Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings



Twenty-fifth Week of the Year
September 21 - 26, 2020

(Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist; meditation is on weekday Gospel.)

Luke 8.16-18
"Do not be afraid."  "Let your light shine out."  Rejoice in the hiddenness of your prayer.  Dwell there in that quiet, unknown spot in your heart; dwell there in the mystery of the Trinity and of the Risen Christ, but the light must shine out eventually to the whole world.  The light that is the fruit of prayer is not to be put under a bushel or under the bed.  The light of love in faith is to be put on a lamp stand.  But thereby do I not give into the temptation to seek praise for my dedication to prayer?  A tension exists between the command to be hidden in my prayer and the command to let my light shine forth among people.  If I truly accept my littleness, then it follows that in prayer I will find my center -point in Christ who is the center of the universe, the center of the Church, the presence that heals the wounds of the world.  “Then that which is hidden will be made manifest.”  I must be careful that I hear what the Word in all its clarity demands of me.  I must let the  Word grow as the Spirit wills.  Then I will see the life of grace grow.  I embrace the unknowing of my prayer so that Christ the light be born within me.
Luke 8.19-21
Jesus has said that he came to bring a sword not peace.  Here in this Gospel is the sword of his directness and focus.  Once before he drew the line for his Blessed Mother: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?"  Jesus is in the midst of the roaring furnace of establishing the Kingdom.  As he has asked others, what he himself has done: he has left his family, his mother and his brethren, to follow the will of the Father in his public ministry.  “Who is my mother, my brethren?”  All who are gathered around the word of God and who seek to change their lives so as to do the will of the Father, they are the family of God.  Mary, as the first disciple of the Kingdom, the one who cherished the word at the annunciation of his birth and since her son's infancy, is eminently among those gathered into Christ.  When I pray from the center of my heart in complete surrender into God’s work, I place myself there among those whom Jesus points to as the family of God.
Luke 9.1-6
We are gathered into Christ through our acceptance of his word within the Church.  The successors of the apostles, the bishops when they are in union with the Bishop of Rome, are the voice of the faithful in matters of faith and morals, as they bear forward the great Tradition contained in the Magisterium.  Jesus commissions the Apostles in this Gospel reading.  That mystical identification with this ministry continues now through the Church.  If we reject the Teaching we place ourselves out of the gathering-in which is the Church.  "And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them."  At the heart of my most intimate, silent, centered prayer is union with the Church, the Body of Christ.  Within my own heart and within the Church the same surrender must take place.  I must be consistent and united with Christ in prayer and daily life within the Church.
Luke 9.7-9
The world has sought to see Jesus but not always with eyes of faith.  They launch historical investigations; they make literary sallies into the Christ story.  Aspects of Christian faith degenerate into caricatures at the hands of militant unbelievers.  Like Herod their eyes are turned to Jesus to try to explain away this divine and salvific phenomenon.  They wish to explain it away without truly seeing Jesus through faith and love, without openness to the power of the Holy Spirit.  Unless we surrender to the internal working of the Holy Spirit we cannot be drawn into the mystery of the Christ-Presence, in whom the Father is made manifest.  It is only in the prayer of faith that we can truly begin to see him as he truly is.  Gradually we are drawn into the mystery of the Trinity.
Luke 9.18-22
Jesus prays alone but the disciples are near him.   His prayer is not in a place of absolute solitude but it is first an interior opening into the Father that absorbs his whole person.  This opening into the Father can come only from him, the Son to the Father.  Jesus as God and Man moves into his divine origins.  The prayer of Jesus because of the Incarnation is unique.  No one could pray like that until Jesus.  By grace we share in this unique prayer.  My prayer is thus a continuation of the grace of the Incarnation.  My prayer comes from the deepest parts of my own person so that only I can be of that prayer.  But there is nothing of me in the ability to pray: only the Spirit of the Son can create prayer in me.  Prayer is never alone it is always with the disciples, it is always with and in the Church.  Prayer is always about the identity of Jesus.  Who do you say I am?  My prayer is the personal affirmation of the totality of who Christ is.  That identification and naming in faith affirms who I am.  I am he who affirms that Jesus is the totality of my life, of the Church's, of all of humanity, indeed of the universe.  Along with the affirmation is the acceptance of the cross, of all the trials and troubles that will ultimately diminish me in my compulsive dependence on human capacities and lead me to the final identification with Christ in my death.  How and when death comes--and it will come--I accept all.  These are the ingredients of the state of prayer in Christ' Spirit who prays in me.
Luke 9.43-45
My prayer always falls short of a full comprehension of the mystery of Christ and of my real union with God in that mystery.  I am amazed at all that God does in Christ.  Yet I fall short of fully comprehending the work of the Spirit.  Especially in the matter of the Cross, I am dense, I am opaque, I am cowardly and weak-minded.  My prayer must be made in profound patience.  I must realize that the work takes time.  I must be willing to suffer in the crucible of time and process.  I must rest in salvation, already accomplished: I am seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father.  My prayer is always founded upon the Holy Eucharist.  My prayer is an extension of the Eucharistic moment and communion.  Slowly I become what I eat.  My prayer is the affirmation of my communion in the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection.


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


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