Novena; St Catherine of Siena;

Novena to St Catherine – Day 9

Saint Catherine had a
tremendous love for Jesus in the Eucharist.  In her day it was very
unusual to receive the Eucharist on a daily basis — one really had to have
permission in order to do so and most times this permission was denied. 
Catherine, however, received very many mystical graces in the Eucharist — visions
and ecstasies often lasting 3-4 hours took place after she received Holy
Communion …many priests later attested to it.  In fact, her spiritual
director/confessor, Fr. Raymond of Capua, says in his biography of her:

“Catherine was drawn to the
Eucharist by the intense love she felt for Jesus, on whom she had set her eyes,
on whom she had set her heart, in whom she had set her faith, whom she loved
with all the powers of her being. No matter what obstacles were raised by those
who wished to prevent her receiving Holy Communion, Raymond always did his
utmost to let her have the consolation she […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 8

CATHERINE ‘WHO IS NOT’

  I will all the more

  Gladly boast of my weaknesses,

  That the power of Christ

  May rest upon me.

  […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 7

A short reflection in honour of St. Catherine. 

We confess
in the apostle’s creed, that we believe in the communion of the
saints. I always was fascinated, encouraged and gladdened by this truth.
Sometimes we imagine the saints to be somewhere far, far away but they
encompass/surround us (Heb 12:1). A couple of days before Sr. Dominic
died, she told me that she would never ever forget us and our families
when she sees God face to face.

The saints
by their example, their words and their prayers bring us nearer to God. Their
strong desire is to bring us closer to God. In the CCC we
read “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven
fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede
with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth
through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their
fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped” (CCC 956)

St. Catherine too, was […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 6

At this time when so many people are deprived of the Eucharist, this passage from St Catherine’s ‘Dialogue’ shows why this deprivation is so hard for so many people.

Dearest daughter, contemplate the marvelous state of the soul who receives this bread of life, this food of angels, as she ought. When she receives this sacrament she lives in me and I in her. Just as the fish is in the sea and the sea is in the fish, so am I in the soul and the soul in me, the sea of peace. Grace lives in such a soul because, having received this bread of life in grace, she lives in grace. When this appearance of bread has been consumed, I leave behind the imprint of my grace, just as the seal that is pressed into warm wax leaves its imprint when it is lifted […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 5

For
many eras, the Church has been truly blessed with saintly and most dedicated
Popes – each with his own personality and God given spiritual gifts.

Each
responding to his high calling from God with an immense generosity and spirit
of sacrifice in an increasingly changing world. 
Pope Francis no less than his predecessors has faced immense
difficulties in our own historical situation both in the Church and in the
world just as St. Catherine did in her time.

So she is surely a most powerful intercessor to invoke for the continual
outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the guidance and strength which Pope Francis
needs in his arduous ministry especially
at this time.

Each
successive Pope has had to cope with much criticism not only from the media,
but also at times, sadly, from members of his own flock.  Yet having said this, I think it can safely
be said, that there is  a vast number of
people worldwide,  of all races and
creeds […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 4

I offer my life to you Eternal Father, for your Sweet Spouse, unworthy though I am. I ask only to see the Renewal of that Sweet Spouse, your Church. Eternal God, this I ask of you.

I find real joy in singing to myself frequently during the day, this Magnificat Antiphon for Evening Prayer 2 of St Catherine’s Feast. Catherine’s whole life’s dream and prayer was for the renewal of Mother Church. What were these deep down prayers she uttered to her Heavenly Father? Her ‘Dialogue’ contains many beautiful one, but surely she would have made her own many of Jesus’ sentiments as told to us in St John’s Gospel.

One of these became full of meaning for me recently, as the Coronavirus restrictions entered more and more into our daily lives. John 20:19 tells us, “In the evening of the same day, the doors were closed in the room where […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 3

Although Catherine lived over six hundred years ago, her times were not unlike our own. She lived during a tumultuous period in the Church’s history, when the Black Death decimated Europe. The feudal system was in ruins. Nation states were emerging, with tensions between England and France, Genoa and Venice. The Pope was residing in Avignon and the calibre of members of Religious Communities and that of the diocesan clergy left a lot to be desired.

Catherine gave herself totally to trying to renew the Church and to regenerate Europe as a continent of peace. She personally nursed the sick and dying during the Black Death, putting herself in harms way to do so. She spent much time trying to correct the immoral ways of bishops and Cardinals. And yet, at the end of her life, it was considered that her mission had failed, especially as regards the Church. Many […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 2

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28)

With the world as it is these days, and knowing that St Catherine – having lived through a devastating plague – should be a good saint to turn to in a time of distress, I looked about in her ‘Dialogue’ to see what wisdom I might find.  And the following – on Divine Providence – seemed to be an answer, so to speak: hopefully offering words of encouragement and of hope.  At least, they invite those of us who have faith and hope in God, to see this time as an opportunity for growth in perfection, in self-knowledge and in truth … if we would dare to be so courageous!

The Eternal Father spoke to her:

“… why do I keep this soul, surrounded by so many
enemies, in such […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 1

I want to quote a prayer of St Catherine, published in a helpful little book “From Holy Communion to the Blessed Trinity” by M.V. Bernadot O.P.

First a petition in St Catherine’s own words:

“O Eternal Trinity, our supreme love and true light enlighten me.”

O Eternal Trinity, All Powerful God, we are dead trees, whilst You are the Tree of life. O infinite God, what a sight to see in Your light the tree of Your creature. O supreme Purity, You gave that tree for branches, the powers of the soul, intelligence, memory, will. And what fruits should these branches bear? The memory should retain You, the intelligence know You, the will love You.

When first planted by the gardener, how happy was the condition of this tree. But also, O my God, it is diseased, it now bears poisonous fruit; a tree of life has become a tree of death.

But, Eternal […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 6

St Catherine lived a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus; an intimacy that is frequently expressed in such pictures as Catherine and Jesus walking along with their heads together talking, or their exchange of hearts. Catherine was also fully aware that such intimacy was utterly vital for the Christian life. In her “Dialogue” we hear God the Father saying:(Chap. 23) I am the gardener, then, who planted the vine of my only-begotten Son in the earth of your humanity so that you, the branches, could be joined to the vine and bear fruit. … joined and engrafted to this vine … you will produce much fruit, because you share the vital sap of the vine. And being in the Word, my Son, you will be in me, for I am one with him and he with me. If you are in him you will follow his teaching, and […]