Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings

Eighth Week of the Year

May 29, 2023

Mary, the Mother of the Church

Mark 10.17-27
Prayer is a process in which the relationship of love with Jesus matures.  Detours and wrong moves invariably accompany the progress.  Like the man who ran up to Jesus.  He has to be corrected in the way he approaches Jesus.  He is put under scrutiny.  He must be ready to answer questions.  He stays with it.  He is loved by the Lord.  The prayer process is not always easy and does not conform to our agenda.  At any moment in the process of grace, I can be asked to give and I can refuse or pretend that I don't hear clearly.  Or go on chatting or go away sad because I can't give up all that clings to me.  Mary, the Mother of God, is the type of true prayer.  “Let it be done to me according to Your word.”  Rich in grace, she is poor without riches.  The perfect state of grace is founded upon complete poverty and humility.  It is in that poverty that we experience the power of God that can do all things, even to have someone like ourselves saved.  The starting point and the finishing point is a sense of poverty and our faith and hope in God's absolute grace.

Mark 10.28-31
The more I pray and the more intense my surrender to the priority of prayer is, the less I have or want in my life.  Prayer is the act of leaving everything and following Jesus at the deepest levels of consciousness for a specific duration of time and space.  Prayer leads eventually to the contemplative state of wisdom.  By wisdom I see all things in God.  God's eyes are my eyes, his heart, my heart.  Then I see all things clearly.  I love all things purely.  Then all things are poured into my lap.  Along with the cross.  God's grace as free gift is absolute.  There are no guaranteed seats in the Kingdom.  I am first, then I can be last.  Last, then I am first.  There are no firsts and no lasts in the Kingdom.  It is a perfect communion.  All is gift.  All is grace.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 1:39 - 56
Divine Presence and omnipotent power are the ingredients of today’s feast and its Gospel selection.  These divine attributes do not exist in a vacuum or are theological terms.  God in Trinity is presence and the new creation given in Christ Jesus is power actuated.
Presence and power live in a human person in unparalleled perfection in the person of Blessed Mary, Virgin and Mother of God, bearer of the Lord Jesus within her womb.
How the presence of Mary in the fullness of her grace and mission envelopes Elizabeth and the child in her womb!  Leap for joy, filled with the Holy Spirit, exclaiming: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb….
Elizabeth is the beginning, nascent Church which until the end of time will exclaim this prayer, adding: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners ….
Our contemplative, quiet prayer in the same Holy Spirit delivers us up to that presence proclaimed in this Gospel until God recreates us so much so that we can truly say from the substance of our being: My soul magnifies the Lord….
The power of God accomplishes all this.  This power comes from the weakness of Christ’s cross and from the witnesses in humility and faith, first among all is the Blessed Mary.  Blessed are you for you believed that God will accomplish all that He has said to you.
Contemplative prayer is the prayer God accomplishes in us so that we receive God’s power of life and conscious love within the deepest levels of our soul.
All this presence and power flow from the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the enveloping embrace of the Holy Trinity, through the intercession and visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.  Hail Mary!

Mark 10.46-52
Like Mary, the blessed mother of God, my prayer is one of ever-deepening silence.  It is silence in adoration of the Word.  But my prayer is not one of absolute silence.  Silence is not the end or purpose of prayer.  It is only a relative condition of my complete adoration of the Word.  I enter unknowing that I may know through love.  Like Bartimaeus let no one silence me when the Word is present.  My prayer is to be open to the Word, especially when he passes my way.  In the presence of the Word, Jesus, my prayer is very simple: my prayer is the word spoken eternally by God.  The Word is Love, is Mercy.  "Have pity on me."  That I may see.  That I may set out on the way following Christ in praise and fidelity, following Jesus, the Light, the Way.

Mark 11.11-26
The Gospel is all about prayer.  Christ cleanses the temple in order that it may be a house of prayer for all nations.  Prayer is not commerce.  Prayer must lead to the fruits of being a branch in the vine that is Christ.  Cursed is the tree that does not bear fruit.  And when you stand in prayer in the dignity of a child of God, believe in the power of your prayer and again let its fruit be mercy and forgiveness, as the content of our prayer is immersion in God, an act of divine mercy.  Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

Mark 11.27-33
How in prayer does one enter into this Gospel’s account of a Rabbinical debate wherein one question is answered by another?  In our prayer there is no debating—we accept profoundly the authority of Jesus in all simplicity.  Else why would we enter into prayer in his name?  We run to John the Baptist to hear his words, to imitate his absolute adherence to the Kingdom.  Our confession of Jesus includes our confession of John.  I must go to the deepest level of Jesus' authority.  It is not merely a legal matter, or a matter of correct Biblical reference.  The authority of Jesus flows from his very person.  His authority is his generation from the Father within the Holy Trinity.  My prayer is this simple, profound consent to the Mystery of Jesus as Son of the Father within the eternal life of God.  My prayer is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit coming from the Father, welling up within my soul as a stream of living waters, who makes present to me the full mystery of Christ.  I seek to be purged of all duplicity, of all holding-back of my full surrender to Christ and his Kingdom.  Your authority is written upon your holy face, Lord Jesus, as you reflect the glory of your Father.  You are forever the transfigured Christ shining with the sun with the full glory of your sonship.

William Fredrickson, OBLSB, D.Min.






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William Fredrickson