Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and doctor of the Church
(Acts 14:5-18; John 14:21-26)
An expert in medieval music was commenting on the composition of a nun from that era. The expert mentioned how the nun was motivated by love for her spouse, Jesus Christ. To the expert’s credit she did not doubt the reality of the nun’s spousal love or the possibility of its enhancing the ability to compose beautiful music. Catherine of Siena demonstrated such love for the same Jesus.
Catherine also considered herself the spouse of Christ as indeed we all should. Her love moved her to enter in such profound spiritual union with Jesus that she thought of his heart as being hers. She used to pray, “Lord, I give you your own heart.” Out of love for Christ, Catherine exhausted herself seeking the reunification of his Body, the Church. She died in effort to bring the pope back to Rome from Avignon where he lived in self-imposed exile.
In today’s gospel Jesus asks his disciples to love him which in sum means to love one another. We should not hesitate to do this because we wonder whether our love will go unrequited. No, Jesus loves each of us with even greater intensity than Catherine loved him. He can have such love for all not because he is human but because he is God. We need only to trust in his love to realize its richness.