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Novena to St Catherine – Day 6

St Catherine – Contemplation & Apostolic Zeal锘縒hen reflecting on the life of St.Catherine of Siena, one is forcibly struck by the depth of her contemplative prayer coupled with a life of unbelievable apostolic zeal.Having lived a solitary life of contemplation for some years, she came to realise that the love of God cannot be separated from the service of humanity.In the 鈥楧ialogue鈥 God says to Catherine – 鈥榳hen you see yourself so ineffably loved by me, you should understand that you are to love as you are loved 鈥 that you are bound to love everyone of my creatures with the same love with which you see yourself loved by me鈥橪eaving the solitary life, she laboured in the streets and around the sick beds and prisons of the city. In addition, she laboured tirelessly and relentlessly, until her dying breath, for the dire needs of the Church and the […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 5

St Catherine on Obedience锘緼s we, as a community, have been and continue to reflect on the theme of obedience, I would like to read extracts from one of Catherine鈥檚 Prayers, number eleven, which teaches us many things about obedience, but especially the profound and inseparable link between obedience and love. In this prayer Catherine makes reference to a statement made by the Father in the Dialogue with particular reference to love and obedience. I quote: 鈥淪o you see that in whatever bond of love they finish their lives, that bond is theirs forever and lasts eternally. They are so conformed to my will that they can will only what I will. When time came to an end for them, and they died in grace, their freedom was so bound with the chains of charity that they are no longer capable of sin.鈥 (No 41)Catherine prays:Eternal Godhead!Your Truth shows usthat […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 4

Reflection on the Gift of Counsel in St Catherine of SienaFrom 鈥楾he Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Saint Catherine of Siena鈥, taken from 鈥楺ue Dijo Dios al Volver鈥 of Dominican Nuns of Olmedo, Spain; transl by Dominican Nuns of Buffalo, New York.St Catherine of Siena may well figure within Christian hagiography as a magnificent director of souls, thanks to the Gift of Counsel.There were many that drew near to her. Some with rectitude of intention, to seek her light and her advice. Others, on the contrary, went with perverse intentions, with the purpose of confounding her, or at least discrediting her before everyone. Among these last we have the greatest figure of Francisco Malavolti. It is perhaps the most impressive conversion. After supreme efforts, he has finally been caught in the net. Many times he had escaped her hands, but she always brought him back until he finally […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 3

Thoughts on the Eucharist (from the Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, No. 112; the Father speaking)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 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 a seal that is pressed into warm wax leaves its imprint when it is lifted off. Thus does the power of this sacrament remain there in the soul; that is, the warmth […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 2

“If anyone loves me he will keep my Word,and my Father will love him and we shall come to him and make our home with him.And the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything.” (Jh. 14) For St. Catherine these few lines from John must have set her heart on fire as she sought to find human words to express her love and wonder for this God who was so madly in love with her. Let us listen to her outpouring longing for a moment. O Trinity! Eternal Trinity! O Fire Abyss of love! Would it not have sufficed to create us after your own image and likeness, making us reborn through grace, by the Blood of your Son? Was it still necessary that you should give the Holy Trinity itself […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 1

A Reflection on Prayer, given by one of our sisters yesterday, for first day of the Novena to St Catherine of Siena Taken from a letter to Catella, Checcia and Caterina Dentice of Naples, c May 1379Dearest sisters and daughters in Christ gentle Jesus, I Caterina, slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, am writing to you in his precious blood. I long to see you enjoying the food of angels, since you were made for nothing less. To make it possible for you to enjoy it, God brought you back with the blood of his Son.But reflect, .. that this food is eaten not on earth 鈥 that is, in earthly affection, but on high. This is why God鈥檚 Son was lifted up on the wood of the most holy cross, so that up there, at this table, we might eat this food. But […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 9

While reading the Libellus – on the beginnings of the Order – during the past week my attention was drawn to Bl Jordan鈥檚 description of our holy Father, Dominic, as someone who 鈥渁ccepted the Lord鈥檚 commands so warmly鈥 and whose 鈥渨ill welcomed the voice of his Lover with such loyalty and pleasure鈥, that he was able 鈥 penetrate the mysteries of difficult theological questions with the humble understanding of his heart.鈥濃淒ominic welcomed the voice of his Lover鈥漌e live in a world where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to discern the voice of our Lover 鈥 the voice of the one who has brought us into existence and who loved us so much that He died for us on the Cross. In the 13th century, as in our own 21st century, there were many false prophets proclaiming a message contrary to the Christian viewpoint and many people were […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 8

Continuing our reflection on St Dominic in preparation for his feast, here is an extract from “The Genius of St Dominic” by Marie Humbert Vicaire OP.The Liberty of the ‘Poor Man’The Bull of Recommendation of the Order to the bishops of December 8, 1219, which already contained the essential terms of the Bull to the brethern of December 12, added a precision. It said that the Preachers ‘reject the burden of worldly riches so as to be able to run more freely (expeditius) in the field of this world’. Some months later the text in the Bologna Constitutions that is expressly attributed to Dominic would use the same word. If those who are deputed to study and preaching are set free from every temporal charge, it is ‘so that they can better fulfil their spiritual mission in a greater liberty (expeditius).’ The image behind the word is that of […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 7

Dominic, Man of Prayer, and Man of the Gospel: Preacher of Grace and Truth. Blessed Raymond tells us in the Life of Catherine 鈥淪t.Catherine saw the Co-Eternal Son proceeding from the mouth of The Eternal Father and while she was contemplating Him, she saw the Blessed Patriarch, St. Dominic come forth from the breast of the Father all resplendent with brightness. My Son by nature, who is the Eternal Word proceeding from my mouth, preached publicly to the world, whatever I charged him to say. My adopted son Dominic also preached to the world the truth of my Words鈥. He is still preaching in his successors today 800 years later. The radiance from Dominic鈥檚 demeanor and life wholly rooted in Christ captured those who met him, even the most bigoted of Albigensian heretics. His mission was to bring the light of God to the whole world by word […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6

On this 6th day of our Novena in preparation for St. Dominic鈥檚 Feast day, a few thoughts on his spirit of ZEAL in dedicating himself totally to the salvation of souls through the spreading of the Good News of God鈥檚 Word are surely vital. Our Lord鈥檚 own words in John Ch.2 鈥淶eal for your house devours me鈥 can also apply so aptly to our father, Dominic.In his Divine Comedy, Dante describes St. Dominic as a 鈥榝riend fast-knit to Christ鈥 – how very true, for Dominic was indeed one with Christ in his intense life of prayer, in his thirst for the salvation of souls and in his love for the poor, the sick, the troubled.We read in the Book of Numbers Ch.25, 鈥渢he Lord said to Moses: 鈥楶hinehas, the priest, has turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, my people, because he was the only one […]