Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The above icon is from Monastery icons. Catherine is extraordinary. She was illiterate and yet was an advisor to Popes and now a Doctor of the Church. In her we find a deep devotion to and knowledge of Christ and the Trinity. She was woman who deeply loved the Church and suffered for its unity. We need another Catherine!
Now, then, do we wish to have that glorious hunger which these holy and true shepherds of the past have felt, and to quench in ourselves that fire of self-love? Let us do as they, who with fire quenched fire; for so great was the fire of inestimable and ardent charity that burned in their hearts and souls, that they were an-hungered and famished for the savour of souls. Oh, sweet and glorious fire, which is of such power that it quenches fire, and every inordinate delight and pleasure and all love of self; and this love is like a drop of water, which is swiftly consumed in the furnace! Should one ask me how men attained that sweet fire and hunger--inasmuch as we are surely in ourselves unfruitful trees--I say that those men grafted themselves into the fruitful tree of the most holy and sweet Cross, where they found the Lamb, slain with such fire of love for our salvation as seems insatiable. Still He cries that He is athirst, as if saying: "I have greater ardour and desire and thirst for your salvation than I show you with My finished Passion." O sweet and good Jesus! Let pontiffs shame them, and shepherds, and every other creature, for our ignorance and pride and self-indulgence, in the presence of so great largess and goodness and ineffable love on the part of our Creator! He has revealed Himself to us in our humanity, a Tree full of sweet and mellow fruits, in order that we, wild trees, might graft ourselves in Him. Now in this wise wrought that enamoured Gregory, and those other good shepherds: knowing that they had no virtue in themselves, and gazing upon the Word, our Tree, they grafted themselves in Him, bound and chained by the bands of love. For in that which the eye sees does it delight, when the thing is fair and good. They saw, then, and seeing they so bound them that they saw not themselves, but saw and tasted everything in God. And there was neither wind nor hail nor demons nor creatures that could keep them from bearing cultivated fruits: since they were grafted in the substance of our Tree, Jesus. They brought forth their fruits, then, from the substance of sweet charity, in which they were united. And there is no other way.

From a letter to Pope Gregory XI.

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