Novena to St Catherine - Day 8

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Novena to St Catherine - Day 8

Dominican Nuns Ireland
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Dominican) · 27 April 2024
Tags: stcatherineofsienanovenatostcatherinefeastdaypatron
Novena to St Catherine - Day Eight

Novena Prayer
The holy virgin, Saint Catherine, never ceased praying to God
to let peace return to His holy Church, alleluia.

V/: Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
R/: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Almighty God, you made St Catherine of Siena a contemplative lover of the Lord’s sufferings
and an ardent servant of your
Grant, through her prayer that your people may be united
to Christ in His mystery,
and rejoice forever in the revelation of
His glory.

We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

"Just be with Him."
27th of April

How is it that advice given to a young teenager in reply to her query about prayer - "Just be with Him." - could have such a profound influence on her heart and spirit as to turn her gaze and thoughts to spending the next seventy years in a cloistered monastery? "Just be with Him." Perhaps St Catherine of Siena heard a similar invitation to spend the rest of her life in an intimate and profound relationship with Jesus.

We all know the story in St Mark's gospel about the woman who broke open a flask of precious oil over the feet of Jesus. Catherine, as a very young teenager, did the same symbolically. Jesus poured out his life's blood for Catherine and for us all while hanging on that wooden cross in an act of sacrificial love and one could say in an act of foolishness. It is this realisation of just how much God loved her that led St Catherine along the path she chose.

She was only five when on the way home from a visit to her married sister, she was given a beautiful vision of the Lord Jesus clad in pontifical vestments sitting on a throne. He smiled at the little girl and blessed her with the Sign of the Cross. Thus began Catherine's love story.

The vision had given her a precious maturity, and her only concern from then on was how to please her Beloved.

In an effort to imitate the Desert Fathers, she sought a prayerful solitude in a small cave outside the city wall, but the growing darkness made her realise that her family would be anxious and so she hastened home.

Around this time she began to realise the beauty of serving Christ in body and mind, and made a vow of perpetual virginity. Though still very young, she was fully aware of what she was doing. Her mother Lapa, however, was not happy and began to look for a suitable husband for her. Catherine, hearing of this, cut off her long hair. Lapa was furious, and made her undertake all the work in the house.

O happy fault! The more Catherine was involved in intense activity, the more she discovered the secret cell we all have within us, where she could be with Jesus, no matter how busy she was.

From then on, Catherine's deep interior and mystical life flourished and deepened. As her great thirst for souls increased, so too the burning love in her heart for her Spouse grew in union with the Heart of Jesus until it consumed her body and soul, eventually breaking the bonds of earth.

She testified to this great grace of sharing Christ's own desires for the Church in a prayer shortly before her death:

"O Lord for the honour of your name and for your Holy Church. I will gladly drink the chalice of suffering and death...
For, as you know, I have always desired it ever since, by your grace, I began to love you with my whole heart."

Catherine longed to return love for love since she heard Christ's invitation long ago - "Just be with me."

And now she turns to us and says gently and pleadingly:

"Just be with Him."

(Artwork: St. Catherine of Siena by Fr. Henry Flanagan, O.P., Monastery of St Catherine of Siena, Drogheda)


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