St. Catherine of Siena exhorts us:
“Do Not Judge …
Love One Another”
New Statute Transfers Fatima to
the Control of Four Bishops
St. Catherine was holy from her youth. At the age of 6, she underwent an extraordinary mystical experience which transformed her life. She never committed a mortal sin. By age 25, she lived on Holy Communion alone. She ministered to the physically sick and to those in sin. No sinner who came to her could resist converting and going to Confession. When she traveled, it was necessary to have 5 to 7 priests accompany her just to hear the Confessions of those who were won to Christ by her. She could smell a person’s sin and possessed the ability to know the state of everyone’s soul who came into her company. Our Lord and Our Lady regularly visited her and conversed familiarly with her. She died at the age of 33.
The following is an excerpt from The Life of St. Catherine of Siena, which is available from The Fatima Center. It was written by her Spiritual Director, Blessed Raymond of Capua.
As soon as St. Catherine felt the hour of death approaching, perhaps not without an explicit revelation, she gathered around her the whole family that the Lord had given her who had accompanied her to Rome.
She delivered a long memorable speech to them, encouraging them to persevere in virtue, and touching on certain special points that I have found written down and signed by those present. I consider this a suitable place to mention these points.
Her first and fundamental principle was that people who wish to begin to serve God must rid their hearts of all that kind of love into which the senses enter, not only for people but for any kind of creature whatsoever, and that they must seek for God the Creator single-mindedly and wholeheartedly. The heart, she said, cannot be entirely given to God unless it is delivered from all other affections and is simple and open and free from double-mindedness.
She also said that from her childhood days her one aim had been to labor towards this end. She said, further, that she had realized that the soul cannot reach this perfect state, when it can give its heart to God completely, unless it prays; and she showed that prayer must necessarily be founded upon humility, and not derive from any belief in his own virtue on the part of the person praying, who, on the contrary, should always recognize that, of himself, he is nothing.
Make Prayer a Continual Habit
She went on to say that she had always done all she could to practice prayer and to make it a continual habit, as she had realized that it strengthened and increased the other virtues, whereas, without it, they weakened and withered away. And so she urged her auditors to persevere in prayer, which she said was of two kinds, vocal and mental, and she taught them that they should devote themselves to vocal prayer at certain fixed times, but should always be praying mentally, either actually or habitually.
She said again that in the light of faith she had seen quite clearly that everything that happened to herself and everyone else came from God, and not from hatred but from the great love that He has for His creatures. From this, she had conceived a love for God’s commandments and ministers and had learned to obey them promptly, firmly believing that their orders always came from God, either for her own salvation or for the sake of an increase of virtue in her soul.
Refrain from Judging Your Fellow-men
She added that, to acquire purity of mind, it was necessary for people to refrain from judging their fellow-men and from gossiping about what they do, and to have regard only for God’s will for them. This led her to say a great deal about not judging people — for any reason whatsoever — that is to say, not saying anything in contempt or condemnation of them, even though we were to see them committing sin with our very own eyes. If, again, we were to discover that someone had committed a fault we should have compassion on them, pray to God for them, and not treat them with scorn or contempt.
She said that she had always had great hope and trust in Divine Providence, and urged her listeners to do the same, saying that she had learned from experience that this Providence was great and unlimited. In this connection, she reminded them that when they had been with her, they had sometimes experienced this too, on occasions when the Lord had miraculously provided for their meals, and she added that this same Divine Providence never lets anyone down who trusts in it and that it would be with them always in a special way.
“Love Each Other”
These and other instructions the holy virgin gave her people, ending her discourse with the Savior’s own precept and exhorting them humbly but repeatedly to “love each other”. She said this to them again and again, in a voice that was itself sweet and loving: “Love each other, O my dearest children; love each other!”
If they truly loved each other, she said, they would show that they really had been her spiritual children, and had wanted to be; and she would remain in contact with them and do all she could to show them that she was still their mother. Furthermore, if they had loved each other they would be her glory and her crown, and she, accepting them forever as her children, would pray to the divine Goodness to infuse into their souls the abundance of graces that the Lord had infused into her own soul.
Pray for the Reform of our Vicar
and Holy Church
Besides this, she told all present, with an authority deriving from love, that they should always long and pray for the reform and good estate of God’s Holy Church and the Vicar of Christ. She told them that always, but especially during the previous seven years, she had carried such a wish in her heart and had never omitted, at least in those seven years, to pray to the divine Majesty and Goodness for this end. She confessed frankly that to obtain this grace she had had to suffer many pains and maladies, and that she was suffering the bitterest pains for that cause as she spoke.
Let us join our prayers and sacrifices with those of St. Catherine’s for the Holy Father and the Church. Jesus exhorts all of us, through Sister Lucy of Fatima, to “Pray a great deal for the Holy Father.”