St. Catherine of Siena
CATHERINE, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the "Hail Mary" on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for refusing to marry. Our Lord gave her His Heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with His own hands, and stamped on her body the print of His wounds. At the age of fifteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, but continued to reside in her father's shop, where she united a life of active charity with the prayer of a contemplative Saint. From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was summoned to defend the Church's cause. Armed with Papal authority, and accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God. In the face well-nigh of the whole world she sought out Gregory XI. at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause. She was the counsellor of Urban VI., and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an antipope. Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began ere she died. Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But the devil excited the Roman people against the Pope, so that some sought the life cf Christ's Vicar. With intense earnestness did St. Catherine beg Our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. In spirit, she saw the whole city full of demons tempting the people to resist and even slay the Pope. The seditious temper was subdued by Catherine's prayers; but the devils vented their malice by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and His Church. She died at Rome, in 1380, at the age of thirty-three.
Reflection. —The seraphic St. Catherine willingly sacrificed the delights of contemplation to labor for the Church and the Apostolic See. How deeply do the troubles of the Church and the consequent loss of souls afflict us? How often do we pray for the Church and the Pope?
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 44, 8
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: there for God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (P. T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 44, 2. My heart that uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be …
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who venerate the natal feast of blessed Catharine, Thy virgin, may be both gladdened by her annual solemnity and helped by the example of so great virtue. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 2 Cor. 10, 17;11, 1, 2
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
[He warneth them against false teachers. He counts all other things loss, that he may gain Christ.]
BRETHREN, But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commendeth himself, is approved, but he, whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly: but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Gradual • Ps. 44, 5
With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Because of truth, and, meekness and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 44, 15, 16. After her shall virgins be brought to the King; her neighbors shall be brought to thee in gladness. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 25, 1-13
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[The parable of the ten virgins and of the talents. The description of the last judgment.]
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.
But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
Offertory • Ps. 44, 10
The daughters of kings in Thy honor: the queen stood on Thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. (P. T. Alleluia.)
Let the prayers we offer on the feast-day of blessed Catharine rise up unto Thee, O Lord, and the sacrifice of salvation fragrant with the odor of virgin purity. Through our Lord.
Communion • Matt. 25, 4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with lamps: but at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord. (P. T. Alleluia.)
May the heavenly table, from which we have been fed, give us eternal life, O Lord, as it sustained even the temporal life of Catharine, the blessed virgin. Through our Lord.