Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings



Seventh Week of Ordinary Time, February 24 - 25, 2020
Mark 9.14-29
"If you can!”  We put conditions upon the power of Christ.  It as if we said: “If you can, maybe you will do this.” Jesus reacts to this lack of absolute faith in his omnipotent power.  How many times have we ruined the atmosphere of our relationship with the Lord because of our tepid faith!  How many times have we caused the exasperation of Christ who has to be with this faithless generation!  Like the father of the possessed boy, we must admit our lack of faith rather than turning away confounded.  Aware of the condition of our weak faith, let us turn it into a prayer:  "Lord I believe"—a foundation of faith that is real even if weakness leads us to exclaim:  "Lord, help my unbelief."  Lord, give me the Holy Spirit who is the fountain of faith and understanding.  Let the Spirit lead me into love and wisdom that is unconditional and absolute.
Mark 9.30-37
This Gospel selection is a wonderful preparation for the coming of Lent.  We must grapple with the reality of betrayal, failure and death.  We must build our whole interior life upon the acceptance of the cross and the living power of Christ's resurrection.  The greatest work is the death of our dominant egos seeking false self-aggrandizement.  We have to look into the Gospel state of spiritual childhood.  We have to open up to the fullness of our sharing in the life of the Trinity.  Accepting the child we accept the Son and in accepting the Son we enter into the Father through the Spirit.  That is the cycle of our prayer.

Meditations on the Gospel Readings for the Weekdays in Lent 

February 26 - 29, 2020

Ash Wednesday
Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18
Here in this Gospel reading is the fundamental  call of Lent.  The first order of business of the Kingdom of God is to allow God to open up the secret places of the heart to His Presence.  I must become intimate with the interior places of my heart.  It means I must open up the secret dynamics of my intentions.  For whom do I live?  Who is the object of my heart’s movement of love?  The object is a subject, a Person; it is the Father within the Trinity.  The Word is from and to the Father in the Holy Spirit.  Thus Jesus would have me share in this secret relationship.  It is secret because it is hidden in the mystery of the Trinity, the very nature of God.  The fundamental works of religion are alms-givning, prayer, and fasting.  These acts of religious love must not be corrupted by the addictions of my own selfishness.  These acts of religion must be the fruit of the intimate sharing in the life of the Trinity.  It follows then that prayer of the heart in silence is part of closing the door upon the closet of my heart to insure that the priority is maintained: God alone, for His love’s sake.
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Luke 9.22-25
The traditional translation of the Gospel is:  What profits you if gain the whole world and you lose your soul.  But the Gospel challenges us with a choice: We are free to choose.  The choice is between owning the things of the world and deepening the soul's consciousness of God.  Christ by his Spirit would lead you through the interior powers of the soul, knowing and loving, into sharing in the life of God.  The desire to grasp experiences for their own sake deadens the interior possibilities of experiencing the reality of God's Kingdom within us.  Jesus gives the example of his choice.  For all eternity the Word is of the Father, absolutely, completely--there is nothing of the Son which is not of the Father.  In his human existence, the Word made man, Jesus, lives only for the Father to the extent of losing his human life in the surrender to the Father who raises him from the dead.  In the Trinity only the Father can give the Son his distinction of person from all eternity.  In this human existence, only the Father can give Jesus in his humanity the glorified life of the Kingdom.  It is into this mystery that we surrender in our prayer.  The mystery is always concrete in our dying through patience and kindness in daily tasks, and then ultimately in our death when it comes.
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Matthew 9.14-15
“Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.”  Yes, we mourn because the beautiful image of Christ is too often and too much absent from the daily occurrences of our world.  We mourn because someone loved is gone forever in death.  The death and dying of Christ is constantly going on throughout our world.  Poverty, illness, injustice, violence, war, oppression, mental disorders, emotional pain and natural disasters witness to the absence of the Christ's resurrected power manifested and palpable.  Our own inner personal conflicts and sinfulness bespeak the absence.  At the center is the reality of the Bridegroom—Christ's victory, but it is real only in faith and hope, grasped in love hidden with Christ in God.  Meanwhile, we fast—we enter into spiritual discipline—and we mourn until the Bridegroom returns amid the light of our trimmed torches kept kindled with the oil of hope and desire for God like the bridesmaids at the wedding ready to greet the Bridegroom when he returns from his absence.
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Luke 5.27-32
Often we come to our prayer not as a lover to the beloved.  Rather we come as if we were rushing to an emergency room for immediate medical intervention to stop the bleeding, to alleviate the pain, to save life from death.  Jesus is the physician of our wounded souls and broken hearts.  Jesus came for that very purpose.  The banquet of our prayer is also meeting with our physician.  That is why Jesus remains with us and we with him:  he calls the sick who need healing.  That is why he came.  It was is to call us to health and new life like Levi’s call.  Our banquet room is oft times the emergency room.  Our prayer is resting as a patient under the care of Christ, the physician of our soul. We sinners, take courage: Jesus calls the sinner, not the righteous.

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


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