Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings


The following are meditations on the Gospel Readins for the next three weeks:

(The remaining two days for February 8 and 9 are included below:
Friday
Mark 6.14-29
Herod thought that John the Baptist was so powerful that he was raised from the dead and was doing the marvelous works attributed to Jesus.  And yet John was in such a weak position that the whims of a young, frivolous girl and the schemes of an adulterous woman could bring John to his horrible death by having his head chopped off.  In the middle of the night, with the roar of the boisterous party still blazing away, soldiers come down and quickly do their deed.  The head that bore all the knowledge of God's Kingdom is borne up on a tray for the gratification of petty revenge.  Our prayer is for an inner vision and a transforming love that is eternal and transcendental, but it is not a guarantee for worldly success or for a happy life according to the common wisdom.  No one can take away this vision of the Kingdom.  It is beyond the intact head on the shoulders.  It is deep within the spirit which is born upon angel wings into Abraham's bosom.
 Saturday
Mark 6.30-34
 They had no leisure.  The word, “vacation,” has the same root as “to vacate” and the word “vacant.”  It is to be empty of what is usually coming and going. The center is a Person, the Father.  He is one with the Father in the Spirit in a perfect union of love.  But even Jesus had to bathe his human nature in the intensity of that divine union so as to experience the center.  Each day as we go to our prayer practice of quiet presence, we are following the suggestive command of Christ and his Spirit.  But Jesus outwitted them.  Jesus and his disciples went by boat, leisurely sailing under the breezes--no storm this time--enjoying the presence of Christ, floating along the tranquil sea under the blue skies.  They had gotten their rest in Christ; now they were ready for the crowd awaiting them.  From their prayer came their compassion for the sheep without the shepherd.)
 

Fifth Week of the Year, February 11 - 16, 2019
Monday
Mark 6.53-56
The basis of our quiet prayer is a resting in the power of Christ.  His power is present to heal us.  In our quiet prayer we do not dwell upon the specifics of infirmities and sinfulness, or even upon the needs of our friends and of the human family.  Our prayer in Christ is our resting in his power and love.  Our prayer is the touching of his cloak without needing to use words.  Jesus holds us in his love.  We consent.  We are healed.
 
Tuesday
Mark 7.1-13
Each day I enter into the word of God.  But by my behavior and attitudes do I make "void the Word of God?"  My rule must be to seek to pray simply, open to the Spirit who is the anointing of discernment.    That my heart reborn in grace is in all that I do and say.
 
Wednesday
Mark 7.14-23
What comes out of me is the product of my inner motivations and attitudes, of my habits and of negative emotions.  The fruits display the kind of tree that I am in my roots.  Silent prayer quickly makes clear the extent and quality of these fruits that ultimately defile me.  My prayer is consent to this work of transformation.
 
Thursday
Mark 7.24-30
The Syrophoenician woman holds nothing back from Jesus.  Everything flows right out of her heart.  She knows her deepest need and expresses it. She looks right into Christ and sees in him the power  of God to heal.  She is willing to take the lowest place.  From that grasp of reality which is humility and from the stirrings of faith, her response goes right to the heart of Jesus.  This was a prayer encounter.  A miracle ensues.
 
Friday
Mark 7.31-37
After the days of creation, the angels must have sung the same praise: "He has done all things well…."  The words of cure, "Ephaphatha--Be opened," was once a part of the rite of Baptism.  Baptism is the opening of our ears in faith and our mouths in professing our faith. My prayer is feeling the hand and touch of Jesus upon me in my physicality of time and space, of posture and attentiveness to the work of healing.  I am his patient, a patient of the one who does so wonderfully with my illness, the physician who heals my wounds and restores health to the soul.
 
Saturday
Mark 8.1-10
My deepest, silent, contemplative-like prayer is never far from the reality of the Holy Eucharist.  Adoration of the Presence in the reserved Eucharist blends into the discipline of silent, centering prayer.  Union with the Spirit within in us is one with union with the Eucharistic Lord who multiplies the bread and offers the wine so that under the forms we are in communion with the Holy Trinity.  I am never sent away hungry from Jesus after having followed him into the desert of prayer.
 
 
 Sixth Week of Ordinary Time, February 18 - 23, 2019

Monday
Mark 8.11-13
Listen to the sighs of Jesus; enter into them.  His sighs bespeak the humanity of Christ as he experiences frustration and pain.  In my prayer layers of mental shields will constantly arise as obstacles to full encounter with Christ.  As an arrow straight and swift to its target, my heart in its aspirated cry--i.e. prayer-- will go to the heart of Christ. 
 
Tuesday
Mark 8.14-21
In this selection two different dimensions of reality are dealt with.  First, the disciples are concerned about food for the journey.  Then, secondly, Jesus exposes the ways in which discipleship is corrupted.  The leaven of Herod is preoccupation with the pleasures and riches of consumer life.  The leaven of the Pharisees is self-seeking under the guise of religion.  Prayer is our eyes and ears seeing, hearing and remembering Jesus so that we are changed into his image. 
 
