You, eternal Trinity, are the craftsman; and I your handiwork have come to know that you are in love with the beauty of what you have made, since you made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son. — St. Catherine’s Dialogue #167
St. Catherine of Siena’s feast is today! She is a very special saint for me, and for several of my lay Dominican friends. Let me share just one little nugget of her golden wisdom today.
Her spiritual director, Bl. Raymond of Capua, recounted a vision of Christ that Catherine had when she was at prayer. Jesus asked her, “Do you know daughter, who you are and who I am? If you know these two things you have happiness in your grasp.” Then the Lord continued, “You are she-who-is-not, I AM HE WHO IS.”
To acknowledge the radical contingency of being, that all of us at every moment absolutely depend on God for existence, is to have in place a firm foundation. If such is my vision, I must always live in a fundamental posture of grateful receptivity before God, aware at every moment that all is gift. And because the Giver of the gift is love in His deepest essence, love must come to define my life as the only fitting response. This also establishes in us the profound humility of a steward, makes the practice of prayer entirely natural, and reveals the Sacraments to be life-giving fountains from which HE WHO IS raises she-who-is-not up into His new creation. There, in a world conceived by the Heart of God, she even comes to share in His beginning-less eternity and limitless love.
As Pope Benedict XVI said:
Like St. Catherine, every believer must feel 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.
After her vision of Christ, St. Catherine continued with a prayer that captures powerfully the beauty of this “HE WHO IS/she who is not” dialectic. May the prayer of St. Catherine become ours this day.
And you, high eternal Trinity, acted as if you were drunk with love, infatuated with your creature. When you saw that this tree could bear no fruit, but the fruit of death because it was cut off from you who are life, you came to rescue with the same love with which you created it. You engrafted your divinity into the dead tree of our humanity. What drove you to this to give back life to this creature of yours that had so insulted you? Only love. And was it enough for your charity to have effected such a union with your creatures? No. So you, eternal Word, watered this tree with your own Blood. Thanks, thanks to you, most high eternal Father, for revealing this truth – madly in love as you are with your creature.