Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings

Second Week of the Year January 17 - 22, 2022

Mark 2.18-22
In the contemplative life, practice must flow from the reality of divine union.  Grace is gift; practice cannot cause grace.  Practice must flow into and from the reality of grace.  The state of divine love given to us in grace is the root of practice.  Practice then serves grace in the struggle against our own selfishness, against sin which is the denial of grace.  The disciples of one particular practice come to Jesus with a question of about his disciples' practice in regard to fasting.  These particular Pharisees have a practice divorced from the essential core of love and grace.  Jesus brings it back to love when he speaks about the Bridegroom.  Bridegroom connotes love and union.  Bridegroom connotes the joy of the wedding.  In the reality of the divine Presence there is only love.  There are only the Bridegroom and the Bride.  In the struggle, we wage war against sin until we come through our death to the ultimate transformation, the wedding feast of the Kingdom.  "Until death do us part." The discipline of practice serves the state of union with God.  In grace the old becomes new--full of promise.  We become young at heart.  Behold the Bridegroom comes; let us go forth to meet him with the lamps lit with our desire and our love.  In Him we have new wine for the new skins.

Mark 2.23-28
Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.  "Yes, You are the Lord of the Sabbath."  In that confession of Jesus as Lord, I enter into the divinity of Christ through the Spirit and through that faith into the Father.  In that confession of faith, I find my Sabbath, my absolute rest, in the bosom of the Trinity.  Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and also Lord of the Work in the Kingdom.  His Spirit gives us the delicate balance of work and rest beyond legalisms.  Our hunger is for the rest in God and our hunger is for the food that sustains us in the journey.  I must learn to find the rest in my labor so I can receive the food that sustains me.  But in the end and that remains for eternity, is contemplative rest given freely by God that is at the center of our soul.

Mark 3.1-6
Do I dare to take the hardness of my heart into the presence of Christ?  I must have fear, a healthy fear, a fear born of love and reverence before the absoluteness of the Trinity living in Christ.  "And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…."  What is it to look upon anger and grief in the face of Christ?  If I could but hold myself in that reality and let its power penetrate and melt the hardness of my heart.  Ultimately it is healing that is the final outcome from the glance of Christ.  I stretch out my withered heart and hands, my weaknesses and blindness unto Jesus who will heal me.  If I can stay long enough in the grief and anger of Christ, I will find healing.  Is not the renewal of life in grace that comes from Christ’s healing the purpose of my prayer?  Do I not move quickly into the joy of being born anew?  It is painful to live in a milieu that seeks to destroy Christ in His fullness.  But His glory is beyond destruction.

Mark 3.7-12
Unclean spirits knew the reality of Jesus; they knew the facts, namely, that Jesus was the Son of God.  But it's not enough to know facts about Jesus.  I must know Jesus only through love and submission out of love.  Only the Father can reveal Jesus as only Jesus can reveal the Father.  Only in the Holy Spirit can this new relationship that is grace come about.  Here is the heart of prayer.  And again, the life of prayer does not result in an antiseptic detachment from "the press of the crowd."  In Jesus we are among all peoples.

Mark 3.13-19
It is important to come to terms with the reality of the hierarchical Church that is the Body of Christ.  The whole Body is in immediate communion with the Persons of the Holy Trinity, sharing in divine life of knowing and loving.  This communion is the Church governed and taught by the hierarchy of bishops and pope in matters of Revelation and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, the mystical means of union with God in Christ Jesus.  The path of Christ is in obedience and faith.  Better to avoid all the rebellion and dissidence that absorb many in their life of faith.  The battle is not over the democratization of the Church; what matters is the work of obediential union with Christ our Head through the ministry of the Church.  Jesus went up to the mountain and then called to himself whom he would and constituted them the Twelve.  Their ministry continues today in the bishops in communion with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, to whom Jesus gave the name, Peter, the Rock, which signifies his office as the universal pastor and teacher of the Church.  Because we are able to rest on the rock of doctrine we can pass beyond into divine union.

Mark 3.20-21
As we are more and more taken up into the Kingdom of God, our life style will not be like others who have an agenda about things that are more visible and acceptable according to the common wisdom.  We will appear as "out of our minds."  The test of our sanity will be how much we can be realistically involved in the duties and challenges of our state in life.  Ultimately, we take our place among others in common work.  The quality of that relationship will become apparent to us and to others.  Being sensitive to God's presence we can trust in God's grace to be able to discern our connections with the common reality in the fulfillment of our duties.  The problem will always be what is the measure of reality?  Do we measure reality by the standard of the Kingdom of God or by the conventions of our secular culture?  Christ’s vision for our behavior is of the Kingdom, thus the world judged Him “out of his mind.”

William Fredrickson, OBLSB, D.Min.






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