Catherine of Siena: Because of Your Confidence in the Blood of the Crucified Christ, Never Fear Anything Whatsoever Monday, Apr 29 2013 

Catherine_of_SienaMy dearest children in Christ, the sweet Jesus!

I, Catherine…, desire to see you as sons who are obedient unto death, learning from the immaculate Lamb who was obedient to the Father even to an ignominious death on the cross.

Pay close attention for he is the way and the rule that you and all creatures ought to follow. I wish you to place him before your mind’s eye.

Look at how obedient that Word is! He himself does not refuse to carry the burden which he received from the Father, but on the contrary runs to it with the greatest desire.

He made this clear at the Last Supper when he said: I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I die.

To eat the Passover means to fulfill at the same time the will of the Father and the desire of the Son.

Seeing that he had hardly any time left and that at his life’s end he was to be offered as a sacrifice to the Father on our behalf, he rejoices and exults and says with joy: I have greatly desired.

And this was the Passover of which he spoke, namely, to give himself as food and to immolate the sacrifice of his body in obedience to the Father.

[…] He was commanded to give us his blood that the will of God might be fulfilled in us and that we might be sanctified by that very blood.

Therefore I beseech you, my sweet children in Christ, the sweet Jesus, because of your confidence in the blood of the crucified Christ, never fear anything whatsoever.

Do not separate yourselves from him by temptations and errors. You cannot persevere out of fear, nor can you endure obedience…out of dread. I desire, then, that you never fear.

May all servile fear be removed from you. Along with the sweet and loving Paul say:

“Be strong today, my soul. Through the crucified Christ I can do everything, for he who comforts me dwells in me by desire and love.” Love, love, love!

[…] Have confidence! You shall find the source of charity in the side of the crucified Christ. I wish you to establish yourselves there and make a dwelling there for yourselves.

Rise up then with great and burning desire. Approach, enter and remain in this sweet dwelling.

No demon or any other creature can take this grace from you or hinder you from reaching your end, namely, that you should come to see and taste God.

I say no more. Abide in the holy and sweet love of God. Love, love one another.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Letter to the novices of the Order at Santa Maria de Monte Oliveto, from the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers, feast of St Catherine of Siena, April 29th.

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Benedict XVI: We Can All Let Our Hearts Be Transformed and Learn to Love Like Christ Thursday, May 3 2012 

In a vision that was ever present in Catherine’s heart and mind Our Lady presented her to Jesus who gave her a splendid ring, saying to her:

“I, your Creator and Saviour, espouse you in the faith, that you will keep ever pure until you celebrate your eternal nuptials with me in Heaven”.

This ring was visible to her alone. In this extraordinary episode we see the vital centre of Catherine’s religious sense, and of all authentic spirituality: Christocentrism.

For her Christ was like the spouse with whom a relationship of intimacy, communion and faithfulness exists; he was the best beloved whom she loved above any other good.

This profound union with the Lord is illustrated by another episode in the life of this outstanding mystic: the exchange of hearts.

According to Raymond of Capua who passed on the confidences Catherine received, the Lord Jesus appeared to her “holding in his holy hands a human heart, bright red and shining”.

He opened her side and put the heart within her saying: “Dearest daughter, as I took your heart away from you the other day, now, you see, I am giving you mine, so that you can go on living with it for ever”.

Catherine truly lived St. Paul’s words, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

Like the Sienese Saint, every believer feels the need to be conformed with the sentiments of the heart of Christ to love God and his neighbour as Christ himself loves.

And we can all let our hearts be transformed and learn to love like Christ in a familiarity with him that is nourished by prayer, by meditation on the Word of God and by the sacraments, above all by receiving Holy Communion frequently and with devotion.

[…] She said before she died: “in leaving my body, truly I have consumed and given my life in the Church and for the Holy Church, which is for me a most unique grace”.

Hence we learn from St Catherine the most sublime science: to know and love Jesus Christ and his Church.

In the Dialogue of Divine Providence, she describes Christ, with an unusual image, as a bridge flung between Heaven and earth.

This bridge consists of three great stairways constituted by the feet, the side and the mouth of Jesus.

Rising by these stairways the soul passes through the three stages of every path to sanctification: detachment from sin, the practice of the virtues and of love, sweet and loving union with God.

