Novena to St Catherine - Day 6

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Novena to St Catherine - Day 6

Dominican Nuns Ireland
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Dominican) · 25 April 2024
Tags: stcatherineofsienanovenatostcatherinefeastdaypatron
Novena to St Catherine - Day Six

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 & the Beauty of the Soul
25th of April

Too Good to be True?

In a conversation between two characters in a detective novel, of all places, one observes to the other that she should face the truth about her regard for a man who has been in pursuit of her for some time.  At this point, she has come to realise that she does in fact love him, but her response to the observation is interesting, for she admits that if she acknowledges the truth and ‘gives in’ to it, that she should ‘go up like smoke’ or words to that effect.  She is confronted with the fact that to accept the love offered and return it, would be almost transfigurative, if that makes sense: everything would change; she would be almost lost in this love; but she is afraid that by her submission, she would lose herself.  Almost like reaching out for indescribable happiness and being terrified by the prospect.  Too good to be true.  
This is, however, a novel, and set in England.
We are in the midst of our novena to an Italian saint, who was by no means fictitious, nevertheless it is striking that St Catherine of Siena embodied, as it were, this truth about an all-consuming, all-absorbing love which transfigured her own life without ever resulting in the loss of herself.  Her love for God was so overwhelming that she seems to have been wrapped in contemplation of Him at every moment, whatever she was doing, wherever she happened to be, whoever she was with.  She is an amazing saint, who, wholly submissive to God, was fearless and absolutely free in allowing her amazement to be manifest and indeed, even living from it.
One of the many ways in which St Catherine is both impressive and instructive, is that her relationship with the Lord was not exclusive, although for a time she wanted it to be.  As when St Peter beheld the transfiguration of Our Lord and wanted to remain there with Him on the mountain, so also St Catherine could not bear the thought of being separated from her Lord, even for a moment.  But He compelled her to go out and to serve Him in the people He wanted her to serve, to love them and to see Him in them.  He granted her the gift of being able to see the beauty of the human soul, in order that she should work all the harder for its salvation – and this she willingly and zealously did thereafter.
In a letter to Blessed Raymond of Capua, she told him:

"Nothing in this world of sense around us can possibly
compare in loveliness with a human soul."
A timely reminder.

We hear so frequently that we have been created in the image and likeness of God, that we almost forget what a tremendous gift we have received: how wonderful and amazing is this truth: how wonderful and amazing is every human person!  It is hard to imagine that God, in gazing upon us, sees beauty – even that He sees in us a reflection of Himself.  And yet this is what He said to Catherine:

"I myself am Beauty Supreme, from which all other beauty is derived.
Yet, so enchanting is the beauty of the souls of men, that I gladly came
down upon this earth and shed my Blood in order to redeem them. ..."
In every age of the Church’s history we need St Catherine’s wisdom and teaching.  In our own time especially, we need to learn again what she learned from the Father, and we need her courage to believe what she so unashamedly believed.  Our beginnings are from One who is, as He said, ‘Beauty Supreme’ – He wants us to cleave to Him and to live from the truth that we belong to Him and that He is our true home.  
Too good to be true?    Too true, in fact, to be denied.
May St Catherine obtain for us and for the whole world, the courage to live in the Light that is the Blessed Trinity, and to delight in Him to whom we belong.

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


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