St. Catherine of Genoa
Going to confession one day was the turning point of Catherine's life.
When Catherine was born, many Italian nobles were supporting Renaissance artists and writers. The needs of the poor and the sick were often overshadowed by a hunger for luxury and self-indulgence.
Catherine's parents were members of the nobility in Genoa. At 13 she attempted to become a nun but failed because of her age. At 16 she married Julian, a nobleman who turned out to be selfish and unfaithful. For a while she tried to numb her disappointment by a life of selfish pleasure.
One day in confession she had a new sense of her own sins and how much God loved her. She reformed her life and gave good example to Julian, who soon turned from his self-centered life of distraction.
Julian's spending, however, had ruined them financially. He and Catherine decided to live in the Pammatone, a large hospital in Genoa, and to dedicate themselves to works of charity there. After Julian's death in 1497, Catherine took over management of the hospital.
She wrote about purgatory which, she said, begins on earth for souls open to God. Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth.
Exhausted by her life of self-sacrifice, she died September 15, 1510, and was canonized in 1737.
Regular confessions and frequent Communion can help us see the direction (or drift) of our life with God. People who have a realistic sense of their own sinfulness and of the greatness of God are often the ones who are most ready to meet the needs of their neighbors. Catherine began her hospital work with enthusiasm and was faithful to it through difficult times because she was inspired by the love of God, a love which was renewed in her by the Scriptures and the sacraments.
Shortly before Catherine's death she told her goddaughter: "Tomasina! Jesus in your heart! Eternity in your mind! The will of God in all your actions! But above all, love, God's love, entire love!" (Marion A. Habig, O.F.M., The Franciscan Book of Saints, p. 212).
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
The more we call on God
Lord, may I never take the gift
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground.
The Word of God
What feelings are rising in me as I pray and reflect on God's Word? I imagine Jesus himself sitting or standing near me and open my heart to him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: 2 Kings 5:1-15
3rd Week of Lent
I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the Lord his God. (2 Kings 5:11)
Poor Naaman! He has carefully planned his journey in search of healing, but he keeps having to adjust his expectations. Fortunately, God puts his agents in the right place at the right time to help Naaman accept these changes.
First is the slave girl who tells Naaman that there may be a cure for the leprosy he has assumed would always plague him. When the king of Israel expresses alarm at Naaman's request, Elisha hears about it and sends a messenger to invite Naaman to come discover that there is indeed a prophet in Israel. But Naaman has already played the scene of his cure in his imagination, and it doesn't include plunging into a dirty river. Offended by what Elisha tells him to do, Naaman is ready to go home without being healed. Again, his servants act as God's agents. They persuade him that he might as well give it a try. As a result, not only is Naaman healed; he comes to know the one true God.
Naaman shows us how we can start off in good faith but find ourselves limited or even led astray by our past experiences. Our notions of how things are or how they should be can blind us to what God wants to do for us now, in this new moment.
Fortunately, God has many agents who can help us correct our course. It may be a character from Scripture whose situation seems familiar. It may be a present-day hero of the faith whose triumph speaks to our lives. It may be a wise friend who prays with us at just the right time or a spiritual director who listens to us and asks questions that help us get unstuck. It may even happen in a "chance" encounter, a "God-incidence."
If you are facing a challenge or an important decision, lay it before the Lord, and ask him to direct you. Then open your eyes and ears! He has already placed his agents in strategic locations, ready to move you along his path.
"Lord, I want to do things your way and not on my own. Send your messengers to shine light on my path."
Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3-4; Luke 4:24-30
The 5minutos ended with: "...I have come to open springs, so no one suffers thirst, and rivers of peace and mercy, where everyone can bathe themselves. Come to Me. But you are free, I know, you can reject my invitation. You have many offers that seem more fun. But anyway, if you do not come, I will notice much your absence, I will feel much for it, for Myself and for yourselves; I will see you as stars that turn off..."
The lights turned on with Naaman when he was cleansed. He saw the Lord we so much prayed for in the Psalms today " Athirst is my soul for the living God. When shall I go and behold the face of God?". We need healing. Let me repeat that, We Need Healing. You may not be suffering with cancers or life threatening illnesses like Naaman, but what is seen here is a revelation for you and for Naaman. Healing opens your eyes to God. Perhaps that is one reason I have seen the Lord. I seen Him...and how? I have seen Him heal me, I have seen Him heal others. I have seen angels touching souls after confession. I remember when I was teaching High School Kids at church, I saw a handful at confessions, and a particular young student I noticed was doing penance and a mysterious presence around her afterwards. I remember we as a class went to a retreat, hauled them all in my rv and back. Months later, that student, she passed away in a car accident. I take consolation in that she experienced our Lord and His mercy and the grace granted to a willing soul. Jesus said that very few take to what Naaman did, for Naaman didn't believe either, much like many do not believe in the Holy Sacrament of Confession. Now, let me take you to something I have told very few; on the first Friday of this month, of Holy Adoration of the Most Blessed Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, me and my wife brought our oldest daughter of 9 yrs. old, and she invited her cousin my niece, who is about the same age, maybe a year older. I said "ok, we can all go" and we took them. Towards the end of Holy Hour, a mysterious presence filled the room but I didn't tell anyone. After Holy Hour, my niece, said she had seen "god coming next to her" and then as she was talking she said "I want to get baptized now". Only then did I say I had seen what she saw, and was glad and now feel pressed to pray for her and her salvation, beginning with Holy Baptism. Only, I have an upwards hill, because they don't go to church, but it is interesting because I am offering my lenten sacrifices for that exact family among a few others. What then is this presence? One can see that it is God. I can see God at work, even though I don't see Him as a human, for He is the Holy Spirit among us. The reflection above is from Word Among Us publication. The reward then is for those who step out and try, like Naaman. God is asking us to come see Him. In Confession? Yes. In Adoration? Yes. In Church? Yes. In the needy? Yes. The poor and forgotten? Yes. I invite many, and many say no. This goes well with today's Holy Gospel. A flat out rejection in the face of the Lord. I was at a new McDonald's buying a fish sandwich last Friday, it was packed with workers and high school kids. I saw a man that goes to our church eating a big ol juicy quarter pounder, "Oh NO! He's eating meat!" alarmed in my head. And so, as we stood in line, behind me I saw a high school student that wants me to be his god-father, or sponsor for Confirmation with a girl friend. I said "today is fish Friday we don't eat meat." I didn't get a response. As I waited for my order, the high school kid orders a few chicken sandwiches. My thoughts were "LOL, what am I chopped liver? Why don't people listen to me?". This is what happens too often in our lives. God wants us to listen, but we don't hear, or listen, or even worse, we don't care. It is one thing to forget, but another to not care enough not to forget. The people of Nazareth were people who "knew" Jesus, yet they almost killed Him had He not got away mysteriously through their midst. And through our midst He goes today, being revealed to and healing those with a true heart. Consider which way our hearts go, the more light we see, the lighter it is