Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings



Monday, December 9:

Second Week in Advent, December 9 - 14, 2019

Monday, Deceber 9


 The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
First Reading: Genesis 3:3:9-15; Second Reading: Letter to the Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

The essence of this event is found in the readings from Scripture.  At the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, traditionally remembered as Ann, Mary possessed the fullness of Christ’s redemptive grace.  For the Blessed Mary, her existence was one with the state of divine adoption into sharing the life of the Holy Trinity.

The Church, in her infallibility in understanding the mystery of Christ and in pronouncing the truth in stated doctrine, has understood the truth of the Immaculate Conception from the Gospel Reading of today: Luke 1:28, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”  The truth gradually became celebrated in the Church and conforms to reason that God would hold his Mother in the perfect state of grace that lives in the humanity of Christ her Son and given to all those baptized in Christ in the divine adoption and perfected in the resurrection from the dead on the day of the Lord.

The reading from Genesis also holds the promise of this event of grace.  Mary, in sharing in the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, overcomes the fall and disobedience of Eve, the mother of the human race.  The mother of the new Adam, Christ Jesus, by his power of redemption and resurrection, shines forth as victorious over the serpent so that the serpent’s head is now crushed by the woman, Mary, in her fullness of grace.
Ephesians blesses God: “… even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him … according to the riches of his grace which he lavished on us … for the praise of his glory.” So the Catholic Church, the fullness of his Church on earth, blesses God for the riches of grace that have been coexistent with Mary at the moment of existence, of conception, as a gift from God in anticipation of Christ’s redemption.  And so we rejoice.

The prayer of simplicity is to rest in this faith and surrender in Trinitarian love.


Matthew 18. 12-14  

All that is required in contemplative prayer practice is to consent to what the Father is accomplishing by the Holy Spirit within the levels of our consciousness.  The Gospel reading affirms this.  It is God who seeks out the lost sheep of his flock.  It is the will of the Father that no little one should perish out of his arms.  Our sins and our weakness should not discourage us.  The joy of heaven is the repentance of one sinner.  The guarantee of our entitlement to divine love is that we are little, or poor in spirit.  The contrite of heart enter the Kingdom: "contrite"—literally our hearts are broken because of our sins. Jesus asks in this Gospel reading: “What do you think?”  Thinking with my heart, I need to stop running away from him who seeks me.  I must allow myself to be rescued by the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the One searching me out in His infinite love for me,.  Be still and rest in that love.  We are the sheep Christ Jesus carries back to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirt.



Matthew 11. 28-30 

All of Advent has been the cry from the Church to God's mercy: Come and save us.  And here in this reading, the word “Come” is now spoken on the lips of Jesus.  The mystery of God invites us to come into God and to abide there.  The invitation comes in the context of our burdens and labor.  So much of daily life is labor and toil. God enters into the reality of our life with his grace.  Come to me.  The imperative of Christ demands our response.  God’s power enables us to come into Him through Jesus.  The state of being in God is rest.  The contemplative state is to rest.  Our journey’s goal is Sabbath.  Abiding in God and God in us is the state of rest.  What else needs to be accomplished?  The perfection and completion of God’s creative work is now being accomplished in the person of Christ who comes in glory.  To abide in God and God in us.  It is a gentle yoke to bear.  It is a burden light as a feather falling upon a pillow.  It is not heavy; it is as light as the laughter of children at play.



Matthew 11. 11-15 

What violence is Jesus speaking about?  The violence is an ordered burst of energy.  We need a burst of energy to accept the grace of the Kingdom of God.  We need some amount of violence to deal with the inner blocks we maintain against the Kingdom.  Surrender into the Kingdom is not a matter of diplomacy.  Luke’s version speaks of the violence needed to enter the Kingdom.  Luke also has Jesus’ statement about not coming to bring peace, but the sword.  But then there are those who say Matthew is referring to the violence that is perpetrated against the Kingdom.  In any case, it is clear that the life of God is not just an internal matter.  The Kingdom of God is immersed in history and its evils, and our unity with God demands difficult behavioral commitments in the face of violence.  Thus we have the example of the martyrs.  Our prayer is many times violent in the struggle to arrive a prayer, an attitude, time and place.  We see the totality of John the Baptist's conformity to the Kingdom in prayer, in witness, in death.


Matthew 11. 16-19  
The ebb and flow of our life with God calls for the variations of dancing and mourning as the events of life become songs from God.  The kingdom of God is now in process.  The Kingdom calls for joy always at the roots of the heart.  But sometimes the immediate appropriate response is mourning—"Blessed are they who mourn.”  We mourn because death and sin still reign in the world; we mourn because our hope is founded on that which is yet to come when Christ returns in glory.  And then again, "blessed are the pure of heart."  Out of that purity we dance in the immediate joy of God’s beautiful creation and of the unfolding of graced lives lived among us.  We are of the Kingdom if we allow grace to hold us in the divine joy of the Trinitarian life that is now and will be forever.  We gently accept in faith the weddings and the funerals within God’s continuing creation and redemption.


Matthew 17.10-13 
The disciples descend from the mountain of Transfiguration.  But their thoughts are racing about.  They are not in their hearts where the Glory of Christ sought to penetrate.  Their thoughts are caught up on the surface events of Scripture and when will the Kingdom arrive, thinking in time-lines as the world calculates time.  Jesus gently enters into the matter of their inquiry.  Yes, Elijah has come; yes, the Kingdom is coming.  But not in the ways you would want.  The Kingdom is coming through the Cross and the humility of the poor in spirit.  So, John the Baptist has already announced the Kingdom in his blood and apparent defeat.  Jesus follows after John even though He was before John: the eternal Word made flesh, always in the bosom of God, the Father.  Elijah and Moses have seen it all in the glory of Christ at the Transfiguration.  We await the Kingdom of Christ’s glory that will come as God has decreed it to come.  In the meantime, we are people of hope with absolute abandonment to God's wisdom and power and His time-line hidden in the fulfillment of Christ’s coming, known only to the Father.


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


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