Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, virgin and Doctor of the Church

(Acts 8:1b-8; John 6:35-40)

Frontliners in the struggle with the Corona-19 virus may look to Catherine of Siena for inspiration.  Catherine took care of the poor and the sick in her city.  When the bubonic plague struck, she attended its victims. But she is more remembered for her ministry to the influential.  She convinced the pope to return to Rome and brought reconciliation between the city of Florence and the papacy.  She also left a spiritual legacy.  As a writer, her book The Dialogue is a classic of Western mysticism. 

Catherine had great devotion to the Eucharist.  She would eat almost nothing but took Communion daily.  As a saint, she recognized that Christ is the “bread of life” as he says in today’s gospel.  She fed on him whom she considered her spouse. Nourished on that food, Catherine of Siena is rightly considered one of the most influential women of the fourteenth century.

All of us can find something to imitate in Catherine of Siena.  We may consider ourselves fortunate not to be like her in every way.  But it may be shortsightedness that makes us think that.  She knew Christ intimately and loved him unreservedly.  Now she experiences life in eternity with her beloved.