The Courage of St. Catherine of Siena

About Catherine

Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy in 1347. She was a twin but her sister died shortly after birth. The following year the Black Death entered Siena.

She had a vision of Jesus as a young child and from then knew she wanted to give her life to God and renew the Church.

She took a vow of virginity and cut her hair; her desire was to avoid marriage.

In 1363 she joins the Mantelatte, a lay Dominican order of women in Siena.

Bold and Courageous

She wrote to Popes and civil leaders, telling them to do what was right and necessary to fix the problems in the Church and community. She ministered to the sick and dying. A story I tell in the audio is about her helping a man who is to be executed.

Her Writings

We have letters, prayers and her most well know, THe Dialogue of Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue is a series of conversations between God and Catherine while she was in a deep prayer state.

Pray Catherine’s prayer to the Holy Spirit when you find yourself falling into despair.

 

 

The Struggle is Good

No one likes struggles

However, in our world they are inevitable. I do believe they can help us tough, in becoming the person God created. If we learn from our struggles, we have confidence that God will be there with us the next time.

God’s Word

“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Reflection

We are being built into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. God will dwell in us, through the power of his Spirit with his Son. We are held together by his Son. Isn’t that the truth?  When we look back at our struggles we see how God was present. It may have been through the Word, others, prayers, the sacraments – he was there.  And then, what did we learn by going through the struggle?

That is our challenge for this week. Look back, on yesterday, last week, month, year – to a struggle that you survived and hopefully learned from. Where was God? What did you learn about him and yourself? Write it out. Remember it for the next time.

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The Holy Spirit’s Gifts, part 1

The Spirit is present from the beginning of time – “A mighty wind sweeping over the waters” (Gn 1:2b). As part of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit moves and acts in accord with the Father and the Son, bringing order from chaos. The gifts of the Holy Spirit come from Isaiah 11:2, “The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD.”

When did the apostles receive the Holy Spirit?

On the feast of Pentecost, which is considered the birth of the Church, the apostles and Mary were locked in the upper room out of fear. And then, the Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them with the gifts of the Spirit. Then, they were made bold and began to preach and teach and heal and pray. The began spreading the Good News!

Why do we need these gifts?

These gifts help us be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and sustain us in our Christian walk.

Wisdom helps order our lives correctly by desiring the things of God rather than the world.

Understanding allows us to grasp the truths of our faith profoundly.

Counsel gives us the opportunity to choose the best way to please God, to avoid sin and to help others do what is right.

As always, the gifts are first for ourselves before we reach out and help others. Let the Spirit fill you and guide you as to how to use your gifts.

the not lukewarm challenge

Our Not Lukewarm Challenge this week: Read and reflect on these scripture verses: Isiah 11, Psalm 104. And here is a link to the Holy Spirit prayer I prayed.

 

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God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  He is made known to us from the beginning of the Old Testament, in Genesis 1:2, “and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters” that wind is the Holy Spirit. Then we see again, in Exodus, God is with the Israelites as they flee from Egypt, “The LORD preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people (Ex: 13:21-22). God was with them and he is with us as well.

In the New Testament, we see the action of the Holy Spirit when Mary conceives Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and again, when Jesus is baptized, the Spirit, in the form of a dove rests above Jesus as he comes up out of the water (Luke 3:22).

The Holy Spirit completes the Father’s plan; he sent Jesus to save us and Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will come and be with us always. The Holy Spirit was poured out onto the apostles at Pentecost and enabled them to go out and preach the Good News. The Spirit guides,  protects and sanctifies (makes holy) the Church.

He calls all people to Christ and completes his saving mission. The Holy Spirit is with us always, drawing us closer to Christ, both consoling and convicting us of our sin. He is the source of our hope.

In Baptism we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord (Is 11:1-2). They are sealed in us at Confirmation. As we live and grow as Christians, we grow in the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal 5: 22-23).

The Holy Spirit as many titles, which give an idea of how he acts in our lives: consoler, creator spirit, giver of life, paraclete, source of goodness, and spirit of truth.

The Holy Spirit is the fullness of love between the Father and the Son, reminding us that something always comes from love.

the not lukewarm challenge

 

This week, pray St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit and see what happens when you invite him into your life.

You can right-click on the image of the prayer to “save image as” and then print it if you’d like.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit