Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings





January 11, Saturday

John 3.22-30
So much of our prayer is silence so we can hear the voice of the Bridegroom.  So much of our practice is hearing over and over again the voice of Scripture as these sacred words move within, touching our hearts and minds, empowering our wills to surrender and to accept, to become obedient.  The voice of the Bridegroom becomes more clear and absolute.  His voice becomes the dominant voice of our interior conversation.  And our voice becomes more still so that we may hear and follow.  Then the Bridegroom increases and we, the friends, decrease.  But in the end we become who we are in a true, unlimited dimension  since we are defined by the one whom we love, Jesus, Son of God and Savior.


First Week of Ordinary Time, January 13 - 18, 2020

Mark 1.14-20
Four themes are in this first statement of Jesus’ preaching at the beginning of St. Mark’s Gospel.  1. The time is fulfilled.  2. The Kingdom of God is at hand.  3. Repent.  4. Believe in the gospel.  Time can never be empty again as long as it is filled with the presence of Jesus.  All around me is the Kingdom of God, and most of all, within me. The Kingdom is the ever-widening absolute sovereignty of the Trinity.  The Kingdom of God demands that I change my internal conversation.  I must re-think the way I relate to people and things.  This re-thinking with resolution to be open to God is at the heart of repentance.  The light of the Gospel is the Word that has a voice.  That voice echoes in my understanding through the infused virtue of faith.  Every period of prayer is time fulfilled; it is entering the Kingdom; it is repentance; and it is faith.
Mark 1.21-28
Contemplative prayer must be based on the solid foundation of Jesus reigning in our hearts and teaching as "one with authority."  In our approach to the Kingdom there can be no ambiguity about the absoluteness of the Lord's authority.  I may not be always able to understand and live-out the absolute of that authority, given my weaknesses.  But at least my prayer must not be focused on me as if I were the main point of existence.  On the contrary, prayer is adoration and submission to Jesus the Lord who reigns over me.  I must be open to the grace of experiencing the Lordship of Christ to enlighten me with absolute truth.  The demons of our thoughts will cry out:  "What have you to do with us?"  But we surrender our thoughts; we dash them against the Rock that is Christ Jesus.  We accept the Magisterium of the Church as a means of living in the ambience of the One Who teaches with absolute authority.  If the Lord teaches with authority, his Church will teach with authority.  My sincere, simple intention is to be among those who listen to and obey Christ in His Body, the Church.
Mark 1.29-39
Today’s reading from St. Mark’s Gospel gives us the timetable of Jesus' daily life.  The center of it is his prayer, his contemplative prayer.  It is not prayer in the synagogue, or in the Temple, or with his community of apostles.  Jesus’ prayer is simply interior union, prolonged, in solitude, silent, completely absorbing.  The Trinitarian life of the Word floods the humanity of Jesus and moves him into this prayer.  His prayer of solitude and interior gazing upon the Father continues within the Church in her Catholic tradition of mysticism and in the example of contemplative communities in the Church.  Jesus’ center is union with the Father, expressed primarily in prayer; and all the rest is public testimony, teaching and healing, the touching of people's lives at the point of their greatest need.  Deep, silent, simple prayer enables us more readily to enter into the deepest moment of ecclesial mysticism, the Holy Eucharist—the source and summit of shared divine life.
Mark 1.40-45
Let me accept that I am the leper in this Gospel story.  Let the words and faith of the leper become part of my silent waiting upon God's mercy in Christ.  The resoluteness of my will to be there in faith reflects in grace the resoluteness of Christ to heal me.  Jesus says: "I will it.  Be cured."  Part of the contemplative life is waiting upon the gradual transformation in divine union.  There are moments of illuminating grace; but there is also the long process of waiting upon the Lord in hope.  "Take courage; it is I; be not afraid."
Mark 2.1-12
The four who carry the paralytic symbolize the four corners of the earth.  The man lying in his pallet represents all of humankind.  His basic illness is the wound of sin.  He is lowered before the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  The Church extends to the four corners of the earth and bears humankind within her mystical constitution.  We, one with the Church, in our contemplative prayer of silent love therefore carry all humanity in our prayer.  Along with our own sins and infirmities we carry the whole human family before the One who has power to forgive sins.  We must battle against the sentiments that deny sin.  We must withstand those that deny the absolute effectiveness of Christ's power to forgive our sins and to heal us.  In forgiving our sins Jesus lifts us up into a sharing in the divine life of the Trinity.  The Sacrament of Penance-Reconciliation should be a regular occurrence in our spiritual life, hearing the words of this Gospel: your sins are forgiven.
Mark 2.13-17
We see in this Gospel reading the union between ecclesial society and the spiritual interior life of grace.  They are two aspects of the one life in Christ.  We live in the divine institutional reality of the Church--"institutional religion" so to speak--and the interior life of grace--the spirit life of mystical union.  Matthew (Levi) is called to the number of the Apostles upon whom Christ founded his Church with the promise of infallible fidelity to him and his teachings.  This Church is the visible society in which we can achieve the life of grace.  Levi (Matthew) is also healed of his sin and given the new life of grace by the physician of souls.  The work of the whole Church is to be purified of self-righteousness so that the work of grace can take place now within us and through us.


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


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