Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church
April 29, 2020
Today, in Mercy, our Gospel gives us the sense of Jesus claiming his inheritance from the Father. He makes it clear that the Father’s Will is the Redemption of all Creation. This is the divine charge given to Jesus. This is his mission.
Jesus continues to use the symbol of bread to teach the forming community.
Bread sustains life.
God’s Word is eternal life.
Sharing bread is an act of community.
In the Body of Christ, we are made One with God
and with one another.
Bread can stale and disintegrate.
Within the Body of Christ, we become eternal
and will be raised up unto the Last Day.
These are such BIG thoughts, amazing teachings. I always wonder how simple shepherds, fishermen and housekeepers were supposed to understand! I wonder how we, in our human limitations, could begin to comprehend the infinitely loving design of God revealed in Jesus Christ!
Today, as we celebrate the feast of the great Saint Catherine of Siena, we can learn from her spiritual wisdom. Without formal education, she grew by grace into a Doctor of the Church.
She was born Catherine Benincasa on March 25, 1347, in Siena, Italy, and was a twin, the 24th child of 25. She only lived to the age of 33, dying of a stroke in Rome in 1380. Catherine of Siena, often referred to as “great Kate,” is well known for her expressive life of prayer shared in three major sources of writings: over 400 letters, 26 prayers, and The Dialogue of Divine Providence, which she referred to as “the book,” written in the format of a conversation between herself and God. She was noted for her style of learning, not acquired from formal education and degrees, but gained from an interior wisdom that came from lived experiences and a mystical life of prayer. ( https://www.hprweb.com/2020/02/the-trinitarian-theology-of-the-eucharist-according-to-st-catherine-of-siena/)
Here are two selections from Catherine’s extensive writings which reveal her ever-deepening relationship with God through the gift of the Bread of Life.
Eternal God, Eternal Trinity, You have made the Blood of Christ so precious through His sharing in your Divine Nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for You. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When You fill my soul I have an ever-greater hunger, and I grow more famished for Your Light. I desire above all to see You, the true Light, as you really are.
St. Catherine of Siena, Prayer 12, V 124–157
And by the light of most holy faith
I shall contemplate myself in you.
And I shall clothe myself in your eternal will,
And by this light I shall come to know
That you, eternal Trinity,
And waiter for us.
You, eternal Father,
Are the table
That offers us as food
The Lamb, your only-begotten Son.
He is the most exquisite of foods for us,
Both in his teaching,
Which nourishes us in your will,
And in the sacrament
That we receive in Holy Communion,
Which feeds and strengthens us
While we are pilgrim travelers in this life.
And the Holy Spirit
Is indeed a waiter for us,
For he serves us this teaching
By enlightening our mind’s eye with it
And inspiring us to follow it.
And he serves us charity for our neighbors
And hunger to have as food
And the salvation of the whole world
For the Father’s honor
So we see that souls enlightened in you,
Never let a moment pass
Without eating this exquisite food
For your honor.
Music: Ave Verum Corpus – words attributed to 14th century Pope Innocent VI, melody to Mozart, sung by King’s College Choir
Hail, true body
Ave, ave verum Corpus
Born of the Virgin Mary;
Natum de Maria Virgine
Vere passum, immolatum
In the cross for man
In cruce pro homine
Cujus latus perforatum
Water and blood
Fluxit aqua et sanguine
May we taste
Esto nobis praegustatum
Time of death
Mortis in examine
The time of death
In mortis examine