Today is the death-day of St. Catherine (1380). She was 33. She practiced an extreme asceticism, beginning when she was 7, and joined the Dominicans as an anchorite, living in a hermitage, when she was 16. She is remembered both for her mystical experiences and her practical diplomacy between popes, kings and individuals alike. She wrote extensively and we still have her Treatise on Divine Providence, which is considered the mystical counterpart to Dante’s Divine Comedy; a collection of 400 letters; and her prayers. You can read more about her here.
Here is part of one of her most famous prayers:
“O unfathomable depth, o deity eternal, o deep ocean, what more could you give me than to give me yourself? You are an ever-burning fire. You consume and are not consumed. By your fire, you consume every trace of self-love in the soul. You are a fire which drives away all coldness and illumines minds with its light, and with this light you have made known your truth. Truly this light is a sea which feeds the soul until it is all immersed in you, o peaceful sea, eternal Trinity! The water of this sea is never turbid. It never causes fear, but gives knowledge of the truth. This water is transparent and discloses hidden things. And a living faith gives such abundance of light that the soul almost attains to certitude in what it believes.”
St. Catherine was a peace-maker. Peace is both an outward fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23) and an inward longing that demonstrates God’s presence to us. Let’s do peace in our haikus and images today.
See Prayer Light.