Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings

Twenty-sixth week

September 26 - October 1, 2022

Luke 9.46-50
All prayer is opening the heart to God in friendship born of adoration and faithful service.  It is based on the conviction that Jesus "perceives the thoughts of [my heart]."  My ego runs amok with its thoughts.  These thoughts feature me as the star of my own show.  "Which of them is the greatest?"  Lord Jesus, place the child in the middle of my heart so that I can learn complete confidence in you.  Let my gaze  be upon you.  In that gaze slowly but surely transform me in your Spirit so that I truly belong to the Kingdom as a child clings to his parent.  Although I hold in faith that the fullness of the Church subsides in the Catholic Church, let me comprehend the power of your name that extends beyond the limits of the visible Church.  This visible Church proclaims in her teachings that many beyond our comprehension are folded into the Church in the mystery of Christ who is all in all.

Luke 9.51-56
It may seem to us that the quick and effective way of eliminating enemies of the Kingdom is to call down fire from heaven to destroy them.  This way of thinking is contrary to the way of Christ.  The process of establishing the Kingdom comes through the Cross and the power of the Holy Spirit who is love, joy and peace.  It is in patience that we possess the Kingdom and it is in patience that the Kingdom is established.  Deep, silent prayer gradually forms me in this way of Christ and the Gospel.  Elijah called down fire and destroyed the false prophets.  Has Elijah returned?  "Some say you are Elijah".  "But who do you say that I am?"  You are not the Elijah of the fire coming down from heaven to consume God's enemies.  Yours is not the way of violent Jihad.  You are the Christ, meek and humble of heart.  You call all who are burdened to come to you.  You will come on the last day in glory as judge to render justice with mercy.   Let me take upon myself the yoke of your Gospel.  You, Lord Jesus, by your Spirit, be my prayer that transforms me.

Luke 9.57-62
Prayer must lead me to the incorporation of attitudes that Jesus looks for in those who are united to him.  First, no created thing must be my nesting place.  I lay my head upon the breast of Jesus: there is where my permanence is.  Second, the focus of secular society and the conventional wisdom of modern culture cannot be mine.  Without Christ, a culture of nihilism becomes a culture of death and emptiness.  "Let the dead bury their dead."  In the midst of all the variations and voices, proclaim the Kingdom of God.  Third, once I put my heart into Christ's I must not look back.  There is no other way to belong to the Kingdom.  These are hard words that cut like a knife.  The sword cuts through the marrow and bone.  Prayer must make me open to that process.  It must be open to the Spirit who can accomplish all this.

Luke 10.1-12
The gentle Jesus threatens the unwelcoming towns with the fate of Sodom, indeed, with an even more severe fate.  I must not judge, but Christ judges.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  That message has been sounding for millennia.  An obstinate world order refuses the light of Christ.  I pray in the power of Christ's word;  I pray in the heart of the Father; I surrender to the will of God that Christ may be all in all; I pray with the expectation that the Kingdom will come.  But there will be judgment.  My prayer must send me out into the work of the proclamation in the capacity of my state in life and ability.  As I am consumed in the grace of God's life, I must grieve over the judgment upon those who refuse the gentle Christ as their savior and light.  I know I have been among them and I can easily return to a state of separation except for Christ’s grace that holds me.  “Yes” to that grace is my prayer at its absolute and essential simplicity.

Luke 10.13-16
The rejection of the Gospel is a rejection of the Holy Trinity.  The Father sends the Son; the Son sends the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The one who receives the Church’s preached word, receives the Son and therefore the One who sent him, the Father.  To reject the word is to reject the invitation to share the divine life of the Trinity.  My prayer is Trinitarian in as much as it is an assumption into the life of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.  The more I can free myself from the world-view of indifference to and rejection of the Gospel, the more I will be drawn into the divine life.    The vocation is simple: enter into the mystery of prayer and do all one can do out of love in the ministry given.  To witness means to live the love of Christ among people.  "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Luke 10. 17-24
No other Gospel reading so praises the life of contemplative prayer.  We return from active ministry with joy having experienced the power of Christ.  Christ confirms his servants in His prayer; he speaks of the ultimate victory over the power of his enemy.  But the heart of the matter is not even the work of the Kingdom.  What counts is the Kingdom itself.  The absolute is "that our names are written in heaven."  That our names are written in heaven means that we are destined for divine union forever, in perfection, in the eternity of heaven.  Jesus rejoices that there is this deep communion between each of us and him and his Father.  We know one another in the Spirit.  This is the deepest aspect of prayer.  Any time we are drawn into deep prayer and accept that invitation by our faithful, daily practice, then we become the "one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him [the Father]."  Many prophets and kings have desired this vision and presence that come of prayer.  Each time I enter deeply into prayer I enter into this divine drama.  I become intimately united in this communion that is the Church moving toward the Kingdom, knowing and loving with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  "Rejoice in this"—this is the contemplative state, a deep joy form the immediate Presence.

William Fredrickson, OBLSB, D.Min.






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