Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Weekday Readings





 

MEDITATIONS ON THE WEEKDAY GOSPELS

The Eighteenth Week of the Year, August 3 - 8, 2020
Monday
Matthew 14.13-21
The grace to pray flows from the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, that is, the Body and Blood of Christ, the font of the Spirit and the gift from the Father.  Each setting of prayer is my gathering unto Jesus "to a lonely place apart."  There in prayer he breaks the  bread of his Word and I receive him whole and entire in faith, hope and love.  Every gathering into Jesus through prayer shares in the Eucharist as the source and summit of union with God.  Thus my prayer flows from my communion in the Church through the Eucharist.  How well it is to practice quiet prayer of the heart in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.  Jesus is the Bread.  The Bread is Jesus; and the Bread that is Jesus, whole and entire, is Sacrifice, and Communion, and Food, and Presence which empowers union and unity with which become real, actual in prayer.
 
Tuesday
Matthew 14.22-36
Jesus, alone, at night, at prayer.  Here is the model of prayer.  When I pray I would be with You and like You.  At prayer the Spirit pours all that is You into me.  Yet my prayer alone in the night of pure faith is never without the Whole of Christ, the Church in the midst of people, of gathered individuals in all the aspects of their real life.  Let those who come into my presence touch Jesus in me so that they may be healed.  I carry the fruit of my prayer wherever I go.  The struggle in my prayer will always be to have faith, to go beyond my fears, to be in absolute adoration of the "I Am" of Jesus, to walk upon the waters with eyes fixed on the Lord, to be obedient to His call, “Come.”  But come without taking the gaze off Jesus.
 
Wednesday
Matthew 15.21-28
What other attitude do I need in my prayer than that of the woman of this Gospel, the Syrian-Phoenician woman who would not be deterred from her goal.  All that she wanted was found in Jesus.  All that she wanted had to do with another, not herself, in this case, the healing of her daughter.  Out of her poverty—she would receive whatever fell from the table, out of her patience—she would wait there as a dog at the feet of its master.  In my prayer the healing I seek is that of my soul and that of the salvation of all humanity, the healing of its pain and separation from the kingdom of God.  Give us this day the bread we need.  Thy Kingdom come!
 
Thursday

Feast of the Transfiguration

Readings: Daniel 7.9-10, 13-14; 2nd Peter 1.16-19; Matthew 17: 1 - 9
 
The Transfiguration is an essential dimension of the total mystery of Christ’s life, especially for those who seek to follow the contemplative path of transforming union with Jesus.  The change in Christ’s appearance, manifesting His inner glory, is a sign of the transformation that takes place in us in grace, in faith, hope and love.  We are transformed by sanctifying grace by sharing in the divine life of the Holy Trinity within our communion in the Church.
 
In the Holy Spirit we pass through Jesus into the Father.  The moments of transport into the bosom of the Father is intensified in our gaze upon the Transfigured Christ in prayer.
 
Humanity and Divinity are united without confusion of natures and without the errors of pantheism.  Jesus remains Man fully in his human nature and appearance as he descends the mountain and speaks immediately of his sufferings and death. 
 
Jesus also remains Son of God, the Divine Person in Whom his human nature subsists.
 
This marvelous sharing of humanity in divinity is ours in sanctifying grace.  The Transfiguration is icon, par excellence, of our transformation into the image of Christ; we become sons of God, men and women sharing in the Son-ship within the Trinity.  It is the habitual state of Jesus.  His transfiguration in its substance is his proper state at every moment of his earthly existence.  The manifestation of that state, however, is put aside, emptying himself for us, becoming like us, slaves, subject to death so raised in glory, He becomes the means of our rebirth in Him as children of the Father.  “As many as received Him, he gave the power to becomes sons of God, who believe in His name and are born of God” (cf. John 1:1-18).
 
[When you study the Transfiguration Gospel, you may come across some commentaries that state the following hypothesis of critique.  Historical criticism-oriented scholars say that the Transfiguration narrative is actually a Resurrection narrative that got put in the wrong sequence.  Or, Biblical authors or redactors re-arranged it to show Christ’s power already acting in his ministry.
 
These scholars are following historical criticism.  In this critique, they look upon Sacred Scriptures as would modern day editors re-arranging a manuscript.  They by their scholarly skills literally cut and paste the Scripture according to their theories.  And these critiques are theories although they are many times given such authority that you would think that these scholars had actual proof beyond their theories.]
 