Benedict XVI (b. 1927): On St Catherine of Siena (General Audience, Nov. 24th, 2010).

Catherine of Siena: The Fire of Divine, Most Ardent, and Immeasurable Love Saturday, Apr 28 2012 

And the day passing by, full of marvel, the evening came.

And I, feeling that the heart was so drawn by the force of love that I could offer no resistance to going to the place of prayer, and feeling that disposition come upon me which was at the time of my death, prostrated myself with great compunction.

And rising, with the impression of what I have said before the eye of my mind, God placed me before Himself.

I am always before Him, because He contains everything in Himself, but now He placed me before Himself in a new way, as if memory, intellect, and will had nothing whatever to do with my body.

And this Truth was reflected in me with such light that in that abyss were then renewed the mysteries of Holy Church, and all the graces received in my life, past and present, and the day in which my soul was wedded to Him.

All this then vanished from me through the increase of the inward fire.

And I paid heed only to what should be done, that I should make a sacrifice of myself to God for Holy Church and for the sake of removing ignorance and negligence from those whom God had put into my hands.

Then the devils called out havoc upon me, seeking to hinder and slacken with their terrors my free and burning desire.

So these beat upon the shell of the body; but desire became the more kindled, crying “O Eternal God, receive the sacrifice of my life in this mystical body of Holy Church!

“I have naught to give save what Thou hast given to me. Take then my heart, and may Thy Bride lean her face upon it!”

Then Eternal God, turning the eyes of His mercy, removed my heart, and offered it to Holy Church.

And He had drawn it to Himself with such force that had He not at once bound it about with His strength – not wishing that the vessel of my body should be broken – my life would have gone.

[…] Now I say: Thanks, thanks be to the Highest God Eternal, who has placed us in the battlefield as knights, to fight for His Bride with the shield of holiest faith.

The field is left free to us by that virtue and power which routed the devil who possessed the human race; who was routed, not in the strength of humanity, but of Deity.

Thus the devil neither is nor shall be routed by the suffering of our bodies, but by strength of the fire of divine, most ardent, and immeasurable love.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Letter to Raymond of Capua, OP.

Catherine of Siena: Let Us Go Out to Receive Our King, Who Comes to Us Humble and Meek Wednesday, Apr 20 2011 

I, Catherine, a useless servant, am in agony with desire as I search the depths of my soul.

I grieve and weep when I see and really understand our foolish apathy, our failure to give our love to God after he has given us such great graces with so much love.

So, dearest brothers, don’t be thankless and unappreciative, because this could easily dry up the fountain of piety within us.

Oh heedless indifferent people! Rouse yourselves from this evil sleep! Let’s go out to receive our King, who comes to us humble and meek.

Oh let us who are proud behold the Master of humility coming to us seated on an ass!

For our Saviour has told us that one of his reasons for com­ing on that beast was to show us what our humanity had become by sin, and to show us how we should treat this ass, our humanity.

Really, there is no difference between us and that good-far-nothing beast! Because of sin, our reason has become an animal!

Oh ancient Truth, you have taught us how we should treat this beast!

I want you…to get on top of this ass; master yourselves; be humble and meek.

And on what feet shall we get up there, sweetest love? On hatred of apathy and love of virtue.

But let’s do this…the channel is open and flowing.

So, since we need to provision the ship of our soul, let’s proceed to provision it there, at that sweetest of channels, the heart and soul and body of Jesus Christ.

We will find that this channel flows with so great a love that we will easily be able to fill our souls

So I say to you: don’t be slow to put your eye to this open window

For I assure you that supreme Goodness has prepared the times and the ways for us to do great deeds for him

This is why I told you to be eager to increase your holy desire, and not to be satisfied with little things, because he wants great things!

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Letters; H/T Dom Donald.

Catherine of Siena: From Fear to Love, from Weakness to Strength, from Servitude to Adoption Friday, May 28 2010 

When the Holy Spirit was come, He illumined the Apostles with truth, so that they saw the secret of the immeasurable love of the Word, with the will of the Father, who willed naught but our sanctification.

This has been shown us by the Blood of that sweet and enamoured Word, who was restored to His disciples, when the plenitude of the Holy Spirit came.

He came with the power of the Father, the wisdom of the Son, the mercy and clemency of the Holy Spirit, so the truth of Christ is fulfilled which He spake to His disciples: “I shall go and shall return to you”.

Then did He return, because the Holy Spirit could not come without the Son and the Father, because He was one thing with them.

Thus He came, as I said, with the power that is assigned to the Father, and the wisdom that is assigned to the Son, and the benevolence and love that is assigned to the Holy Spirit.

Well did the Apostles show it, for suddenly through love they lost their fear.

So in true wisdom they knew the truth, and went with great power against the infidels; they threw idols to the ground and drove out devils.

[…] As I have said, by remaining in fear alone, one would not escape hell; but would do like the thief, who does not steal, because he is afraid of the gallows; but he would not abstain from stealing if he did not expect to be punished.

It is just such a case when one loves God for the sweetness of it; that is, one would not be strong and perfect, but weak and imperfect

[…] The soul uplifts itself with deepest devotion, to love what God loves and to hate what He hates.

And it directs all its works in God, and does everything to the glory and praise of His Name.

This is the continual prayer of which Paul says “Pray without ceasing”.

Now this is the way to rise from being only a servant and a friend – that is, from servile fear and from tender love of one’s own consolation – and to arrive at being a true servant, true friend, true son.

For when one is truly made a son, he does not therefore lose being a servant and true friend; but is a servant and friend in truth, without any regard to himself, or to anything except pleasing God alone.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Letter to Brother Matteo di Francesco Tolomei, OP.

Catherine of Siena: You Gave Yourself to Man in the Fire of Your Love Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature.

You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you.

But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more.

When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light.

I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.

I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding.

I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be.

Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you.

You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature.

You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me.

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself.

For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being.

Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth.

By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognise that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom.

And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.

You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Dialogue On Divine Providence 167, from the Office of Readings for the memorial of St. Catherine of Siena on April 29 @ Crossroads Initiative.

Catherine of Siena: Let the Will Receive and Behold the Sacrificed Heart of Jesus Friday, Feb 12 2010 

I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write and send comfort in His precious Blood, with desire to see you kindled, on fire, and consumed in His most ardent charity, since I know that he who is on fire and consumed with this charity sees not himself.

This, then, I will that you do. I summon you to enter through this most ardent charity, a sea that is peaceful and profound.

This I have just now found anew…in that word, God is Love.

And in this word, as the mirror reflects the face of man, and the sun its light upon the earth, so it is reflected in my soul, that all His works whatsoever are Love alone, for they are not wrought of anything save love.

Therefore He says, “I God am Love”. From this a light is thrown on the unsearchable mystery of the Incarnate Word, who by force of love was given with such humility that it confounds my pride, and teaches us not to regard His works, but the burning devotion of the Word given to us.

He says that we should do as he who loves: who, when his friend comes with a present, looks not at the hands for the gift which he brings, but opens the eye of love, and regards his heart and affection.

So He wills that we should do, when the Highest eternal goodness of God, sweet above all things, visits our soul. It visits us then with measureless benefits.

Let memory act swiftly to receive the intention in the divine charity: and let the will arise with most ardent desire, and receive and behold the sacrificed Heart of sweet and good Jesus the Giver.

And thus you shall find you kindled and clothed with fire, and with the gift of the Blood of the Son of God; and you shall be free from all pain and disease.

This it was which took away the pain of the holy disciples, when it behoved them to leave Mary and one another, and gladly they endured that separation, to sow the word of God.

Run then, run, run.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Letter to Brother Bartolomeo Dominici.

Catherine of Siena: Three Kinds of Prayer Friday, Jan 29 2010 

Prayer is of three sorts.

The one is perpetual: it is the holy perpetual desire, which prays in the sight of God, whatever thou art doing; for this desire directs all thy works, spiritual and corporal, to His honour, and therefore it is called perpetual.

Of this it seems that Saint Paul the glorious was talking when he said: Pray without ceasing.

The other kind is vocal prayer, when the offices or other prayers are said aloud.

This is ordained to reach the third – that is, mental prayer: your soul reaches this when it uses vocal prayer in prudence and humility, so that while the tongue speaks the heart is not far from God.

But one must exert one’s self to hold and establish one’s heart in the force of divine charity.

