Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings

The Twenty-ninth Week of the Year

October 18 - 23, 2021

(Feast of St. Luke, the Evangelist; meditation on the weekday Gospel.)

Luke 12.13-21
Thoughts and memories of contentions I have with others over the distribution of things and personal rights easily come to mind.  So easily I move into the drama of my conflicts with those I feel have wounded me or owe me or who have taken from me things that I should have had.  These contentions clamor for my attention.  They clamor for resolution by God it would seem.  So it is that I am always seeking to lay up treasure for myself, i.e., for my-self.  My prayer purifies itself in the Presence of Christ.  I gently turn my will from the contentions born of my greed into God, into the Mystery of God's abiding with me in Christ and in the Spirit.  My will to silent prayer bears my heart away into God.  Each gentle turning into God's Presence by the invocation of the word of love is a reaffirmation of my love.  My heart's treasure is God.  There is where I want to dwell.  Slowly and gradually I learn not to build barns but to lose myself in God through the power of Christ's Presence in the Spirit.

Luke 12.35-38
My basic condition before God is that of servant.  I am God's creation.  My happiness consists therefore is serving God.  Blessed is that servant!  The servant is happy who lives for his or her master, for the One who owns the person entirely.  There is not a drop of existence that is not from God and for God.  All my sadness in life has been living in the denial of God as my whole and my all.  At every time of day, at every season, at any stage of my life I must be in the posture of service.  Girded with readiness, lamp burning in my hand, the lamp of faith, hope and love, I am ready.  My prayer is my heart waiting upon God who will return to His world in the glory of Christ.  My servanthood is not my final state.  I am called to divine intimacy.  God the Lord will  make me sit, no more a servant, now a son or daughter and beloved, at the table of his Kingdom.  And all this will happen at an hour we don't expect.  Prayer makes me vigilant.  Because when we love we are vigilant for the Beloved.

Luke 12.39-48
One of the basic intentions of my prayer is for the Church and for those who hold the ultimate responsibility for teaching and governing the Church: the bishops in communion with the Successor to St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome.  It is well that Peter should ask to whom the parable of fidelity is primarily addressed.  The parable is for the stewards who serve the Christian communion.  Much has been given them, much is asked.  My prayer must be to the Lord of the harvest that many workers come into the harvest and that the stewards tend well the vineyards of the Church.  The more I surrender into the simplicity of prayer, the more it enfolds the Church in all its visible institutions of unity, the Christ mystery of divine life, and orthodoxy.

Luke 12.49-53
Fire.  The baptism of ordeal.  The sword of division (in Matthew's parallel passage, the sword is mentioned.)  Jesus has his face set for Jerusalem.  There the fire that purges all his followers will be enkindled.  The crucifixion will be the baptism that will consume Jesus.  The sword of division is the choice that must be made to be of Jesus or not.  It will cut across family ties.  Who is my brother, my sister, my mother?  It is the one who does the will of the Father.  It is not a blood family that saves me.  Salvation is membership in the family of the Spirit, the Church, that unites me to Christ upon the cross.  This is the content of my prayer: The offering of all my levels of consciousness into the Spirit of Jesus who bears me to the Father in whom I dwell in faith, hope and love.  My prayer is one of repose in the bosom of the Father.  My prayer is one of petition.  Give me the good bread of the Spirit who will sustain me in this posture of love in the all the concrete events of my life.

Luke 12.54-59
Prayer develops my sense of discernment.  Do I discern the signs of the quality of my relationship to the Kingdom.  I must be still, receptive and open in prayer that God can clearly reveal the reality of my life to me: see myself for who I really am.  The status of my union can be discerned in the ways in which I live my life.  Do I miss the signs that speak to me of the Kingdom and the quality of my response to its call?  The time grows shorter for the word of God.  So many years wasted in living estranged or lukewarm in regard to the Kingdom!  I must be careful as I am being led along the path.  Let me be clear to see what's happening to me.  Prayer must be a search for the light to illumine the signs.  In prayer I seek the grace of settling with the judge while on the way before I arrive at the final judgment.

Luke 13.1-9
The unproductive, unyielding fig tree not only does not produce fruit, but it also "use[s] up the ground."  As I become more sterile in the fruits of divine love I not only stagnate, but I also drain others around me.  I use up the atmosphere of divine love; I emit a poisonous element into the air that others must breathe.  Two times in this reading Jesus warns me: "I tell you … unless you repent you will all likewise perish."  My prayer must make me aware of the absolute seriousness of opening myself to the grace of the Kingdom.  My prayer allows me to leap into Christ's mercy.  The parable ends with Christ saying he will work with the fig tree.  Christ in my prayer will gradually cultivate my roots into God.  Christ will enable me to bear fruit in the Kingdom.  I will not use up the land.  I will produce thirty, sixty, hundred fold the fruits of righteousness.  Let me experience in prayer my abiding as a branch in the vine that is Christ.

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



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William Fredrickson