Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings


The Eleventh Week of the Year

June 14 - 19, 2021

Matthew 5.38-42
The act of  prayer is basically an act of surrender to our adoption into the life of the Holy Trinity.  What is at the heart of this divine life?  It is about the gift of self to the other.  My life with others must reflect the gift-giving that is the continuation of the Trinitarian life.  With others then I must be willing to go beyond what is the conventional wisdom about sharing goods and forgiving injuries.  My relations with others give me a clear indication of how I relate to God in my prayer.  Here, in today’s Gospel reading, my prayer and how I live my life come together.  A simple, single thread runs from God through me into others.  It must be love and gift of self.  Other parts of Scripture, however, warn me that I also must be cautious about my need to defend against exploitation.  Only the Spirit can give me discernment and prudence in these matters.

Matthew 5.43-48
Fidelity to contemplative prayer enables one to see all things as God sees them: this is the perfection of prayer, the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom. The eyes of the One who gives life to all, who calls all to salvation, who holds each person in his individual identity, who makes the sun to shine on all and sends the rains upon all without discrimination, this One, the eternal Father, enables the faithful to love and not to hate, to salute even  enemies.  God's perfection can become ours through the Spirit who has been poured out upon us by the Father of all lights.

Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18
Insatiable is the thirst to taste myself.  Whether in emotional, physical or spiritual matters, this pull toward the center of my own satisfaction is deep within my psyche.  It is the long process of prayer to find the center in the Father and in his delight.  I must be secret even from myself.  I will hide behind the closed doors of unknowing and forgetting so that my heart rest only in the center which is the Father.  Little by little the taste for the silence and the absolute of complete surrender to the Father will purge the thirst for self-praise and the admiration of others.  Prayer, fasting and alms-giving will become part of the divine mercy flowing through me, through the Church out to all I serve and live among.

Matthew 6.7-15
True prayer does not begin with oneself.  The flow of eloquent words should not be the content of prayer.  The Holy Spirit prays with unutterable groaning.  Prayer is a simple gaze of love upon the Father in the Spirit with the heart and eyes of Jesus, the Son.  Jesus gives us the words that go to this beautiful silent music of the Spirit playing in us because by ourselves we lack the ability to find words adequate to the mystery of sharing in the life of the Trinity: Our Father Who art in heaven….  “That life in God is merciful love.  My forgiveness of others allows that love cycle to continue through me to others and returns to me and then to the source, The Father.

Matthew 6.19-23
This Gospel reading mentions the heart and the eye.  The heart is the symbolic center of our inner movements of consciousness and of volition.  We seek the heart in our prayer; we seek to dwell in the quintessential point of our person.  The eye and the ear are our consciousnesses’ opening into the outer world.  Whatever is in our heart has first been in our eyes and our ears.  Prayer then is about the eye and the heart.  The heart is the place of all that we treasure.  The eye is meant for light.  Let Jesus and his kingdom be our treasure.  Let Jesus and his revelation be the light of our eye.  That is what prayer is all about.  Much of our prayer is about seeking the true treasure of the Kingdom, and throwing away the trash we hoard in opposition to the Kingdom.  But most of all, the eye through prayer must itself be enlightened by faith so all its intake contributes to the light that is Christ's revelation.  If the eye itself is dark, skeptical and superficial to Christ's light, how dark will be the heart.  How terrible is the darkness of the heart without the treasure of Christ's Holy Spirit.  Let our prayer be about the heart and the eye, about the treasure and the light of the Gospel.

Matthew 6.24-34
It is important to pray early in the morning.  The first thing to do as the day begins is to enter into deep, prolonged, silent prayer in the Holy Spirit.  Each day is a gift from God to seek first His Kingdom and all its righteousness.  From the very first moments of the dawn, prayer sets the pattern of the day.  Seek the Kingdom of God and His justice and holiness in everything that we say, do, avoid, and think.  The first temptation against placing the priority of prayer is anxiety to take care of all the concerns of life: job, money, relationships, food, housing etc.  The temptation is to think: “I cannot waste valuable time on the intangible Kingdom of God.”  That is the attitude of the Gentiles, that is, of all those waking up each morning to a daily vision without Christ.  Not so, not so for us who seek the Kingdom.  “Let nothing be preferred to the love of Christ”—St. Benedict’s Rule.  Everything else will fall into place.  Look at the birds and the flowers, to see how they behave in God's creation, the Kingdom.

Note: in the priority of time available, if you can begin with the corresponding hour of the Liturgy of the Hours, then, follow with the prayer of silent love-adoration. If duty sets time rationing, begin with the Gospel of the day, then enter the prayer of silent love.

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



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