.  God must possess me through faith.  Faith is the complete, absolute surrender of my most intimate powers of judgment and discernment into the revelation of God in Christ.  All that is presented about Christ and God in the fullness of revelation held within the living teaching power of the Church must be accepted.  Hold nothing back. 


Do not leave one iota of opinion or of intellectual speculation as your own in opposition to the Teaching Authority.  This is door into the fullest divine intimacy.  There is no other door.


Some in the Church relish “the grey matter of their brains” as recent article in a Catholic magazine called it, in dissent from the teachings articulated by ecclesial authority.  This overly intellectualizing of aspects of the faith in opposition to the common teaching of the Church results in the deprivation of a deep divine union with God in Christ in the simplicity of faith. Unless you become as little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God,


Once we allow God to possess us through faith, a faith that goes beyond, but does not contradict, our own powers of reasoning, then God allows us to possess fully the Holy Trinity by sharing in divine charity.  The gift of sanctifying grace is our elevation into the love-life of God.  God must possess me first by faith so I can possess Him in the divine union of love.


Faith Is the Servant of Divine Union through Love


It is true that faith only gives one a partial, imperfect light into God because faith is clothed in human words that carry the divine reality as in a mirror, darkly.  But that is not the point.  Faith is the surrender so that God can possess us, not that we can possess God completely in faith.  Charity that flows from faith enables us to possess God immediately and ever more increasingly through grace and theological virtue of charity, God’s love poured into our soul through the Holy Spirit.


If our faith surrender is not complete, our love cannot reach its capacity for full divine union; we hold back from God’s invitation to believe so we can love.


The Canaanite woman plunged into the depths of faith in her great act of humility.  It was not her grey matter that yielded the breakthrough into Christ.


The Second Reading: Humanity’s Proclivity to Disobedience


The Second Reading speaks of the disobedience that is present in the lack of faith.  God has imprisoned all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all.  God has permitted the human condition of our restlessness, our squirming out of the divine embrace.  Reconciliation comes first through the obedience of faith.  God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.  


The great existential reality is the mystery of our union with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.   Nothing can change that. 


The modern heresy of some theologians in the Church is the attempt to mold the Church’s proclamation that Jesus is Lord and Savior, Son of the Father to the intellectual culture of our times. 


All the opinion polls of our modern society can say that a new paradigm of religious belief is prevalent.  Even a Jesuit theologian can write a book entitled, Jesus, the Symbol of God,  which the Church had to call profoundly erroneous since its premises ultimately lead to a denial of  the divinity of Christ and the Trinity.  But the irrevocable reality of Christ in all his fullness remains no matter what speculations are made on the level of theological meanderings among members of the theological guild.  What is essential is that I move into absolute faith and not to squander the gift of divine union.


The First Reading: All Are Called to the House of Prayer


Isaiah proclaims the great gift of faith that will be for all the peoples, beyond even holy Israel.  For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.  The Canaanite woman is one of the first to fulfill this prophecy.  I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer… the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, ministering to him... .


At the Holy Eucharist especially we find our place in the house of prayer.  No more receiving the crumbs from the table but seated as children of the Father at the banquet of the Body and Blood of the Lord, sharing in the very life of the Trinity in our Holy Communion.  We approach the table of sacrifice with humility and faith that we may share in the banquet of divine union.




--William Fredrickson, Oblate(secular) of St. Mary's Benedictine Monastery, Petersham, MA and Doctor of Ministry, Drew University, NJ



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