St. Catharine of Bologna
Some Franciscan saints led fairly public lives; Catharine represents the saints who served the Lord in obscurity.
Catharine, born in Bologna, was related to the nobility in Ferrara and was educated at court there. She received a liberal education at the court and developed some interest and talent in painting. In later years as a Poor Clare, Catharine sometimes did manuscript illumination and also painted miniatures.
At the age of 17, she joined a group of religious women in Ferrara. Four years later the whole group joined the Poor Clares in that city. Jobs as convent baker and portress preceded her selection as novice mistress.
In 1456, she and 15 other sisters were sent to establish a Poor Clare monastery in Florence. As abbess Catharine worked to preserve the peace of the new community. Her reputation for holiness drew many young women to the Poor Clare life. She was canonized in 1712.
Appreciating Catharine's life in a Poor Clare monastery may be hard for us. "It seems like such a waste," we may be tempted to say. Through prayer, penance and charity to her sisters, Catharine drew close to God. Our goal is the same as hers even if our paths are different.
Catharine wrote a book on the seven spiritual weapons to be used against temptation. "Jesus Christ gave up his life that we might live," she said. "Therefore, whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of the Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one's own death; sixth, remembrance of God's glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert" (On the Seven Spiritual Weapons).
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Lord, help me to be fully alive to your holy presence.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?
The Word of God
I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read.What part of it strikes a chord in me?Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently- will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness.If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Meditation: Mark 12:28-34
3rd Week of Lent
You are not far from the kingdom of God. (Mark 12:34)
As encouraging as these words are, they still seem a little limited. Why didn't Jesus tell this scribe, "You've arrived! You have reached the kingdom of God"? It wasn't that the scribe lacked wisdom. He realized that the commandments to love God and neighbor were greater than any sacrifice or offering. He was faithful to the Law, but he also knew there was more. But Jesus saw that this man was not yet ready for the next step, for the revelation of his divinity. So he left him a tantalizing invitation to keep on looking.
A similar situation happened with another man Jesus met. This fellow had everything, but that was exactly the problem. He was so attached to his possessions that he couldn't give them up to follow Jesus. Like the scribe, he knew there was something missing in his life. But he wasn't ready to change, and he walked away sad. As he did with the scribe, Jesus didn't condemn the man. He looked at him with love and left the door open for him to take the next step (Mark 10:17-22).
Jesus is saying something similar to us today. We know who he is, and we are trying to follow him. But he is calling us further. He is asking us to "persevere in running the race that lies before us" (Hebrews 12:1). It's a long race that calls for patience, endurance, and fortitude. We don't want to stop, for then we can miss the next opportunity for grace and growth that God has in store for us. And if there's one thing we can say for certain about our heavenly Father, it's that he always has more for us. As one spiritual writer put it, "We are always only at the beginning of love."
Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that Jesus is pleased with you right now. Like a good coach, he sees how much you've already done, and he is proud of you! He is committed to the same thing you are. He wants to see you overcome that next hurdle, hit that new goal, and get that much closer to the finish line. He is committed to taking you there. Just stay with him every day, and keep your eyes fixed on him!
"Lord, give me eyes of faith to see that you are always with me. I have nothing to fear, for you will never let go of me."
Hosea 14:2-10; Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17
The 5 minutos had this today, allow me to translate:
"Thank You. With these words I finish this letter, my God, my Love. Because that is all I have to say to you: thank you, thank you. If I turn my eyes back, what will I find but an endless range of your love? There is no corner in my history in which your mercy wouldn't pour over me. There has not existed an hour in which I hadn't experienced your loving and paternal presence caressing my soul(...) Just yesterday I received a letter from a friend that just found out about my health problems, and wrote furiously: "A great load of rage invades all my being and I rebel once and again against that God that allows people like you to suffer". Poor person, her affection does not her see the truth. Because (...) in my fifty years I have suffered but a few times at the hand of men(...) But of You, I have received nothing but an unending sowing of gestures of affection. My last sickness is one of them. And so I learned also that pain is part of the game. Not a curse, but something that came in the earnings of living; something that, in all cases, would always be insufficient, because, having learned as a child to contemplate before all the positive zones of life, and having assumed with normality the dark, it turns out that, when these come, they are no longer dark, but just something grey (...)I have been happy, of course. How could I not be? And I have been happy here without waiting for the glory of heaven. Look, You know that I am not afraid of death, but I am also not in a hurry for it to get here. Could I be there in your arms more than I am today? Because this is the amazement: we have Heaven from the moment we can love you (...) -A Letter from Jose Luis Martin Descalzo, written a few days before he died) "
Let us say, that the bible could be a love letter from God. What we just read then, was from someone who had found themselves in the Kingdom of God, writing a love letter back to God. What we witness then is a reciprocating love, a living, one in being with the other. Hosea asked for the people to repent and prepare themselves for this. Hosea was a prophet, and many called Jesus a prophet, for He was the reason of the prophets and then not only was a prophet but the fulfillment of the prophecies. The woman at the well said "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet......I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything." Jesus said to her, "I am he,* the one who is speaking with you." (John 4:1-26). She went on to become like an angel, a messenger, "come and see this man who told me everything, could this be the Messiah?" Jesus said "I have food that you do not know...the food is to do the will of the one who sent Me", and the Gospel continues "Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman* who testified, "He told me everything I have done." When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world." This has everything to do with the fulfillment of today's readings. And now, the Word has been spoken unto you. Will this be the day that you repent of your sins? Will this be the day we realize like the man speaking with Jesus and agree " you are right, we should love God with everything we've got and our neighbor"? And so the next step is to do it, to take the plunge, the leap of faith into the unknown. I have more than enough stories of how ungrateful people are with one another, and how pride rears its head in hiding. What's being asked here is to step into a life of grace, mercy, and compassion. Too often we want people to accept us, apologize to us, respect us, and not say nothing about us. Look, truth in works appears. When you follow Jesus, all that is behind, we have gone beyond. I want you to realize that this invitation that our Lord leaves open today is for you and for me. Are you ready, are you getting ready for this? For what? An unending Kingdom. After all, it is not even a question or open invitation, it is a commandment; I Am the Lord your God, hear My voice.
And no one dared to ask Him anymore questions
The needy are the poor and the poor in spirit.
Give today of all you got with all you got
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