St Catherine of Siena

Virgin (entered heaven this day in 1380)

Dear Cathy,

Stop it!  You are causing yourself unnecessary grief.   Your vocation, whatever it is, is not God’s way of torturing you; it is a gift of his love.  The process of discovering it ought to be joyful, like a courtship. If it isn’t, then it’s probably because you are afraid of what your Divine Lover has in store for you, which is just plain dumb.  Don’t you remember how your namesake (happy Saint’s Day, by the way) stumbled across her vocation? She was only six-years-old when our Lord appeared to her in a vision (she was walking down the street with one of her 24 siblings – did you know she was the youngest of 25 kids?), smiled at her, and reached out his hand in a blessing.  When her brother interrupted her trance, she burst into tears at having to leave such beauty behind. From then on, her heart was for Christ alone. How she loved him! Throughout her childhood, her family opposed this special vocation by giving her more than her share of chores (and the worst ones) and not allowing her any of the quiet solitude that she deeply longed for, so as to spend time in prayer with her Beloved.  But in the midst of this wave of petty persecution, she built a chamber in her soul where she could always speak with Christ, no matter what occupations she had to engage in. As she grew up, her parents began to try and marry her off, but having experienced the special love of the Lord, she would have none of it. She even chopped off her long, beautiful brown hair (her best feature) to foil the matchmakers. Finally, her parents relented, and she was allowed to live an almost monastic life in her own home.  For seven years she dedicated herself to prayer and sacrifice and suffered violent and humiliating temptations. Our Lord comforted her and strengthened her, and at the end of this trial, he appeared to her in his heavenly splendor, with the Blessed Virgin Mary at his side. Mary took Catherine’s hand and gave it to our Lord, who placed a wedding ring on her finger, visible to Catherine for the rest of her life… Forgive me for rambling. The point is, God creates each of us to love and serve him in a personal, unique way.  He knows you better than you know yourself, and he loves you more than even your own mother does. Do not be afraid of his will, my dear niece, for it is custom made. If you follow it with love and confidence, it will fill your life with indescribable meaning, and you, like St Catherine, will be a blessing for countless souls.

More later, Uncle Eddy


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