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Today is a very special day for me……. April 30, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, religious, Saints, Virtue.

…..it’s her feast day.  Yes……..hers.  St. Catherine of Siena.  I love her.

The painting above comes from a fresco painted in a church in Siena, by a man who knew St. Catherine, Doctor of the Church, while she still lived.  St. Catherine was a tiny wisp of a woman, who from her youngest days had a tremendous cooperation with Grace, and whose life constantly exhibited the greatest sanctity.  There are many biographies of St. Catherine, but I highly recommend the one by the Swedish author Sigrid Undset.  It details her life of tremendous piety and joyfully experienced, even willed, suffering. 

But, as much as I adore St. Catherine, and I am ashamed at how I have not posted about her much at all this past  year, she’s really not the point of this post. Well, she is, but she isn’t.  The point of this post is prayer. 

If we are particularly blessed, we may know a priest, or even several, we tremendously admire and respect.  We may even know a bishop who possesses tremendous sanctity.  We may admire their prayerfulness, their dedication, their constant glorification of the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church, and many other facets.  But we must remember something absolutely critical: for all that priest’s sanctity, for all this good works or all his willingness to relate the hard truths, the truths most others don’t want to touch, he is but the tip of the spear.  The same applies to any holy person you know.   This is because, except in very rare cases, possibly like St. Catherine, these holy people are but the tip of the spear, the fruit of someone else’s prayers.

There is no question that, during St. Catherine’s time, Siena experienced a great revival in the Faith.  Prior to her public ministry, Siena was a troubled, worldly, materialist town.  And while it remained that way despite St. Catherine’s efforts, many, many souls turned away from the world and its illusions and embraced the true Faith of Jesus Christ.  They died to themselves, and to the world, and lived in an ethereal, spiritual counter-world, which existed both in and out of time, corresponding with saints and angels as much with men and worldly affairs.

If you know a really good priest, it is most likely he is good because somewhere, in some cloistered monastery, there is a little girl in a giant habit praying for him, many hours, every day.  Or there may be several such.  Or, it could be a monk.  Or, even, a particularly holy lay person, or a large group of relatively “normal” lay people praying for their priests.

The point is, to pray.  St. Catherine prayed.  She prayed that Siena would turn away from the violence and materialism of early renaiisance Tuscany.  She also prayed, and suffered immensely, for something else – she prayed that the Popes would free their terrible exile in Avignon and return to their rightful home in Rome.  She even went to Avignon to confront the Pope and his massive French entourage, so worldly, so corrupt.  There was so much gossip about Catherine in Rome – many said her ecstacies were faked, that she was just a religious nut, that no one could be so holy.  A particularly vicious courtesan even jabbed a large hat pin in St. Catherine’s bare foot when she was transfixed in ecstacy after Mass, to see if she would respond. Of course, she didn’t.  That woman later became one of St. Catherine’s third order Dominican followers.

The point is, we have to pray.  We have to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).  Even when we can’t formally pray, because we have to do some work, we can make that work a prayer by offering it to God.  In all but the most demanding work, it may be possible to keep a thought of God, a form of prayer, in the back of our mind, while we work.  If we offer constant prayer like this for some priest, some bishop, or some need in the Church or the world, it can have tremendous benefit. 

This also points out how much the radical shift in religious life, especially among female religious, over the past 50 years, has so disfigured the Church and so altered, or even interrupted, the flow of Grace into the Church. When the nuns shucked their habits, got masters degrees, went out into the world, and became focused so heavily on material affairs, it was a blow of shocking proportions.  That’s not to say we don’t need religious performing more earthly tasks, but even those must be centered around a life of prayer and total devotion to God, not bizaare neo-pagan earth mother wicca cults. 

And I don’t think it any accident, that as traditional religious life has made something of a small comeback, so has the liturgy improved, and vocations are up a bit, and many other indicators are starting to turnaround in fits and starts.  If we continue to pray, and if we have more religious that do so, it will power the restoration of the Church.

Speaking of St. Catherine, Rorate Caeli has some of the great Doctor’s thoughts on the Blessed Sacrament.


1. leardonbr - April 30, 2012

I know this is probably not the right subject matter to post this – but I could use some help in locating a place to purchase gift items in Latin. Specifically, I am looking for a plaque or framed item with a housewarming theme (yes, I am a REALTOR) . I have reached out to the Catholic book stores in Denton and Dallas – no luck. Any help would be appreciated. FYI – just found your site googling and really like it – except for whomever posts nasty comments attached to your original postings. Thanks so much

tantamergo - May 1, 2012

Yikes! Not sure about the nasty comments – where?

As for a housewarming theme in Latin……wow, I’m not sure. Sounds like you tried Sacred Heart already, they would know better than I.

I have something at home…..it’s not a housewarming gift, per se, but it is a picture of Jesus, pierced by the crown of thorns and with blood and tears running down his face, with a Latin inscription I can’t rememeber now! I’ll try to take a pic and post it later, but it will likely be tomorrow before I get it posted.

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