Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings

Thirteenth Week of the Year June 27 - July 2, 2022

Matthew 8.18-22
We have to examine the extent to which we are managed by standards not compatible with Christ's Spirit dwelling within us as we engage our responsibilities.  We become "the dead burying the dead"—spiritless doers without depth of divine intention.   We must be careful though that we do not judge others because of their exterior practices.  Judging I will be judged.  But in my prayer I experience the call of the Spirit to let go of so many things that really do not have a Christ-reality about them.  The secularist culture continually multiplies needs that in turn call us to expend energy to fulfill their demands  so that I lose sensitivity to the call to divine life.  I do not readily respond totally and spontaneously.  Does the call mean that I must give up the place where I lay my head?  Do I simplify my life?  All these demands must be discerned in the process of my prayer.  Only the Spirit can make real my full donation to Christ; only the Spirit can enable me to discern the directions in which Christ wishes to lead me.  I will trust in fidelity to prayer as the basic means of being receptive and responsive.

Matthew 8.23-27
Prayer many times is about fears and lack of faith in the power of Jesus to effect change in life.  In  prayer, I hear Christ’s rebuke, “Oh, one of little faith, why do you fear?”  I fear because I instinctively hold myself as the source of my rescue.  I fear because I do not allow myself to experience the presence and work of Christ.  Then again, much of my prayer is looking into the face of Jesus and asking what sort of man is this that even the seas and winds obey him?  My prayer is about sinking into the divinity of Jesus and going in the Spirit with the Son into the Father.  I must learn to leave aside even the question, “What sort of man is this?”  I must go beyond the intellectual pursuits of questions and answers.  Rather dwell simply in the state of being in Christ, seeing with the eyes of Christ, loving with the heart of Christ.  I must dwell here in these deep levels of silence in prayer.  I receive the wordless testimony of the Spirit of Christ within me, crying: “Abba Father,” “Come to the Father,” “Know that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”


The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles (revised, 2014)

Readings: Acts of the Apostles 12, 1-11; 2Timothy 4.6-8,17-18; Matthew 16.13-19

No Division between Institutional Church and Spirituality

This feast's significance is important for those who are intent upon the path of contemplative prayer.  At the heart of our union with Christ is our union with the Church.  You cannot separate what some call the institutional church from the spiritual, mystical reality of union with God in Christ.

We cannot enter into union with Christ in his word and sacrament, indeed we would never have had contact with Him, unless it was through those who have borne witness to Christ and the Kingdom.  The witness of the Spirit to Christ is carried in the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments. 

The “Handing On,” Tradition, with a capital "T" is entrusted to the apostles and after them, to their successors, the bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome.  In this way, Peter and Paul stand as the great instruments of this work of salvation and deification accomplished in grace, in faith, hope and love. 

The Continuity of Peter and Paul

Peter and Paul would not be here in this 21st century if Christ had not been Incarnate among us and chosen them.  It is true to say that Christ would not be now in the Spirit present to us leading us into the Father if it were not for Peter and Paul and their fidelity to their mission. 

The mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God and the manifestation of the Church, the Bride of Christ, His Mystical Body, are of one divine reality.  This is the plan of our redemption.  Christ is present to the world through the witness of his Apostles, as Church.

The Particularity of Jesus and the Particularity of the Church

As the Word is incarnate in flesh, in the particularity of the Man, Jesus, so the mystery of Christ in the Spirit is incarnate in the particularity of the Church, and in its fullness, in the Catholic Church.

Peter's own personal spirituality, his union with God, is manifested in his confession of faith in the Gospel Reading.  You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  In the mystery of the Church with its gift of hierarchy, that grace of revelation and response becomes ecclesiastical mission.  For my part I declare to you, you are "Rock," and on this rock I will build my Church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it.  I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven."

Among the Children of God, One Who Holds the Keys

Jesus is identified with each and every one baptized in him and in his Spirit, but to one is given the keys and upon one is designated the rock upon which the unity and indefectibility of the Church is founded.  That one is St. Peter.  His ministry continues now through the Pope.

