April 29, 2006

Catherine of Siena

Category: Communion of Saints — Micah @ 12:00 am

Listen to Today’s Podcast

Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is April 28th, 2006: the feast of Blessed Catherine of Siena.

If you have ever studied or even thought about the great medieval mystics, you surely have encountered one of the greatest of them all, the 14th century nun, Blessed Catherine of Siena. At only six years old, she had a vision while walking along the road. She wrote about it later, saying, “I beheld our Lord seated in glory with St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John.” Jesus smiled at her, and gave her a blessing. From that moment on, her path was set.

She began to spend as much time as she could in prayer and meditation. Her family resisted this impulse of hers, but the young mystic insisted on her calling, and eventually she was permitted to enter the Dominican order, were she did all the things expected of her. She was a devoted nun, unafraid to nurse those who suffered with the plague, or to visit prisoners. Like many Dominicans, she was a gifted spiritual director, and a skilled counselor, being called upon to resolve all manner of disputes.

And throughout all this, her visions continued. But in addition to her visions of heavenly things, the Adversary sent her visions of monstrous things to tempt her and to draw her away from God. These continued visions caused great controversy among those around her, as to whether she was a saint, or merely insane. But Catherine herself never doubted the source of the visions, whether Divine or demonic. Perhaps she was comforted by the passage from First John we hear today, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-2:2)

Catherine’s story is a beautiful example of the mystical life, with her comforting and challenging visions, authenticated by her dedicated attention to prayer and worship, and also to the service of those who most needed her help.

Let us pray: Everlasting God, you so kindled the flame of holy love in the heart of blessed Catherine of Siena, as she meditated on the passion of your Son our Savior, that she devoted her life to the poor and the sick, and to the peace and unity of the Church: Grant that we also may share in the mystery of Christ’s death, and rejoice in the revelation of his glory; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us on May 1st at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.

Today’s Recommended Books

Popularity: 10% [?]