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Prayer

Novena to St Dominic – Day 1

A Reflection on St Dominic and Prayer, given by one of our sisters, for first day of our Novena to St DominicTaken from The Life of St. Dominic (1170 鈥 1221) by Bede Jarrett O.P.For St. Dominic, Prayer was a simple converse of the soul with God; and converse is easier and fuller when it is between two friends. The more, then, the mind can realise friendship with God, which is the essence of religion, the more facile is the heart鈥檚 opening of itself, for the problem of prayer is always how to make God the friend not only accepted and believed in, but to form part of the familiar circumstance of life. Everything that could help to produce this truth vividly was made use of: vocal prayer, gestures, beads; and, since he found that a dialogue of speech and silence, a chorus of praise, could be more easily secured […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day Nine

We have come to the final reflection of our novena in preparation for the feast of St Catherine. By happy co-incidence today is also what has come to be known as Good Shepherd Sunday when we pray for the Church and in particular for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.The readings at Mass this morning reminded us of the immensity of God鈥檚 love for each of us鈥 St John in his first letter reminds us that we are the beloved children of God and in the Gospel Jesus tells us no less then five times that he freely lays down his life for us. In a letter to Daniella da Orvieta Catherine reminded her of the love in which we were created and the even greater love by which we were redeemed in the precious Blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Love of this immensity calls for our […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 8

From 鈥楾he Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Saint Catherine of Siena鈥, taken from 鈥楺ue Dijo Dios al Volver鈥 of Dominican Nuns of Olmedo, Spain; transl by Dominican Nuns of Buffalo, New York.The fidelity of St. Catherine led her to the practice of the loftiest and most heroic virtues.    Nevertheless, we know that the virtues in a heroic degree cannot be practiced by the soul of itself. The action of the Holy Spirit is needed.    But God does not let Himself be out-done in generosity, and if the soul does what it can, God does all that He wishes and He perfects the soul, leading it to the heights.    The GIFTS — herein is the secret.    We cannot move them of ourselves; we know this.    This seven-fold instrument needs a most delicate touch, so to speak.    The Holy Spirit alone is their Artist.    But the Holy Spirit was not […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 7

St Catherine’s prayer to the Father (From: The Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, No. 134)You said, eternal Father, that because of your love for your creatures, and through the prayers and innocent suffering of your servants, you would be merciful to the world and reform holy Church, and thus give us refreshment. Do not wait any longer, then, to turn the eye of your mercy. Because it is your will to answer us before we call, answer now with the voice of your mercy.Open the door of your immeasurable charity, which you have given us in the door of the Word. Yes, I know that you open before we knock, because your servants knock and call out to you with the very love and affection you gave them, seeking honour and the salvation of souls. Give them the bread of life, the fruit of the blood of your […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 6

St Catherine – Contemplation & Apostolic Zeal锘縒hen 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 鈥楧ialogue鈥 God says to Catherine – 鈥榳hen you see yourself so ineffably loved by me, you should understand that you are to love as you are loved 鈥 that you are bound to love everyone of my creatures with the same love with which you see yourself loved by me鈥橪eaving 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 […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 5

St Catherine on Obedience锘緼s we, as a community, have been and continue to reflect on the theme of obedience, I would like to read extracts from one of Catherine鈥檚 Prayers, number eleven, which teaches us many things about obedience, but especially the profound and inseparable link between obedience and love. In this prayer Catherine makes reference to a statement made by the Father in the Dialogue with particular reference to love and obedience. I quote: 鈥淪o you see that in whatever bond of love they finish their lives, that bond is theirs forever and lasts eternally. They are so conformed to my will that they can will only what I will. When time came to an end for them, and they died in grace, their freedom was so bound with the chains of charity that they are no longer capable of sin.鈥 (No 41)Catherine prays:Eternal Godhead!Your Truth shows usthat […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 4

Reflection on the Gift of Counsel in St Catherine of SienaFrom 鈥楾he Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Saint Catherine of Siena鈥, taken from 鈥楺ue Dijo Dios al Volver鈥 of Dominican Nuns of Olmedo, Spain; transl by Dominican Nuns of Buffalo, New York.St Catherine of Siena may well figure within Christian hagiography as a magnificent director of souls, thanks to the Gift of Counsel.There were many that drew near to her. Some with rectitude of intention, to seek her light and her advice. Others, on the contrary, went with perverse intentions, with the purpose of confounding her, or at least discrediting her before everyone. Among these last we have the greatest figure of Francisco Malavolti. It is perhaps the most impressive conversion. After supreme efforts, he has finally been caught in the net. Many times he had escaped her hands, but she always brought him back until he finally […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 3

Thoughts on the Eucharist (from the Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, No. 112; the Father speaking)Dearest daughter, contemplate the marvelous state of the soul who receives this bread of life, this food of angels, as she ought. When she receives this sacrament she lives in me and I in her. Just as the fish is in the sea and the sea in the fish, so am I in the soul and the soul in me, the sea of peace. Grace lives in such a soul because, having received this bread of life in grace, she lives in grace. When this appearance of bread has been consumed, I leave behind the imprint of my grace, just as a seal that is pressed into warm wax leaves its imprint when it is lifted off. Thus does the power of this sacrament remain there in the soul; that is, the warmth […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 2

“If anyone loves me he will keep my Word,and my Father will love him and we shall come to him and make our home with him.And the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything.” (Jh. 14) For St. Catherine these few lines from John must have set her heart on fire as she sought to find human words to express her love and wonder for this God who was so madly in love with her. Let us listen to her outpouring longing for a moment. O Trinity! Eternal Trinity! O Fire Abyss of love! Would it not have sufficed to create us after your own image and likeness, making us reborn through grace, by the Blood of your Son? Was it still necessary that you should give the Holy Trinity itself […]

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 1

A Reflection on Prayer, given by one of our sisters yesterday, for first day of the Novena to St Catherine of Siena Taken from a letter to Catella, Checcia and Caterina Dentice of Naples, c May 1379Dearest sisters and daughters in Christ gentle Jesus, I Caterina, slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, am writing to you in his precious blood. I long to see you enjoying the food of angels, since you were made for nothing less. To make it possible for you to enjoy it, God brought you back with the blood of his Son.But reflect, .. that this food is eaten not on earth 鈥 that is, in earthly affection, but on high. This is why God鈥檚 Son was lifted up on the wood of the most holy cross, so that up there, at this table, we might eat this food. But […]