Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings


Please read the Sacred Scripture given for this Sunday’s Liturgy:

Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle B, March 18, 2018

Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:7-9; John 12:20-33

First Reading (Jeremiah 31:31-34):

The promise of the New Covenant contains in it the basis for the gift of contemplative prayer given within the Church, the gathering-in of God’s People, the New Israel. I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers.

Contemplative prayer is dwelling and abiding in the Presence of the Trinity through the gift of God’s love breathed within us by the Spirit.

But this is the covenant that I will made with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God and they shall be my people….All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord.
The indwelling in God is accomplished in the redemption given in Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection. Forgiveness and rebirth are the foundation of the fulfillment of the promise.

[F]or I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more.
Second Reading (Hebrews 5:7-9):

The fundamental contemplative gaze is upon the Son crucified, the living icon of the internal life of the Trinity: The Son turned in love through the Holy Spirit unto the Father, an eternal act of love that is the consubstantiality of the Trinitarian divine Being, beyond all knowing except as revealed in the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayer and supplications with cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

The impediment to divine union and transformation into the divine life is our fallen nature and the weight of our sins. Jesus is savior in the depths of our soul who opens us up into sharing the divine life by bearing away our inherent obstacle, our spiritual death-state of sin, original and actual.

Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Gospel Reading (John 12:20-33)

The deep sigh of contemplative prayer is uttered by Gentiles who come to Andrew and Philip, the longing of the whole human race, the foreshadowing of the New Israel:
Sir, we would like to see Jesus.

It was in this way the very Gospel of John began with the yearning to be with the Lord: Lord, where do you abide? And Jesus responded, Come and see.

At the heart of the contemplative state is the willingness to go beyond the confines of our selves to pass beyond into divine union, the adoption as sons, reborn of God.

Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this word will preserve it for eternal life.

This scene in John’s Gospel is the depiction of what the other Gospels manifested as the Transfiguration. Jesus in the midst of his surrender to his sacrificial death is here manifested as the Son.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.”

The eternal glory of the Son is made manifest in the love-obedience on the cross.
The glory of Christ is the new heavens and the new earth, the transformation of all creation, the cosmic glory that will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Even now we share in this glory through grace, lived in our abiding in God, our contemplative state and prayer.

“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

A part of the contemplative/mystical union with God in Christ is the ascetical struggle—our ancestors in the spiritual life called it spiritual warfare. The power and systems of the world, intentionally instituted outside of Christ, exert a pull on us away from the light of Christ. The instigator of evil, the ruler of this world [the devil], influences the hostile forces. But, remember the battle has already been won in Christ Jesus, as we remain in Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit who pours God’s love into our hearts, the gift made manifest in our prayer-states and spontaneously in our lives lived-out in love for others in Christ.

Jesus answered and said: “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.”

The greatest height, and the deepest source, of the contemplative/mystical union with the Trinity in Christ Jesus, is the Holy Eucharist, celebrated fervently in faith, hope and love in the ecclesial Liturgy. It’s a here and now, manifest and touchable, the Sacrament, the Mystery of Christ shared within the Church.

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

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