St. Catherine of Ricci
ALEXANDRINA of Ricci was the daughter of a noble Florentine. At the age of thirteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic in the monastery of Prato, taking in religion the name of Catherine, after her patron and namesake of Siena. Her special attraction was to the Passion of Christ, in which she was permitted miraculously to participate. In the Lent of 1541, being then twenty-one years of age, she had a vision of the crucifixion so heart-rending that she was confined to bed for three weeks, and was only restored, on Holy Saturday, by an apparition of St. Mary Magdalene and Jesus risen. During twelve years she passed every Friday in ecstasy, She received the sacred stigmata, the wound in the left side, and the crown of thorns. All these favors gave her continual and intense suffering, and inspired her with a loving sympathy for the yet more bitter tortures of the Holy Souls. In their behalf she offered all her prayers and penances; and her charity toward them became so famous throughout Tuscany that after every death the friends of the deceased hastened to Catherine to secure her prayers. St. Catherine offered many prayers, fasts, and penances for a certain great man, and thus obtained his salvation. It was revealed to her that he was in purgatory; and such was her love of Jesus crucified that she offered to suffer all the pains about to be inflicted on that soul. Her prayer was granted. The soul entered heaven, and for forty days Catherine suffered indescribable agonies. Her body was covered with blisters, emitting heat so great that her cell seemed on fire. Her flesh appeared as if roasted, and her tongue like red-hot iron. Amid all she was calm and joyful, saying, "I long to suffer all imaginable pains, that souls may quickly see and praise their Redeemer." She knew by revelation the arrival of a soul in. purgatory, and the hour of its release. She held intercourse with the Saints in glory, and frequently conversed with St. Philip Neri at Rome without ever leaving her convent at Prato. She died, amid angels' songs, in 1589.
Reflection. — If we truly love Jesus crucified, we must long, as did St. Catherine, to release the Holy Souls whom He has redeemed but has left to our charity to set free. you!
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 17, 5, 6, 7
The groans of death surround me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me: an in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice, from His holy temple. Ps. 17, 2, 3. I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, and my refuge and my deliverer. Glory be …
Do thou, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Thy people, that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of Thy name. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 1 Cor. 9, 24-27; 10, 1-5
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
BRETHREN, know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.
For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food, And all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.) But with most of them God was not well pleased.
Gradual • Ps. 9, 10, 11, 19, 20
The helper in due time, in tribulation: let them trust in Thee, who know Thee: for Thou dost not forsake them that seek Thee, O Lord. For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end: the patience of the poor shall not perish for ever: arise, O Lord, let not man be strengthened.
Gospel • Matt. 20, 1-16
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[The parable of the labourers in the vineyard. The ambition of the two sons of Zebedee. Christ gives sight to two blind men.]
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner.
But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first. When therefore they were come, that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: and they also received every man a penny.
And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, Saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats. But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.
Offertory • Ps. 91, 2
It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name. O Most High.
With our gifts and prayers accepted, we beseech Thee, O Lord, both cleanse us by theses heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. Through our Lord.
Communion • Ps. 30, 17, 18
Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, and save me in Thy mercy: Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon Thee.
May Thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by Thy gifts, that receiving them they may still desire them and desiring them may constantly receive them. Through our Lord.