29th April – St Catherine of Siena, patron of Europe

St Catherine of Siena (*1347 +1380) was celebrated today as a feast given that she is a patronCatherine_of_Siena-220x354 saint of Europe. She is recognised as a Doctor of the Church which means that she has made an exceptional contribution to the wisdom of the Church. What makes her extraordinary even among this category of saint is that all her knowledge was directly infused into her mind by God. She had little formal learning and yet she was a trusted advisor of the Pope and served as a peace envoy. If you wish to learn more about this fascinating saint, lookup the two following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Catherine_of_Siena

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03447a.htm

St Catherine is renowned for her meditation on the Passion of Christ. As an exercise in trying to understand the mind of Jesus when he said on the Cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34), prayerfully ponder the following Psalm 87/88.

This is your hour when darkness reigns (Luke 22:53).

Lord my God, I call for help by day; *
I cry at night before you.
Let my prayer come into your presence. *
O turn your ear to my cry.

For my soul is filled with evils; *
my life is on the brink of the grave.
I am reckoned as one in the tomb: *
I have reached the end of my strength,

like one alone among the dead; *
like the slain lying in their graves;
like those you remember no more, *
cut off, as they are, from your hand.

You have laid me in the depths of the tomb, *
in places that are dark, in the depths.
Your anger weighs down upon me: *
I am drowned beneath your waves.

You have taken away my friends *
and made me hateful in their sight.
Imprisoned, I cannot escape; *
my eyes are sunken with grief.

I call to you, Lord, all the day long; *
to you I stretch out my hands.
Will you work your wonders for the dead? *
Will the shades stand and praise you?

Will your love be told in the grave *
or your faithfulness among the dead?
Will your wonders be known in the dark *
or your justice in the land of oblivion?

As for me, Lord, I call to you for help: *
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Lord, why do you reject me? *
Why do you hide your face?

Wretched, close to death from my youth, *
I have borne your trials; I am numb.
Your fury has swept down upon me; *
your terrors have utterly destroyed me.

They surround me all the day like a flood, *
they assail me all together.
Friend and neighbour you have taken away: *
my one companion is darkness.

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