Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings



The Seventh Sunday of Easter—The Ascension; Cycle A
May 24, 2020

Readings: Acts 1.12-14; 1st Peter 4.13-16;  John 17. 1-11
The mission and person of Jesus are one.  The Person of Jesus, the Son, the Word, must be one with the Father.
The mission of Jesus is to reconcile all creation, humanity and the universe with the Father.  Jesus longs to dwell with all those gathered into Him in perfect love with the Father.
In his ascension, Jesus of Nazareth, in his particularity as the unique, singular savior of the human race fulfills in his resurrected body the plan of the Holy Trinity.  Jesus the Lord of heaven and earth, sits in his place before the mystery of God, as the fulfillment of all cosmic history.  He awaits only his second coming when he take away all authority save his own for the final victory of the Kingdom of His Father. 
The ascension fulfills what Jesus prays in the beginning of the Gospel Reading.  Jesus looked up to heaven and said:
  “Father, the hour has come  Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all mankind, that he may bestow eternal life on those you gave him.”

The life that the Word has in His Father is eternal life for us here and now, in prayer and in our external actions. 
Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.  
In faith and hope we are open to this shared divine life.  In sharing the divine love of God, the Holy Spirit, we enter into this life that is Christ’s now in His glory.  This is the glory that is Mary’s in her assumption, already sharing the glorification of the bodies of Christ’s redeemed.  This is contemplative prayer: to know and love God as God knows and loves Himself in the Triune Relationship.

We open ourselves to the grace of God’s invitation.  We like lovers run to the Beloved.  We crave for divine union.  Like Jesus we long to live in union with the Father through the Holy Spirit.  And again in the Father, to find Jesus, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  And thus we live in the cyclical relationship of the Trinity.  Our prayer must be a simple thirst and waiting for this relationship with the Trinity.  Settle for nothing less.  The feast of the Ascension enables us to focus on the glory of Jesus which is to be immersed in the Trinity in his sacred humanity.  Through Jesus we are enabled to dwell with him.
The feast of the Ascension renews this great mystery of our dwelling in the Son through our share in the Sacraments of the Church.  We recall our baptism.  We celebrate this divine life in the sacrificial mystery of the Eucharist.  The sacrament of Reconciliation-Penance enables us to recover our baptismal innocence.  In that sacrament we are like Magdalene.  We can weep at the feet of the Savior, kiss his hand in the renewal of discipleship and receive the kiss of reconciliation.  Our contemplative life is based on our sharing in the sacramental life of the Church.
We are at the center of God’s eternal life when we are at the center of the life of the Church. 
After Jesus was taken up into the heavens, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet near Jerusalem.  Entering the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying.  Together they devoted themselves to constant prayer.  There were some women in their company and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and his brothers (The First Reading). 
The Church is gathered to await the Holy Spirit.  We are centered into Christ in the Spirit within the Father and in the midst of the Church until we realize our ascension, our final transformation on the Last Day.
There was no other Church except that Church in the upper room.  There is no other Church in its deepest realization except the fullness of the Church now in communion with the successor of St. Peter and all the bishops who are in communion with him. 
In the light of Vatican II we can say that all Christian churches share in that communion although in an imperfect way.  We cannot share the Holy Eucharist with these other Christian communities because we are not in communion with them in the full obedience of faith content.  We can share with them our love for God’s mystery in Christ through prayer and common endeavors of the Gospel.
We cannot discount the Church saying it is the institutional church and imagine our belonging to some spiritual church.  Such a belief cuts one off from the reality of the human condition, the object of Christ’s present saving action.  Our contemplative life is grounded on the reality and particularity of the Church.  Part of the burden of faith and the means of our purification is sharing the sufferings of the Church and of humanity as it realizes its redemption in the pattern of Christ’s sufferings.  Rejoice, insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings.  When his glory is revealed you will rejoice exultantly (The Second Reading).
The collect of the Liturgy of the Church speaks of our contemplative vocation:   “Father, help us keep in mind that Christ our savior lives with you in glory and promised to remain with us until the end of time.”  The Son lives in the Father and the Son lives in us.  In the Holy Spirit, then, we are in the Father.  Keep this in mind.  Keep this in heart.  This is the contemplative life.

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


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