Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B, June 17, 2018

Readings: Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2nd Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34
Contemplative prayer opens us into the Presence of God. The grace of the contemplative state is a gift from God in as much therein God gives Himself intimately to us according to our capacity.  Therefore, the discipline of contemplative prayer as a daily practice is part of that grace and a gift of our love in return, an act of hope, of love, sighing and longing for union with God our Beloved.
We dwell within the Triune Godhead from the center of our spirit; we enter into the Center of God which is the Holy Spirit.  God is so beyond us, so incapable of being grasped by our grasping intellect.  God must humble this grasping tendency to hold God as a concept, as  an adaptable idea to hold on to in our minds.  We cooperate with God in this work of transformation by being receptive to a relative unknowing in God’s Presence. (Relative, i.e. because of the Incarnation there is a knowing of God through the sacrament of Christ, “through a glass darkly” (1st Corinthians 13.)
The Second Reading: We walk by faith, not by sight.  There it is again.  The relative unknowing of faith moves us out of the capacity to see things by sight, to the Presence without seeing, to the Act of Love without knowing.  As long as we dwell in the body we are away from the Lord.  Life in the body carries with it an opaqueness, the darksome cloud of unknowing.  This being so, we make it our aim to please whether are with him or away from Him.
The fruit of the contemplative life is the final fullness of God’s Kingdom.  The basic intention is that of the Lord’s Prayer: Your Kingdom come!
Today’s Gospel calls us to enter into this paradox:   The smallest seed becomes the largest bush. The reign of God comes imperceptibly by our willingness to be completely receptive to God as the ground is open to the seed and the water.  The harvest comes:  We not know how.
The First Reading foretells the work of God.  What is exalted is laid low; and what is low is lifted  up.  Self seeking is the road to defeat; seeing the self as clay in the hand of the potter is the beginning of new birth.  Wither up the green tree, and made the withered tree bloom.
As those seeking the contemplative dimension of the Christian life are we willing to live in such paradox?  Are we willing to allow the gradual transformation of our lives as we surrender to God unconditionally?  Are we still and quiet in God's arms: As I, the Lord, have spoken, so will I do (First Reading). 
Are we gentle and forgiving with the faults of others and our own; weakness is inevitable until the final transformation in resurrection from the dead?


--William Fredrickson, Obl. OSB, D.Min.

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William Frederickson