Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings



The Thirty-second Week of the Year, November 11 - 16, 2019

Monday  Luke 17.1-6
The offences, the scandals and the obstacles are all about us.  “They are sure to come.”  The Kingdom exists now and therefore it attracts fierce opposition.  The temptation is to join forces ever so subtlety with the opposition and thereby become the scandal in the path of others.  "[Scandals] are sure to come,"  Jesus tells us. They are inevitable.  They are also integral to our formation through trials.  In our life of prayer we can't expect to float upon ethereal clouds above the battle.  Our secret agenda many times is to escape trials when we say that we seeking deeper union with God.  We are looking for bliss here on earth.  This expectation is an illusion.  Facing trials is the way the contemplative life is lived. Most important is the way we handle the matter of forgiving offences.  The love relation flows from the Trinity through us out into all who come into contact with us especially in the matter of forgiveness.  The challenge is great and the trials are difficult.  All we need is faith strong enough to move at our command great rooted trees so that they begin to grow in the ocean.  A figure of speech; an exaggeration.  But the truth nonetheless is expressed that faith is essential and invincible.
Tuesday   Luke 17.7-10
In being faithful to our prayer practice we are first basically servants, unworthy servants who fulfill the requirements of serving God.  We bring ourselves each day to my periods of prayer in obedience to the very nature of the spiritual life that demands that we surrender consciousness over to the mystery of Christ.  God, however, is more faithful in the generosity of his grace.  For in our practice God fulfills his promise to make us his friends, to share with us the secrets of his heart, to draw us into deep union with the divine life of the Holy Trinity.  It is not ours to know the day or the hour.  It is ours to be faithful to the "duties" of prayer.  God will visit me with his Spirit and I shall be drawn into intimacy with God.  Before I am the friend and the beloved I must first be the servant.
Wednesday   Luke 17.11-19
After practicing the quiet centered prayer of the heart, I conclude the prayer by reciting these lines of this Gospel story:  "Then, one of the lepers, seeing that he had been made clean, returned, praising God with a loud voice, and falling on his face before Jesus, he gave thanks."  It expresses all that has happened in my prayer.  I too am cleansed once more in the grace of /Christ.  I am conscious in a new way of the source of this grace.  I am completely grateful for the gift.  I return into Christ; I am in Christ.  I prostrate in full abandonment to the Trinity, giving thanks, giving thanks.  What other response is there to the gift of prayer than the prayer itself of thanks, part of a never-ending cycle of gift and the gift of thanks.
Thursday   Luke 17.20-25
I want to know.  I want to grasp with my mind the mystery of God's Kingdom.  I want to possess.  Always, I want to possess.  So in my prayer there arises this desire to know.  The Kingdom of God is not grasped by signs and wonders.  “Lo, it is there or it is here.  The Kingdom of God is here already in my midst.”  The Mystery is just beneath the reality we experience.  It is within me.  It is around me.  It is here under the signs of daily life.  Jesus is there in the unknowing.  Jesus is there is the letting-go and in the receiving of Jesus in the quiet of my acceptance.  Jesus is there and here in the unknowing as in the signs of the Eucharist.  Jesus is present within the reality of the Church in her fullness.  God possesses me in the silence and hidden-ness of grace.  Grace of the Kingdom flows over me and possesses me in the unknowing of silence and in the power of the Word ever pronounced in the love that is the Spirit.  Ultimately the Son of Man's light will fill the skies like the lightening from the east to the west.  But now it is rejection by a generation that does not believe and the Son of Man suffers many things while in our midst until he comes again.  Am I there and here with him?
Friday    Luke 17.26-37
Remember Lot's wife.  Keep in mind that she was punished for looking back upon what God was calling her away from.  Don't look back.  Don't look back with longing for the pleasures of a life without the discipline of prayer.  Don't look back to the preoccupation with the activities and goals of a life without the spiritual presence of God's Kingdom.  Some of the modern interpretations of spirituality explain away the words in the Gospel that warn us about punishment as a consequence of our sin and indifference to the Kingdom.  Love swallows up fear.  The deep longing for union with God in the Spirit of Christ overcomes the fear of being found wanting at the end.  Where does all this take place?  Where does this great summing-up take place?  Look for the signs.
Saturday   Luke 18.1-8
No matter how silent and hidden my prayer, it is always a call for God's justice and the vindication of those who suffer injustice.  "Thy Kingdom come" is the perpetual cry of the Church for the implementation of justice within the human family.  We must always pray and not grow faint in the conviction that we are praying to God the prayer of the Spirit.  In the end will there be faith on earth among all the peoples?  Do I have enough faith to believe in the final victory of Christ when he comes again?

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


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