Daily Thought For January 7, 2021
Saint Catherine’s Prayer for the Whole World and the Holy Church
This soul, seeing by the light of faith the truth and excellence of obedience, and lovingly hearing and tasting it with an ecstatic desire, turns gratefully toward God’s majesty, saying, “Thank you, eternal Father, for not despising me, the work of your hands, for not turning your face from me, nor disregarding my desires. You, pure light, have not paid attention to my darkness. You, true life, have not shunned my living death. You, the physician, have not been repulsed by my serious illness. You, eternal purity, have not paid attention to my miserable state. You, the infinite, have not considered that I am finite. You, eternal wisdom, have not seen my foolishness.
“Your wisdom, goodness, and mercy have simply overlooked my many faults and sins. Because of your merciful forgiveness, I have made your charity and love of neighbor my own. Have I been coerced? Not by my own virtues, but by your love. I pray that that same love will cause you to enlighten my mind with the light of faith, so that I may know and understand the truth you have shown me. May I remember your blessings, that I may burn with the fire of your love. May that fire inspire me to give my own body and blood, together with your blood, and then through obedience let me unlock the gate of heaven. With all my heart I beg this same blessing on everyone who makes up the Mystical Body of Christ. I believe and will never deny that you loved me before I was born. Your love is beyond description; it is as if you were madly in love with your own creature.
“Eternal Trinity! Blessed God! God who gave such value to your Son’s blood, You are as deep as the sea. The deeper I dive the more I discover, and the more I discover the more I desire to find. It is impossible for a soul to be satisfied, for you are an abyss. The soul hungers for you, eternal Trinity. She desires to be able to see you with your own light. Just as a deer longs for a spring of life-giving water, so my soul desires to be liberated from the body’s dark prison to actually see you. O fire and abyss of love, eternal Trinity, how long will your face be hidden from me? Quickly dispel the cloud from my body. You have given me knowledge of your truth, which pushes me to escape the weight of my body, to offer my life for your glory and praise. I have tasted, I have glimpsed your depths with the light of my mind. By your light I see you, the eternal Trinity, and the beauty of your creature. Looking at myself in you, I see that I am your image; my life is a gift of your power, O eternal Father; the wisdom of your only-begotten Son shines in my intellect and my will; from your Holy Spirit, who proceeds in oneness from you and your Son, I am able to love you. Eternal Trinity, you are my Creator; I am the work of your hands. Because of the new creation given me through your Son’s blood, I know that you love what you have made.
“O profound depths! O eternal Godhead! More than yourself, what could you give me? You are the unquenchable fire, never consumed, but consuming all of my self-love; you are the fire that warms everything. Your light illuminates me to grasp all your truth. Light above all light, you supernaturally enlighten the eye of my intellect so that all is abundantly and perfectly clear. I see my soul alive, and I see it receive you, my true light. In the wisdom of your only-begotten Son, the Word, I have acquired wisdom by the light of faith. In this light of faith I am strong, constant, and persevering. In the light of faith I hope; do not let me falter. If not for this light, I would be walking in the dark; it shows me the road. I said, eternal Father, you have enlightened me by the light of holy faith.
“The soul relaxes in you, eternal Trinity, as in a calm sea. Because the water of this sea is not turbulent, the soul has no fear. Secrets are revealed in this sea with such sweetness that the soul finds certainty in what she believes. You have me gaze into the mirror of this water, holding it in my hand that I might see myself in it. And the reflection that I see is myself in you and you in me; your creature seen in you and yourself in me through that union you made of your Godhead and our humanity. For me the light represents you, the highest and infinite good, blessed and incomprehensible, inestimable beauty, exalted wisdom. You are the food of the angels; you have given yourself with burning love to us; you are the garment clothing our nakedness. Feed the hungry with your sweetness. You are sweet without any bitterness! Eternal Trinity, you have given me light to know the holy faith, that the marvelous truths you revealed about the path of perfection might be followed no longer in darkness, but in the light. This you have done that I might rise up from my sins and be a reflection of the good and holy life.
“Why have I not always known your truth and have not always loved it? I did not see you in the glorious light of faith. My self-love darkened my mind like a cloud until you, eternal Trinity, chased away the darkness with your light. Who can even imagine your greatness in order to give you proper thanks for gifts and benefits beyond measure—which you have given to me in giving the true doctrine—such a special gift above all the ordinary gifts you give to everyone? You have graciously reached down to my neediness. You allowed me to question you, and then answered in a way that satisfied my desire. You filled me with the light of grace, enough that I might duly thank you. Now clothe me, clothe me with yourself, eternal Truth, so that I may finish my life’s journey in true obedience and in the light of holy faith, which makes my soul feel inebriated anew. Thanks be to God. Amen.”
—Excerpt from The Dialogue, Number 167 (Catherine speaks to God)
Hill, M. L. (2011). Foreword. In M. L. Hill (Ed.), Path of Holiness: Wisdom from Catherine of Siena (pp. 89–93). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.