Novena to St Catherine - Day 5

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Novena to St Catherine - Day 5

Dominican Nuns Ireland
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Dominican) · 24 April 2024
Tags: stcatherineofsienanovenatostcatherinefeastdaypatron
Novena to St Catherine - Day Five

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.

St Catherine & Self-Knowledge
24th of April

The central point around which the St .Catherine's mystical thought focused were the words she heard from Christ and which she repeated many times:

“Know, daughter, that I am the one who is. You are the one who is not.”

According to Catherine the most important thing in a person's life is knowing themselves, their place in the world, but this process must be rooted in God. The words “I am the one who is. You are the one who is not” are the key to this. The words Catherine heard mean that she is a created being, that is, she does not have her own being in and of herself. To know the truth about ourselves, we must recognise our dependence on God, on the One who sustains us. If we are created by God, we are also constantly sustained by Him in our existence. We can say: each of us is created at every moment. God is the One Who Is - this means that everything that exists apart from Him owes its existence to Him.

However, getting to know God leads not only to knowing yourself and your own fragility, but also to discovering God's mercy. “You have known Me in yourself, and from this knowledge comes everything you need. The knowledge of itself that the soul acquires should be combined with the knowledge of Me Myself, so that it does not fall into anxiety and confusion," Jesus said to Catherine.

The fruit of knowing yourself is humility, and the fruit of knowing God is trust in His unlimited mercy. We are dealing here with a very strong relationship between mercy and humility. To understand what it is to know oneself, Catherine expands the traditional teaching on the powers of the soul, a Christian attempt to understand what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God. She seeks the answer in the three faculties of the soul: memory, reason and will. For Catherine, they are a reflection of the Holy Trinity.

Memory represents God the Father because it is the place where all internal movements are stored, both in the history of Salvation and in the personal history of every person. It provides the mind with material for calm consideration of the thoughts that fill it. The will, however, enables us to do what the mind's vision shows us. Memory should retain the memory of facts, but equally the awareness of God's infinite goodness. Reason should direct its gaze towards the ineffable Love that is Jesus. Catherine defines faith very beautifully: as "the pupil of the eye of reason." She makes it, as it were, the very heart, the core of vision. And in this sense, the act of faith is an act of reason - it is created under the influence of memory and will, but it is nevertheless an act of reason.

Her experience of God in the Holy Trinity is correlated with getting to know herself and those powers that open her to God's action. Supernatural knowledge is knowledge that comes from love. Wisdom is the fruit of love, which is why those who love Him know the most about God.

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


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