Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings



fEBRUARY 17 - 22, 2020

Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Mark 8.11-13
Listen to the sighs of Jesus; enter into them.  His sighs bespeak the humanity of Christ as he experiences frustration and pain.  What causes this emotional response?  It is the hardness of heart that opposes the openness of his sacred heart.  Jesus is an open door into the Mystery of God and into humanity's fulfillment.  The Lord remains this open door.  Pass into the heart of God, the Father, through Jesus!  Arguments and the demands for signs as the sine qua non of a relationship with Christ are obstacles to that relationship.  In my prayer layers of mental shields will constantly arise as obstacles to full encounter with Christ.  As an arrow straight and swift to its target, my heart in its aspirated cry--i.e. prayer-- will go to the heart of Christ.  In this heart-felt stance Christ will not leave me for the other shore.
Mark 8.14-21
In this selection two different dimensions of reality are dealt with.  First, the disciples are concerned about food for the journey.  Then, secondly, Jesus exposes the ways in which discipleship is corrupted.  The leaven of Herod is preoccupation with the pleasures and riches of consumer life.  The leaven of the Pharisees is self-seeking under the guise of religion.  The disciples fixate on the fear of going hungry.  Jesus brings them and us back to the deeper reality.  God's providence should relieve us of undue anxiety about what is necessary for life.  More important is the act of prayer.  It is in prayer that we remember the absolute that is God and his Kingdom; all else will follow necessarily.  More important is that we allow our hearts to become pliable to the Spirit.  Prayer is our eyes and ears seeing, hearing and remembering Jesus so that we are changed into his image.  The fruit of prayer is understanding born of love.  More, it is the Presence of Jesus as Person in our lives.
Mark 8.22-26
In this Gospel account of a healing, it is not a simple word or gesture in response to faith to cause a miracle.  It’s about a process of faith and healing.  Here is a working-with the person gradually until the transformation comes about.  There is a rite of anointing and laying-on of hands.  There is an inquiry of progress in the cure.  Jesus awaits the findings of the blind man.  There is a separation of the seeker for healing away from the village.  The man responds: he looks intently and was restored.  All the years of my prayer have been the moving with Jesus into transformation.  Sacrament and quiet prayer, seeing things anew but not perfectly, allowing the Lord to take me  by the hand, the willingness to leave the village, to be apart with Jesus are all parts of the process of my prayer life leading to transformation.
Mark 8.27-33
Three dimensions of our life with Christ appear in this selection.  Our faith is rooted in the Magisterium of the Church.  It is the Church's confession that I must absorb so that I can be transformed into Christ.  The orthodox word leads me to true union with God.  Who am I?  My response becomes love through the ecclesial confession.  Second, my life must be rooted in the Cross of Christ.  My humanity like Jesus' must expect the suffering and inevitable death that are preludes to resurrection.  Third, I will always be tugged away from thinking with the mind of Christ by the pull of the modern secular culture.  So much of that culture is continuously, blatantly and strenuously  opposed to the will of God, creating a stumbling block to my union with God in the Kingdom of his Son.  Prayer is consenting to the light of Christ in all these dimensions in one simple act of love.
Mark 8.34-9.1
Isn't every act of true prayer an act of self-denial?  Prayer is the act of withdrawing from my self and of placing Christ as the center of my fullest consciousness.  This act is impelled by the Holy Spirit in faith, hope and love.  This is life.  This is soul.  What gain is there in having the whole world yet in doing so, displace Christ as the center?  This is spiritual, eternal death.  Choose life.  Prayer is choosing life.  Prayer transforms me and informs me so that my whole being is a confession of Christ before this adulterous generation of Christ-denial.  When Christ comes with his angels to judge the world, the content of this judgment is the quality of our fidelity to Christ in the face of opposition.
Saturday (Feast of the Chair of St Peter; meditation is on the weekday Gospel.)

Mark 9.2-13
Christ’s transfiguration is the prime pattern of prayer.  Go with Christ into solitude, up a high place, alone, apart.  Be there with the chosen companions, the saints, the prophets and patriarchs of the Revelation.  Catch glimpses of the glory in the face of Christ.  In that glory pass into the Father in the mystery of transforming, divine, hidden love that flows through the Spirit from the Divine Being that is all relationship.  Listen, be attentive, absorb the Word.  Suffer the fear and awe and the hiddenness of it all.  Then come down into the daily work of the cross.  Be not scandalized that the world does what it wills with Elijah and Christ.

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


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