Monday, May 23, 2016

A prayer to the Trinity (St Catherine of Siena)

Born in 1347, the 24th child of a wool dyer in northern Italy, Catherine was very sensitive to spiritual realities from childhood. She became a Dominican tertiary when she was sixteen. She was a mystic, a visionary, and is also considered one of the most brilliant theological minds of her day, although she had no formal education. 

At a very difficult time in the Church’s history, Catherine persuaded the Pope to go back to Rome from Avignon, in 1377, and when she died she was endeavoring to heal the Great Western Schism. In 1375 she received the Stigmata, which was visible only after her death. Catherine’s spiritual director was Raymond of Capua. She is famous for her letters, and the treatise known as the “dialogue.” 

Catherine died in 1380 when she was only 33, and her body was found incorrupt in 1430. Her tomb is under the altar in the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, in Rome.

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!


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