St Catherine of Siena

Novena to St Catherine – Day 8

In the preparation of this reflection I focused on the ‘Prayers’ of Catherine, in the hope of acquiring some tips regarding the improvement of my own prayer. Sr. Mary O’Driscoll O.P. of the Cabra Congregation, who is an authority on the teaching of Catherine, having chosen her as the subject of her doctoral theses, has supplied me with most of the facts on Catherine’s Prayers. Only twenty six of her Prayershave been preserved for us. These are not Prayersthat she herself wrote or even dictated to others. Rather, they were transcribed by one or other of her followers who were present as she prayed aloud. All of these Prayers belong to the last four years of her life and so expound a certain maturity of her thought.They impress us by their simplicity, their intense concentration on God who is repeatedly praised and thanked, and their constant desire for the salvation of others. This echoes the motto of the Order: to praise, to bless, to preach, always with the salvation of people uppermost in mind. It is interesting to note how the themes that run through the Dialogue and Letters are taken up in the Prayers.In them, Catherine’s  theology becomes her doxology.Catherine was a great and powerful intercessor. In her Prayers, we find her pleading with God passionately and urgently for mercy for all: for the world, the Church, the pope, her friends and followers, all those in need. Knowing this challenges me as I reflect on how I pray: do I focus intensely on God, in praising and thanking him and do I pray with passion and urgency for others – do I pray from the depths of my heart and with my whole […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena 2015

 When reflecting on the life of St. Catherine of Siena, one is forcibly struck by the depth of her contemplative prayer united with her life of unbelievable apostolic zeal amid all her own personal spiritual and physical suffering.Having lived a solitary life of contemplation for some years, the Holy Spirit led Catherine to understand that the love of God cannot be separated from the service of his people.In the ‘Dialogue’ God says to Catherine: ‘when you see yourself so ineffably loved by me, you should understand that you are to love as you are loved – that you are bound to love everyone of my creatures with the same love with which you see yourself loved by me’.Leaving the solitary life, she laboured in the streets and around the sick beds and the prisons  of the city.  In addition she laboured relentlessly and tirelessly until her dying breath for the dire needs of the Church and the Papacy of her time, but at no time did she leave the interior cell  or her life of contemplation and union with God.  This was the secret of the extra-ordinary fruitfulness of her life given for the salvation of souls. ‘I give you all my creatures’ God says to her ‘whether distant or close, minister to them with the same pure love with which I have loved you’. God surely makes the same plea to each one of  us, each day, whatever our calling or circumstances in life may be.In this context, I quote the following profound words of  Fr.Walter Ciszek who in the midst of years of excruciating suffering in solitary confinement and in concentration camps in Russia during the war, was inspired by God’s Holy […]