April 28, 2020frjohnma

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Siena.

Rev. Fr. John-Mary Benedict Ntol Atep

St. Catherine of Siena, a laywoman, a mystic and a Doctor of the Church was blessed with extraordinary experiences. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels and saints appeared to her from the time she was six. She assisted the Church in many ways especially the papacy. She was instrumental to the return of the Pope from Avignon, France to Rome during the great schism in the West. God the Father spoke to her as a dear friend, God the Son gave her His stigmata and God the Holy Spirit communicated with her in a mystical way. Indeed she is another great teacher in the school of the Holy Spirit.

St. Catherine teaches that we should build a cell inside our minds, from which we can never flee. In her own inner cell, her father was made as the representation of Christ, her mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her brothers the apostles. She was able to establish her inner cell for God by praying to the Holy Spirit to come into her heart. Scripture says the Spirit of God prays in us and like St. Catherine we need to call on the Holy Spirit to take charge of our hearts and pray in and through us (Rom. 8:26-27)

St. Catherine of Siena had many ecstatic visions in which she communicated with the Trinity, and she made four requests to God the Father for herself, for the Church, for the world, and for assurance of His divine providence to provide for all things. The responses came from God in four treatises of over two hundred pages on divine providence, discretion, prayer, and obedience that became her spiritual legacies – The Dialogue of Divine Providence.

As a great Catholic mind, St. Catherine of Siena was powerfully endowed with the Holy Spirit and she manifested the Holy Spirit in her life through her gift of mysticism. Mysticism is a singular and special way of life in the very heart of the Church that St. Catherine through the Holy Spirit and her personal holiness gave to the Church.

Mysticism is perfectly uniting with and to God by grace in vision and love. It is a height of love for God. It is a chief means to attain our ultimate goal in the spiritual life – union with God. However, modern Christians are scared or ashamed or embarrassed by the mentioning of mysticism. For some they liken mysticism to witchcraft and for some it is so strange field that should be dreaded. While we enjoy more tangible blessings, more freedom and more opportunities to attain union with God, we must watch against the current moral murkiness, relativism and minimalism that are besieging us and embrace the unconditional love that St. Catherine had for God and the mystical life.

Action plan

  1. Differentiate between mysticism and witchcraft
  2. We are called to be saints and many, if not all saints are mystics. Pray to the Holy Spirit for His gift of mysticism and the mystical way of life.

Prayer to the Holy Ghost by Saint Catherine of Siena

Holy Spirit, come into my heart; draw it to Thee by Thy power, O my God, and grant me charity with filial fear. Preserve me, O ineffable Love, from every evil thought; warm me, inflame me with Thy dear love, and every pain will seem light to me. My Father, my sweet Lord, help me in all my actions. Jesus, love, Jesus, love. Amen.


Comments (11)

  • Francis-Mary

    April 29, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful synthesis of the live of St Catherine of Siena. May St Catherine of Siena intercedes for us to God in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Amen🙏

    1. frjohnma

      April 29, 2020 at 10:18 am

      Thanks you so much and for your reflection on her life at Mass

  • Louis Mathias

    April 29, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Amen 🙏. Fr, thanks so much this inspiring work on St. Catherine of Siena. May She continue to intercede for us to have balanced spiritual life for the greater of God through Christ Our Lord Amen

    1. frjohnma

      April 29, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks, Amen and Amen

  • Celina Adegun

    April 29, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Beautiful reflection and reminder of the relevance of St Catherine in our world today.
    God bless you Fr John Mary for the good job.

    1. frjohnma

      April 29, 2020 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Sr. I recall your great works on St. Catherine in our Spirituality classes. You are the St. Catherine of Lagos.

  • Pauline Otu

    April 29, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Amen . Thank you Father, may St Catherine of Siena continue to pray for us especially now amen

    1. frjohnma

      April 29, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks immensely for your tremendous deeds and prayers.

  • Juliana-Mary Ukeje

    April 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    I love her idea of building a cell inside our minds, which I believe greatly enhanced her enviable & privileged relationships with the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, especially the Holy Spirit. I believe that even this her gift of Mysticism has something to do with this uncommon idea of cell in her great mind, as well as her deep craving for union with God. However like you rightly stated, in our world today, most of us seek only the very minimum when it comes to spiritual ventures while we find it easy to pursue worldly pleasures at the highest level and at any cost.
    It is also very clear Father that from your reflections on the School of the Holy Spirit so far, being closely related to the Holy Spirit is key to making great spiritual progress; just see the beautiful prayer she composed to the Holy Spirit: “…Preserve me, O ineffable Love, from every evil thought; warm me, inflame me with Thy dear love, and every pain will seem light to me…”! I remember you recently shared that of St. Augustine’s too.
    May her prayers on this her very special day in heaven obtain for us from God, at least the desire for holiness through closer relationship with the Holy Spirit.
    Thank you Father for providing another session of enlightenment in His school

  • Eby

    April 29, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks very much my Fr for the reflection. St. Catherine of Sienna, pray for us.

  • AndyMarie

    April 29, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks Padre for this wonder reflection on St Catherine of Siena and how it affects us in our contemporary day. May we always learn to invite the Holy Spirit into our inner recess. Amen

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