What has this to do with my spirit, with my heart's longing for union with God?  It has to do with the foundation of our life in Christ.  The body needs the structure of the bones to hold in place its vital organs and to give mobility.  The structure exists that the vital organs sustain life.  Being creatures who must know to love, who must proclaim the truth out of love, who come to God through His Revelation, we must have the structure of the teaching authority to hand on the Great Teaching that is the Truth and to maintain the unity of Christ's Body.  The structure serves the heart which is the Spirit making alive within us and to the world, the Presence of the Father in his glorified Son.

The Spirit Cannot Be in Opposition to the Word

When we oppose the guiding light of the Teaching Authority then we have error, factions, and schism in the Body of Christ, the Church.  The Spirit who enlightens the Word cannot be in contradiction with Word.

Bearing with the Faults of Those with the Charism of Ministry

When those in the ministry of the Teaching Authority neglect the spiritual life we see a weakened presence of authority, a self-serving use of authority as was evidenced in the recent scandals of the clergy and in the frequency of clericalism.

Today We Celebrate the Gift of Apostolic Authority

What is solemnly celebrated today in the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is the manifestation of holiness with the gift of Apostolic Authority.  The Lord will continue to rescue me from all attempts to do me harm and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.  To him be glory forever and ever.  Amen (Second Reading).

The Church is called in the Letter to the Ephesians, "the fullness of Him who fills all things."  It is the one Spirit and the one Lord who fill the Church and who seek to transform me into the image of Christ.  My surrender must be to those two aspects of the one Mystery of Christ, the spiritual and the visible authority.

Ultimately we are centered into the Father with Christ in the Spirit.  That is the heart of our contemplative prayer founded on the Rock of the Church.  Blest are you, Simon son of John!  Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father (Gospel Reading).

Matthew 9.1-8
One of the struggles in my prayer is that I want to cling to my sins not so much to repeat them but rather to cling to self-pity and regret.  I cannot get over the fact that I could sin or that I could fail in important matters.  To be in grace is to be in innocence restored.  God in his forgiveness does not remember my sins anymore.  The words of Jesus are creative in themselves.  If the sea and the wind obey his word, and if the paralytic takes up his mat and walks, the state of our troubled souls obey him equally.  “Have courage.  Son, daughter, your sins are forgiven.”  My life of prayer is sustained by the sacrament of  Reconciliation-Penance.  The Church is in constant praise that such power remains with men so ordained to the ministry.  The faith of the Church carries me on my mat into the presence of the forgiving Lord.  The faith and hope of my prayer open the gates of forgiving mercy.  But if I refuse to forgive, then the process of forgiveness is not complete: my manufactured sense of peace is a manufactured self-deception.  My prayer is to rest in the total forgiveness of Christ.  All that the Lord does is absolute.  Rest in that.

Matthew 9.9-13
Prayer flowing from grace is immediate contact with Jesus, the physician of my soul.  He is the one who heals the wounded condition of my person.  He is the one who summons from the depths of my being the goodness, the truth, the beauty, the resiliency of nature created in his image and likeness.  The empowering of new life flows from the gift of grace.  Grace means the gift of our nature’s remaking and renewal in the power of Christ's resurrection made present by the Holy Spirit given by the Father.  Jesus calls me to prayer like he called Matthew to follow him.  Immediately I will respond to every invitation to pray.  I will enter prayer with my being open to all that God will do for me.  God thirsts to fill me with his knowledge and love.  He is intent on filling me with the blessedness of union.  I come to the banquet after I have come to be healed.  I confess my state of being a sinner for it was to such as I that the Savior came into the world.

Matthew 9.14-17
The disciples of John bring up the religious practice of fasting.  Jesus goes beyond the details of the practice.  He talks rather of wedding guests and the bridegroom, the patching of garments, the pouring of new wine into skins.  Here it is that we will dwell in prayer:  Life with God is like being at a wedding feast.  We  will gladly receive the new garments of grace in place of the old rags clothes.  I will fill my wineskins with the new wine of God's Kingdom.  Soon enough will I fast when in my prayer I experience the Absence more than the Presence.  Either way—Presence or of Absence— God is with us and comes to us.  I am ready to greet the Bridegroom in whatever form He comes.

William Fredrickson, OBLSB, D.Min.






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William Fredrickson