Today is the 2nd day of the novena to St Catherine. It is also Vocation Sunday. So during the week as I was reflecting on St Catherine I had the theme of Vocations in mind also and today’s Gospel-‘I know my own and mine know me’. Somehow these converged for me in a single Gospel text-‘This is Eternal Life to know you the one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’.

This is the reason for our existence. This is why God created us, why He sent His Son to redeem us- so that we might know God, might participate in the very life of God, might experience being utterly and completely taken up into God’s love and be endlessly happy. The vocation of every human being is to fulfil this purpose for which we were brought into being. Our personal vocation is to discover and to follow the path marked out for us, to follow that path until we reach our destination and are one with God forever.

Catherine with this end always in view, travelled the way with single minded resolution, and in doing so brought many with her. The rest of us-well sometimes our eyes get heavy, our vision falters, we become somewhat short sighted and the things around us seem more attractive than the distant scene. We let our gaze roam, the bye ways beckon and we leave the way to explore alternative routes. Sometimes we even get lost.

On this vocation Sunday let us listen to Catherine reminding us of what we are about. Let the fire of her love set us alight, that aglow with the love of God, we might light up the way for others.

Catherine was utterly convinced, without the slightest shadow of doubt, that she was loved by God. That realization directed every moment of her life.  She just couldn’t stop talking about it so real was it for her.

The madness of God’s love bowls her over. How incessantly she returns to this theme as if to draw life from it, to draw love from it, to have the memory of it evoke a response in her- a response of love for God and of zeal for the salvation of all.

In her prayers we hear her pray:

‘O my miserable soul, arise from the darkness, arouse yourself, open the eye of your mind and contemplate the abyss of God’s love’

She sees God’s love manifested in Creation and Redemption. In one of her letters she speaks of “that perfect charity which God gave you and showed you before the creation of the world, being in love with you before you existed, for had he not been in love with you he would never had created you. By the love which He had for you, seeing you in Himself He was moved to give you being”

But this expression of God’s love is far surpassed by the abyss of love made manifest through Redemption. In prayer XI she tries to give voice to this incredible revelation :

“Just as love constrained you to draw us from yourself, so the same love constrained you to redeem us when we were lost. You indeed showed that you loved us before we existed when you willed to draw us from yourself solely through love, but you showed greater love towards us when you gave yourself, enclosing yourself in our humanity. And what more could you give than yourself? Because of this you cauld truly say ‘what should I have done or what could I have done that I have not done’”.

This is the truth that Catherine has come to know and is ever realising more clearly as she dwells continually in God’s presence. Her one desire, her sole mission in life is to bring others to the knowledge of this truth and to help them respond to it.

 And so she says to us this evening “I urge you to gaze into the abundance and abyss of his charity”  She urges us to gaze, not just to give a passing glance but to become totally absorbed, to look long and steadily until we have really seen what is to be seen, not just with our physical eyes but with the eyes of our souls. It is only in this kind of gazing, wonder struck, that we will be able to perceive in some small way the unfathomable mystery of Divine love and in perceiving be empowered to respond to it.