Journey into the Heart of God with Saint Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine of Siena was a fourth century mystic, activist, and author, who had a great influence on Italian literature and is one of the first women to be named a Doctor of the Catholic church. She is famous for saying “If you are who you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.”

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Can you imagine a better guide to help us cultivate a deeper life of spirituality?

As an exercise in contemplative prayer, place your hand on your heart and try slowly reading these poems she wrote one at a time, taking deep breaths after each line and allowing her words to open your heart and soul to the possibility of a deeper encounter with the living God, who she experienced so tangibly in her own life.

If you find yourself drifting deeper into the silence of prayer, allow it! The words are not the end goal. They are meant to help you in your own personal journey into the mystery of God. I wrote a prayer after each poem that may help too. If you’re struggling to keep your mind focused during prayer, try journalling. It can be hard to get still inside – sometimes it helps to use our hands! You can learn more about the art of contemplative prayer here if you’re not already familiar!

Eternal Trinity

by Saint Catherine of Siena

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.

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.

 

Lord, help us to realize the gift that you are on a deeper level! Give us the grace to embrace the mystery of Your eternal presence in every aspect of our lives. Help us to value Your Divine Love above and beyond all temporary things. Fill us with the warmth of the Light that You are. Help us to be shaped by the fire of Your love that St. Catherine of Sienna describes so beautifully. Fill us with the understanding, wisdom we need to bring more of Your infinite glory into the world.

When I prayerfully reflect on this poem, I find myself wanting to be filled with the fire of God’s love that Saint Catherine speaks so eloquently of. I find myself humbly acknowledging how much I don’t know about the mystery of faith and praying to be filled with more wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment. I find my heart opening in awe and wonder to who God is and what is possible through authentic spiritual practice. I find myself wanting to embody the beauty and wisdom of God in my own thoughts and actions to bring more of Christ’s Light into the world.

What thoughts and desires do you have, while prayerfully reflecting on this poem? How did this poem help turn your thoughts to God and open your heart to a deeper personal encounter in prayer? What struggles did you have in prayer Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my prayers or answer any questions that I can! 

Here’s another poem by Saint Catherine of Sienna to prayerfully reflect on:

The Sanctuary

by Saint Catherine of Siena

It could be said that God’s foot is so vast

That this entire earth is but a

field on His

toe,

and all the forests in this world

came from the same root of just

a single hair

of His.

What then is not a sanctuary?

Where can I not kneel

and pray at a shrine

made holy by His

presence?

 

Lord open our hearts into the vast expanse of who You are. Help us to see all of our life experiences (no matter mundane they seem on a surface level) as opportunities to unite with Your perfect eternal love, which is far more beautiful than we can even imagine. Give us the grace to realize Your presence with us always, so we can transform our lives into living prayers. 

When I prayerfully reflect on this poem, my heart and mind open in awe and wonder at the vast expanse of who God is, beyond what I can possibly imagine. I feel comforted realizing that even when I am too busy to pray in a formal way, I can turn my life into a living prayer because truly Christ is present in everything I do and everywhere I go. I am challenged to acknowledge the Divine Reality in every moment and to live a life of ever-deepening spirituality.

What thoughts and desires do you have, while prayerfully reflecting on this poem? How did this poem help turn your thoughts to God and open your heart to a deeper personal encounter in prayer? What struggles did you have in prayer Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my prayers or answer any questions that I can! 

Saint Catherine, thank you for leaving so many beautiful poems as inspiration for us on our spiritual journeys. Please pray for us from heaven! Pray we can have the grace to “set the world on fire” with our deep faith and love of God like you did. Pray we can have the grace of perseverance on our spiritual journeys to truly live the life God is calling us to. In Jesus name, we pray. 

The Sanctuary by Saint Catherine of Siena

 

 

Source: Saint Catherine of Siena Poetry Selections from www.poetsseers.org

 

The rest of the article is written by Nicky Gant for www.uniteinprayer.org 6/23/2019

 

 

 

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