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Today we have something a little different on this Feast Day for St Catherine of Siena. The reading is taken from her Dialogue on Divine Providence
Dialogue on Divine Providence, Catherine of Siena
Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.
I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your creation, for you have enlightened me.
Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognise that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.
You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!
Catherine was born in the year 1347, 23rd of 25 children! Despite opposition from her parents, she wanted to lead a life of prayer and penance. At 16 she joined the Dominican order as a tertiary (a lay volunteer). Then she received a calling to leave her solitude to care for the poor. She was a great correspondent, but had to dictate everything as she never learnt to write.
One of the invitations to Holy Communion is ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’. In the Dialogue from St Catherine, she revels in the fact that she has tasted and seen the depth of God’s mystery and creation. But the more she finds, the more she wants to discover. It is a truly ecstatic and inspiring dialogue. Have a read again and really savour it!
As we heard from the Revd Mike Clarke at St Mary’s last Sunday, becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that you then know everything. It is more that you discover you know nothing, but learn that there is so much to find and so much to be thankful for.
And so we pray the Collect:
God of compassion,
who gave your servant Catherine of Siena
a wondrous love of the passion of Christ:
grant that your people may be united to him in his majesty
and rejoice for ever in the revelation of his glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen