Monday, April 9, 2012

Encouragement from St. Catherine of Siena

I have been given the opportunity of reading one of the letters of St. Catherine of Siena once a week this semester. I only relatively recently began to have a strong devotion to her, and I believe that she has a great deal to teach me particularly in regards to loving Mother Church in spite of her faults and failings.    Catherine's motherly spirit comes across through her letters. She wrote to people of every station and class, from bishops to poets to friars.  One of her closest friends and confessors was Friar Raimondo of Capua, a wise but timid soul. Below are some words of encouragement from Catherine to Raimondo due to his fear of martyrdom.
"Be strong to slay yourself with the knife of hate and love, that you may not hear the derision, the insults, the reproaches of the world, which the persecutors of Holy Church would offer you. 
Let not your eyes see things as impossible to do, nor the torment that may follow; but let them see with the light of faith that through Christ crucified you can do all things, and that God will not impose a greater burden than can be borne."
-- St. Catherine of Siena in her letter to Friar Raimondo de Capua when he was in Genoa.
Statue of St. Catherine of Siena in Rome, Italy

Fresco of St. Catherine at her home in Siena

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Christ: the Bridge Between Heaven and Earth

Take refuge in My pierced side
when you are tempted to look for love in any creature.
I have created you for My love,
and My love alone can satisfy the desires of your heart.
Enter, then, the wound in My side
and, penetrating even into My Heart,
drink deeply of the springs of love that will refresh and delight your soul,
and wash you in preparation for the wedding of your soul with Me,
for I am the Bridegroom of your soul,
your Saviour from all that would defile you,
and your God who is love and mercy
now and unto the ages of ages.

-- Taken from In Sinu Jesu, the Journal of a Priest.

“But in order that you should have life, it is not enough that My Son should have become the Bridge, unless you pass over this Bridge.”   ~ God the Father to St. Catherine of Siena in The Dialogue

As fragile as the wings of a butterfly, this delicate piece of paper lace also alludes to the metaphor of the bridge. In her dialogues St. Catherine of Siena uses the metaphor of Jesus Christ as the magnificent bridge between heaven and earth.