Catherine of Siena

PRAYER: God’s Mercy by Catherine of Siena

July 23, 2018

Merciful Lord, it does not surprise me that you forget completely the sins of those who repent.  I am not surprised that you remain faithful to those who hate and revile you.  The mercy which pours forth from you fills the whole world. It was by your mercy that we were created, and by your mercy that you redeemed us by sending your Son.  Your mercy is the light in which sinners find you and good people come back to you.  Your mercy is everywhere, even in the depths of hell where you offer to forgive the tortured souls.  Your justice is constantly tempered with mercy, so you refuse to punish us as we deserve.  O mad lover!  It was not enough for you to take on our humanity; you had to die for us as well. [...]

MYSTICISM: A Homegrown Mystic—Catherine of Siena by John Michael Talbot

September 13, 2017

From The Way of Mystics Giacomo Benicasa was a practical, hard-working man who made his living as a wool dyer in Siena’s bustling textile market.  His wife, Lapa, was a simple woman who was well acquainted with heartbreak.  She gave birth to twenty-five children, only twelve of whom survived infancy.  All Lapa wanted for Catherine – her next-to-last child – was a normal childhood, an early marriage to a good husband, and a happy, predictable life. But Catherine had other plans, none of them “normal” (for example, she lavished care on lepers and plague victims) or predictable (for example, after sensing God wanted her to live a more simple life, she began giving away her family’s possessions).  Her life was [...]

POETRY: Inebriated Soul In Love by Catherine of Siena

September 13, 2017

Then that soul, even as one drunk, appeared to be beside herself, parted from her bodily senses due to union with her Creator. She raised her spiritual eyes, her nous, and gazed into eternal Truth. As she now came to know the Truth, she knew herself to be in love with it. She said aloud: O high eternal Goodness, O my God! What am I—the wretched one—to You, O soaring, everlasting Father, that You have shown Your truth to me? that You have shown the snares the evil one has set? the snares my own selfish heart lays out for me? What moved in You to do such things for us? Love alone, love unreturned, You have poured out Your love without my answering love! O fire of love Who burns [...]

SAINTS: Catherine Of Siena — A Reformer And Reconciler, by Greg Friedman

April 8, 2017

From: Lent With The Saints Ezekiel 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31:10-12; John 11:45-57 The prophet Ezekiel proclaims that the Lord will bring the Israelites back from exile and return them to their own land.  Catherine of Siena may have meditated on that prophetic word, from our First Reading, as she struggled to reform the church in the fourteenth century. Catherine was a Third Order Dominican known for her prayer, her severe ascetical practices, and her learning.  Out of her periods of contemplation, she reached out in spiritual letters to enlighten and instruct others.  Such activity for a woman drew suspicion and slander; Catherine was investigated and cleared of any charges of heresy. Soon her fame spread and drew papal notice.  She became [...]

HOLY SPIRIT: The Spirit As Servant: Catherine of Siena, by Elizabeth A. Dreyer

June 5, 2015

From: “An Advent of the Spirit: Medieval Mystics and Saints,” Advents Of The Spirit: An Introduction to the Current Study of Pneumatology Catherine of Siena’s spiritual theology is explicitly trinitarian. Marie Walter Flood comments that the Trinity is, in fact, the centerpiece of Catherine’s theology. On occasion – as in her description of the Spirit as a waiter – Catherine is strikingly innovative in her use of language and imagery, but more often she reiterates doctrine on the Trinity that she has inherited from the tradition. For example, as if to shore up orthodoxy in a time of strife and danger, she frequently reminds her readers that the Holy Spirit is God and that the Spirit proceeds from both Father [...]

JESUS: The Vine by Wendy M. Wright

April 30, 2015

From The Rising In the fourteenth century Catherine of Siena, an Italian holy woman, composed her masterpiece, The Dialogue, in response to a significant mystical experience in which “such a clarity of Truth was revealed to her from Heaven that Catherine was constrained to spread it abroad by means of writing.” (Friend and confessor, Raymond of Capua)  The dialogue she recorded was between herself, a soul “restless with tremendous desire for God’s honor and the salvation of souls,” and God, who communicated in response to four petitions she had entreated.  The result was a masterful theological exposition on all the central Christian themes, an exposition that richly utilized the vast and varied imagery [...]

PRAYER: It Was In This Word’s Passion That, by Catherine of Siena

April 3, 2015

the fire hidden under our ashes began to show itself completely and generously by splitting open his most holy body on the wood of the cross. And it was to draw the soul’s affection to high things, and to bring the mind’s eye to gaze into the fire, that your eternal Word wanted to be lifted up high. From there you have shown us love in your blood, and in your blood you have shown us your mercy and generosity. In this blood you have shown how our sin weighs you down. In this blood you have washed the face of your spouse, the soul, with whom you are joined by the union of the divine nature with our human nature. In this blood you clothed her when she was naked, and by your death you restored her to life. O agreeable, peaceful [...]

MYSTICISM: Letter 55, by Catherine of Siena

January 2, 2015

To: Catella, Monna Cecia Planula and Monna Caterina Dentice, of Naples Date: May/June 1379 I say then that when a soul has tasted this angelic food it sees by the light [of holy faith] that to love and associate with creatures apart from the Creator is to put an obstacle between itself and this food.  So it makes every effort to avoid them, and also to love and pursue anything that will make it grow and abide in virtue.  Realizing, too, that this food is best savored through prayer based on self-knowledge, it practices this continually, as it practices all other ways of drawing closer to God. There are three ways of praying.  The first is that abiding holy desire which prays to God in everything we creatures do, for it directs all our [...]

MYSTICISM: Profitable Teachings From The Life Of The Bride Of Christ Catherine Of Siena

October 3, 2014

beginning with what our Lord taught her and continuing with what she taught her followers From The Cell of Self-Knowledge The first thing our Lord taught her was this: Daughter, do you not know who you are and who I am?  If you know these two things, you are blessed and will continue to be so.  You are she that is not, and I am he who is.  As long as you keep an awareness of these two facts in your heart, your enemy the devil will never deceive you, and you will be able to slip easily out of all his traps.  You will never give way to temptation to do anything against my commandments and teachings, and you will have no difficulty in winning my grace, truth, and love. † The second thing he taught her was this: As long as you think of [...]

SERMON: The Spirit Of Prayer by Francis de Sales

March 10, 2013

We have not to speak of the efficient cause of prayer.  It is necessary for us to know, then, who can and who ought to pray.  The question would soon be decided were we to say that all can pray and that all ought to do so.  But in order the better to satisfy the mind, we shall treat this subject at greater length. In the first place we must realize that God cannot pray at all, since prayer is a petition which is made by grace and requires that we know that we are in need of something, for we are not accustomed to ask for that which we already possess.  Well, God can ask for nothing through grace, but rather, he does everything by divine authority.  Moreover, he cannot have need of anything, since he possesses everything.  It is [...]

POETRY: Catherine of Siena (Six Poems)

September 26, 2012

Consumed in Grace I first saw God when I was a child, six years of age. The cheeks of the sun were pale before Him, and the earth acted as a shy girl, like me. Divine light entered my heart from His love that did never fully wane, though indeed, dear, I can understand how a person’s faith can at times flicker, for what is the mind to do with something that becomes the mind’s ruin: a God that consumes us in His grace. I have seen what you want; it is there, a Beloved of infinite tenderness. Vulnerable Vulnerable we are, like an infant. We need each other’s care or we will suffer. I Won’t Take No For An Answer “I won’t take no for an answer,” God began to say to me when He opened His arms each night wanting us to dance. They [...]