The Transfiguration narrative is not a Resurrection narrative in itself.  The Church Fathers, the mystics, and people with faith following the Word, take what is before them as the sequence God intended in giving the Scripture to the Church.  The Church receives the Scripture texts and guards them faithfully under the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  We confess in our contemplative gaze upon the text of Scripture that the grace of Jesus’ union with the Trinity in his Person, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, shines forth in the Transfiguration as he walked his walk in the ordinary circumstances of his public life.  As Jesus explained in his descent from Mount Tabor, tell on one this transfiguration until after the ordeal of Calvary and his subsequent resurrection.
 
At this time we accept the Transfiguration as analogous to our situation as baptized Christians in the state of grace, living with the Holy Spirit within us.  We are radically sanctified in the Holy Spirit.  We share in the divine life of the Trinity.  But this state is hid by our human condition.  The fullness of this sharing will not be accomplished until we are raised up in glorified bodies in the new creation of the world at the last day, for eternity.  Yet, the transfigured grace is present even now.  We have seen that grace shine forth in the lives of the Saints, especially in the mystics, the saints given special periods of divine union manifested in their visions, writings and their presence within the Church at certain times.
 
The Transfiguration is in valid sequence in the Gospel narratives.  It is not a Resurrection episode re-arranged as a teaching help for Christians in trials.  (Some Scripture academicians even speak of the Resurrection more as a spiritual experience of the believing community than the real, manifested presence of the resurrected Christ in his body among his disciples.  They infer that it is the hope of the disciples that bring about these resurrection experiences.)
 
We embrace the actual, historical Transfiguration as a part of the mystery of Jesus as he fulfills his mission, moving toward his sufferings and death. 
 
The Second Reading: Peter, 1. 16-21:
St. Peter bears witness to the Transfiguration validating the Transfiguration as a fact in the mystery of Christ among us: We do not follow cleverly devised myths…. You do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Keep the Transfiguration as the power of transforming faith, hope and love as you journey into the Trinity, until you pass beyond this fragile world into your final glory in the resurrection.
 
Be of faith, simple, pure, absolute, without resort to human reasoning as the principal source of your life with God.  We are heirs of the great prophets who saw into the divine plan enveloping the events of their lives. 
 
The First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
 
Daniel, the prophet experiencing the apparent defeat of God in the exile of his people, sees the vision of the eventual presence of God shining forth in the glory of the Son of Man, the Christ, Who is Jesus.  The First Reading: I saw in the night visions … there came one like the son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom.
 
Our transfiguration in Christ is ours by the redemption of Christ.  He is now in glory.  Our transfiguration is happening now, even now, as we await our entry into glory.  Our prayer is the practical surrender into this mystery of Christ who transfigures us in deeper interior, divine union.  The Divine Nature touches our human nature in its real condition and it is transfigured in grace.
 
In is in the Sacramental Sacrifice of the Mass that we have Communion in the Transfigured Christ, Really Present, and are drawn into the life of the Holy Trinity. 
 
Mary, pray that we be open to the Holy Spirit who develops our faith, hope and love into His Gifts of understanding, knowledge and wisdom;  pray for the Church members who waver in their overly rational filtering of the Mystery of Christ acceptable to a secular, unbelieving society.  We believe; help our unbelief.
 

 
Friday
Matthew 16.24-28
It was a long process for Peter to learn the mystery of Christ.  Christ Jesus is one with the passion, cross, death and resurrection that is the pattern of life this side of the glory of the Kingdom.  My prayer is true in as much as grace allows me to enter into the sufferings of Christ through the acceptance of my own pain.  When I can embrace my pain and trials with a peaceful surrender to the Father's love and wisdom, then the Spirit of Christ is working within me.  The Gospel encourages me.  Peter, even with such a great calling, is himself a struggling pilgrim on the way.  My prayer accompanies Peter as he goes from being a stumbling block to becoming the rock of the Church.  Prayer is renunciation of the self.  My purest prayer is prayer in the night of dryness and uncertainty wherein I cling to the Spirit within me, the Spirit of the Risen Lord who sustains me through the difficulty.  Each occasion is a foretaste of the Last Day when the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels to judge the living and the dead.  For what in this world would I exchange this glory?
 
Saturday
Matthew 17.14-20
How long will Jesus put up with me as I come to him in prayer, so imperfect in my faith?  How long will he tolerate my lack of faith and the self-will of my ego-comforts?  In his mercy he remains my savior as long as I keep coming back in faith so that he can move the mountains of my weakness and past sins, even if that faith is as small as a mustard seed.  My faith is the small pilot light from which Jesus can enkindle the furnace of divine love.  Jesus, you are patient.  You will remain with this faithless and perverse generation as long as it requires to bring your faithful people to the fullness of the Kingdom, when you come again in glory.  Faith is the basis of my prayer and of the life that flows from prayer.

 


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

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For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Fredrickson
Fredrickson46@msn.com