And whenever one felt one’s mind to be visited by God, so that it was drawn to think of its Creator in any wise, it ought to abandon vocal prayer, and to fix its mind with the force of love upon that wherein it sees God visit it.

Then, if it has time, when this has ceased, it ought to take up the vocal prayer again, in order that the mind may always stay full and not empty.

And although many conflicts of diverse kinds should abound in prayer, and darkness of mind with much confusion, the devil making the soul feel that her prayer was not pleasing to God, nevertheless, she ought not to give up on account of those conflicts and shadows, but to abide firm in fortitude and long perseverance, considering that the devil so does to draw her away from prayer the mother, and God permits it to test the fortitude and constancy of that soul.

Also, in order that by those conflicts and shadows she may know herself not to be, and in the goodwill which she feels preserved within her may know the goodness of God, Who is Giver and Preserver of good and holy wills: such wills as are not vouchsafed to all who want them.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Letter to Sister Eugenia.

Catherine of Siena: Trinity and Redemption Saturday, Oct 31 2009 

I always provide, and I want you to know that what I have given humankind is supreme providence.

It was with providence that I created you, and when I contemplated my creature in myself I fell in love with the beauty of my creation. It pleased me to create you in my image and likeness with great providence.

I provided you with the gift of memory so that you might hold fast my benefits and be made a sharer in my own, the eternal Father’s power.

I gave you understanding so that in the wisdom of my only-begotten Son you might comprehend and know what I the eternal Father want, I who gave you graces with such burning love.

I gave you a will to love, making you a sharer in the Holy Spirit’s mercy, so that you might love what your understanding sees and knows.

All this my gentle providence did, only that you might be capable of understanding and enjoying me and rejoicing in my goodness by seeing me eternally. As I have told you many times, I wanted to make it possible for you to reach this goal.

Heaven had been closed because of Adam’s sin. He did not know his own dignity, considering with what ineffable love and providence I had created him. So he fell into disobedience, and from disobedience into impurity….

…And this disobedience has been and is the source of all the evils that have come after it. All of you have been infected with this venom….

…So, to take away this death, dearest daughter, I gave humankind the Word, my only-begotten Son, thus providing for your need with great prudence and providence.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): Dialogue translated by Suzanne Noffke, OP (New York: Paulist Press, Classics of Western Spirituality, 1980), ch. 135, pp. 277-8.

Catherine of Siena: Contemplation of the Blood of Christ Friday, Oct 23 2009 

God says to Catherine: Know, dearest daughter, how, by humble, continual, and faithful prayer, the soul acquires, with time and perseverance, every virtue.

Wherefore should she persevere and never abandon prayer, either through the illusion of the devil or her own fragility, that is to say, either on account of any thought or movement coming from her own body, or of the words of any creature.

The devil often places himself upon the tongues of creatures, causing them to chatter nonsensically, with the purpose of preventing the prayer of the soul. All of this she should pass by, by means of the virtue of perseverance.

Oh, how sweet and pleasant to that soul and to Me is holy prayer, made in the house of knowledge of self and of Me, opening the eye of the intellect to the light of faith, and the affections to the abundance of My charity, which was made visible to you, through My visible only-begotten Son, who showed it to you with His blood!

Which Blood inebriates the soul and clothes her with the fire of divine charity, giving her the food of the Sacrament,…that is to say, the food of the Body and Blood of My Son, wholly God and wholly man, administered to you by the hand of My vicar, who holds the key of the Blood.

…This food strengthens little or much, according to the desire of the recipient, whether he receives sacramentally or virtually.

He receives sacramentally when he actually communicates with the Blessed Sacrament.

He receives virtually when he communicates, both by desire of communion, and by contemplation of the Blood of Christ crucified, communicating, as it were, sacramentally, with the affection of love, which is to be tasted in the Blood which, as the soul sees, was shed through love.

On seeing this the soul becomes inebriated, and blazes with holy desire and satisfies herself, becoming full of love for Me and for her neighbor. Where can this be acquired?

In the house of self-knowledge with holy prayer, where imperfections are lost, even as Peter and the disciples, while they remained in watching and prayer, lost their imperfection and acquired perfection.

By what means is this acquired? By perseverance seasoned with the most holy faith.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): The Dialogue

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