Monday, April 30, 2012

St. Catherine of Siena and the Truth

St. Catherine of Siena prayed to know eternal truth. St. Catherine was often challenged and at times ridiculed. She was even called an "ignorant little woman." One day a Franciscan scholar and an Augustinian Brother decided to challenge her as they felt it their duty "to speak to her so that she may see her errors.." The two theologians decided to question her, in the midst of a large group. And so the story goes:
Now Master Gabriele lived in his convent in the style of a cardinal. He had had the walls taken down between three cells to make himself a spacious room; his bed was provided with curtains and rugs of silk; he possessed books and many other things worth many hundred ducats. Catherine knew this and suddenly she upset all the snares which the Franciscan had prepared for her and told him to be ashamed of the life that he, a son of St. Francis dared to live. 'How is it possible for you to understand anything of that which pertains to the Kingdom of who live only for the world and to be honored and esteemed by men? Your learning is of but little use to others and only harms yourself, for you seek the shell, not the core. For the sake of Jesus Christ Crucified, do not live this way any longer'!
Her words struck the heart, mind and soul of the learned Franciscan. He took the keys from his belt and handed them to Catherine. He looked around the room and shouted, "Is there no one present here who will go to my cell and take everything he finds there and give it to the poor?"
Both of those learned men changed their lives dramatically from that day on. They both gave away all their possessions to the poor and lived humbly for the rest of their lives.
They had been challenged by a living saint and a doctor of the Church and by God's piercing truth.

O eternal Trinity, my sweet love! You light, give us light
You, wisdom, give us wisdom, You, supreme strength,
strengthen us,
Today, eternal God, let our cloud be dissipated so that we may
perfectly know and follow your truth, in truth, with a free and simple heart.
St. Catherine