Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings


The Meditation


Thirty-second Sunday of the Year; Cycle C, November 10, 2019
Readings: 2nd Maccabees 7.1-2, 9-14; 2nd Thessalonians 2.16-3.5;
Luke 20.27-38
The Contradictions to Contemplative Presencre
The grace of contemplative prayer brings us into the immediate Presence of the Triune God through faith, hope, and charity-love.
Nevertheless, we can still feel lonely and isolated at other levels of our conscious life.  Prayer is lived out not only in the context of our wounded inner self but also amid the night of this world’s systematized secularization.  We experience dissonance between the divine Presence and what is happening around us.  It seems that little in the cultural atmosphere validates our life in God.
Even in the Church we can feel marginal because of the dissent of those members, many in important teaching positions, who want to compromise with the world’s agenda of secularization.  We carry the burden of all the short-comings of fellow worship members, the failings of the clergy.
The Second Reading: God’s Consolation in the Dark Nights
We must remember that we are called to live in the dark night of faith.  Our intention of love may at times feel merely a delicate flame, flickering in the strong winds blowing against it.  God, however, does not want us to remain without consolation.  God wants to console us by being with us.  Be consoled and listen to God’s Word in the Second Reading: 
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and may God our Father who loved us and in his mercy [through grace (RSV)] gave us eternal consolation and hope, console your hearts and strengthen them for every good work and word.
The Second Reading tells us that God’s consolation comes in the middle of our difficulties of faith. 

Pray that we may be delivered from confused and evil men.  For not everyone has faith.

Our imperfections and the occasions of our weakness of faith should not be projected into God.  We are faithless in our weakness.  But God keeps faith in His power. 

God is faithful and consistent.  The Lord however, keeps faith; he is who will strengthen you and guard you against the evil one (The Second Reading). 

The Second Reading finally proclaims the bedrock of our contemplative life.  The Person of Jesus in His Holy Spirit rules our hearts.  The name of Jesus is written on our hearts.  The mission of Jesus is to be the Gatekeeper of our hearts.  The Lord, ready to be called upon, guards our hearts from consenting to despair and to listlessness, “a not-caring anymore.”  Our ancestors, the desert fathers, cautioned that spiritual sloth, acedia, even more than pride is insidious in destroying our spiritual life by lessening our resolve in the discipline of fidelity.    
May the Lord rule your hearts in the love of God and the constancy of Christ.
  “The constancy of Christ” is the power of Jesus’ death on the Cross and the inevitable victory of His resurrection and ascension.  Our consolation is based on the constancy of Christ.
The First Reading: The Constancy of the Martyrs in the Old Testament, Prefigures Christ’s Resurrection
The First Reading celebrates the constancy of our Jewish ancestors.  Four young brothers, one by one, profess their faith and love for God, and then die under torture rather than be unfaithful.  They do not indulge in situational ethics.  They do not try to rationalize the easier alternative.  They do not take refuge in the acceptable pluralistic guideline of blending the faith and practice with a religious path that is sympathetic to the “world religions” yet, at the same time, opposed to God’s Revelation.  Conscience is not the ultimate guide, it is Revelation and Orthodox Catholic teaching enlightening conscience.
Life in Christ is not an academic course in comparative religions.
These brothers prefigure the death of Christ on the Cross.  Their statements of faith in their resurrection based on their constancy in God’s Word prefigure the unique resurrection and ascension of Jesus our Savior. 
You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.  It is for his laws that we are dying…. It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the God-given hope of being restored to life by him; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life (First Reading).
The Gospel Reading: Opposition to the Resurrection Reality
In the Gospel Reading we see that part of the opposition to Jesus comes from the Sadducees.  They were a powerful and wealthy class of the Jewish priestly leadership who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead.  Jesus consoles us with the reality of resurrection but it is a reality only in the constancy of the Cross.  By the power of resurrection, the  living flame of the mystical love of God revealed to Moses in the burning bush consumes us even in our death.
“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11.25).  The “ I Am” of Christ’s resurrection is one with the “I Who Am” of Yahweh’s revelation to Moses.  The power of God that consoles us is resurrection from the dead.  Now in the autumnal deadening of nature, this Gospel Reading consoles us with the power of Easter Sunday! 
God is not the god of the dead but of the living.  All are alive for him.
The other synoptic Gospels (Matthew 22.29 and Mark 12.24) go further to remind us that the reason why the Sadducees erred was because they were ignorant of God’s Word and His power.  We of ourselves are powerless.  But that should not make us sad or disconsolate.
Our consolation is to rest in the power of God and the Sacred Scriptures lived out in the communion of the Church. 
Our Powerlessness Calls Forth Faith
Yes, we are powerless.  That’s our nature.  We accept it.  That’s humility.  God is all-powerful in the resurrection of His Son, Jesus.  That’s the divine nature of the Triune God: life, love and light in the essential relationship of the Triune Being.  That’s our consolation.
Sons of the resurrection, they are sons of God (Gospel Reading). 
Every man, woman and child living, born anew of water and the Spirit and living in grace, live in the power of Christ’s resurrection.  In the Holy Eucharist, in the Sacrifice of the Mass, we offer thanks through Christ in the Holy Spirit to the Father that we are so consoled with the consolation of Christ.  In the intimacy of Holy Communion we are strengthened as children of resurrection, children of the Father.

William Fredrickson, Obl. Secular OSB; D.Min.


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