Wednesday
Mark 8.22-26
In this Gospel account of a healing, it is not a simple word or gesture in response to faith to cause a miracle.  It’s about a process of faith and healing.  Here is a working-with the person gradually until the transformation comes about.  All the years of my prayer have been the moving with Jesus into transformation.  Sacrament and quiet prayer, seeing things anew but not perfectly, allowing the Lord to take me  by the hand, the willingness to leave the village, to be apart with Jesus are all parts of the process of my prayer life leading to transformation.
 
 
Thursday
Mark 8.27-33
Three dimensions of our life with Christ appear in this selection.  It is the Church's confession that I must absorb so that I can be transformed into Christ.    Second, my life must be rooted in the Cross of Christ.  My humanity like Jesus' must expect the suffering and inevitable death that are preludes to resurrection.  Third, I will always be tugged away from thinking with the mind of Christ by the pull of the modern secular culture.
 
Friday
Mark 8.34-9.1
Isn't every act of true prayer an act of self-denial?  Prayer is the act of withdrawing from my self and of placing Christ as the center of my fullest consciousness.  Prayer transforms me and informs me so that my whole being is a confession of Christ before this adulterous generation of Christ-denial.  When Christ comes with his angels to judge the world, the content of this judgment is the quality of our fidelity to Christ in the face of opposition.
 
Saturday
Mark 9.2-13
Christ’s transfiguration is the prime pattern of prayer.  Go with Christ into solitude, up a high place, alone, apart.  Be there with the chosen companions, the saints, the prophets and patriarchs of the Revelation.  Listen, be attentive, absorb the Word.  Suffer the fear and awe and the hiddenness of it all.  Then come down into the daily work of the cross.  Be not scandalized that the world does what it wills with Elijah and Christ.
 
 Seventh Week of Ordinary Time,  February 25 - March 2, 2019: 
 
Monday
Mark 9.14-29
"If you can!”  We put conditions upon the power of Christ.  How many times have we ruined the atmosphere of our relationship with the Lord because of our tepid faith!  How many times have we caused the exasperation of Christ who has to be with this faithless generation!  See the condition of our weak faith, let us turn it into a prayer:  "Lord I believe"—a foundation of faith that is real even if weakness leads us to exclaim:  "Lord, help my unbelief." 
 
Mark 9.14-29
A lot of the attitudes that I bring to prayer are the ones Jesus condemns in this Gospel.  I lack faith.  I run with the crowd that is part of this "faithless generation."  Jesus does not wink at our deficiencies.  They are painful because they block our complete union with him and his Father; because they hinder our full joy in the Holy Spirit.  We come then with the attitude of the father of the possessed boy.  "Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief."  I have faith, but it flickers easily in the hostile winds that would extinguish the flame of my faith.  Prayer is the foundation of my life of love.  I face my life of faith with a humble awareness of my weakness in faith and.  Faith brings me to prayer.  Prayer heals my faith.  "This can only be driven out by prayer."  Christ is the resurrection of my soul in faith.  The power of Christ's resurrection fills this story.  "But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up and he arose."
 
Tuesday
Mark 9.30-37
This Gospel selection is a wonderful preparation for the coming of Lent.  We must grapple with the reality of betrayal, failure and death.  We must build our whole interior life upon the acceptance of the cross and the living power of Christ's resurrection.    We have to open up to the fullness of our sharing in the life of the Trinity.  Accepting the child we accept the Son and in accepting the Son we enter into the Father through the Spirit.  That is the cycle of our prayer.
 
Wednesday
Mark 9.38-41
We affirm our being in the fullness of Christ's Church, Catholic and Apotolic Although we live in this ecclesial center, we accept our ecumenical vocation to see the connections with all Christians, baptized, confessing Christ, living the life of the Gospel.  We remove all hostility, any sense of superiority in a cult sense.  We seek the positive word more than the negative and condemning.  Our ecumenism does not mean we lay aside the fullness of Catholic dogma as the foundation of dialog. 
 
Thursday
Mark 9.41-50
When I gaze into the face of Jesus in his luminous light, am I willing to leave anything that would separate me from him?  Do I have a healthy fear of sin as possibility and actuality in my life?  Prayer is salt within me, penetrating, seasoning, so that I am "cured" in the process.  Salt within me and peace with others.    Hard on myself, making no compromises; gentle and patient with others. 
 
Friday
Mark 10.1-12
All sacraments are sharing in the mystery of Christ and his presence within us.  For Catholics there is no moment as mystical as the acts and words that are the sacraments.  Married couples have within the daily living out of their love and responsibilities the ingredients of true mystical union with the Trinity.  Love as faithful as death binds us. It is immediate, concrete, relational--right there staring us in the face.
 
Saturday
Mark 10.13-16
Notice that we do not create the Kingdom.  It's already there.  You receive the Kingdom.  You enter the Kingdom.    Entrance is a matter of utter simplicity.  It is child's work.  Hands wide open, eyes focused on the Father, you receive the Kingdom.    Judas, it seemed, failed in his entrance into the Kingdom.  It was too complicated because he could not receive it as a child.  Peter persevered and received the Kingdom because he cried like a baby in his repentance.
 


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


For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Fredrickson
Fredrickson46@msn.com