St Catherine – Contemplation & Apostolic Zeal
When 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 ‘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 prisons of the city. In addition, she laboured tirelessly and relentlessly, until her dying breath, for the dire needs of the Church and the Papacy of her time, but at no time did she leave her 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 station in life.
As St. Paul so aptly expresses it in his second letter to the Corinthians ‘With us, Christ’s love is a compelling motive’. (2 Cor.5:1)