©Michele L. Catanese
Notes: * St. Ignatius of Loyola astutely characterized the devil as “the enemy of our human nature.” I have chosen to use this ‘description’ rather than a name or title, and so it is intentional that it is not capitalized. This is also because I always capitalize pronouns for Jesus so as to make it as clear as possible when I am referring to Him. Thus, I want to make a clear contrast between the one who is God and one who is against God.
Furthermore, the experience of St. Catherine reveals the same lesson which St. Ignatius taught in The Spiritual Exercises, written almost 200 years later. In discerning what comes from God, we look to see whether something moves us toward or away from Him. In the example quoted, Catherine was filled with pain in her struggle with temptations, wondering how she could be so close to Jesus, yet simultaneously be filled with sinful thoughts and desires. It did not seem (to her) that her heart was a fitting place for Jesus to reside when it was filled with such sinfulness. Jesus, however, helped her to see that she would not have felt so badly if not for His presence. He was where she needed Him most: in the midst of her heart. Therefore, she was able to see that it was His Spirit assisting her in resisting the temptations, enabling her to have the strength to choose to move against that which was urging her to take the path away from God.
** In the February 2019 edition of Magnificat the Meditation of the Day for the 10th was from the preaching of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. In it he recounted this exchange between St. Catherine of Siena and Jesus which took place during one of her mystical experiences.
If you would like more on St. Catherine, go to my Archives to an earlier entry called She Who is Not, dated April 29, 2013. (On the right side of this blog page find Archives and scroll way down to access it.)
The next post will be on April 22.
1. This is a photo I took while at the Green Sand Beach in Hawaii, mentioned in a recent post. The day we were there was Valentine's Day; seeing that cloud on that particular day added to my joy since it reminded me of God's great love. He is always near, in the center of our heart.
2. St. Catherine of Siena-Guardian of the Papacy, by Fr. William Hart McNichols: This icon wonderfully depicts St. Catherine holding the tiara worn by popes at the time, a sign of their power, her humility, and also her boldness in working to keep the pope in Rome where he belonged. (That is what she told him, by the way: that he belonged in Rome.) You can find this icon, and you can purchase a copy in one of many diverse mediums, at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-catherine-of-siena-guardian-of-the-papacy-288-william-hart-mcnichols.html
3. Jesus Returning the Cross to St. Catherine of Siena by Crescenzio Gambarelli (1602): This painting is in the Viae Siena (the Chapel of the Vaults) in San Domenico Cathedral, Siena, Italy. I chose it because it seems to symbolize the relationship of Jesus and St. Catherine as she experienced Him mystically. You can find more about this at http://www.viaesiena.it/en/caterina/itinerario/basilica-di-san-domenico/cappella-volte
4. I took this photo while on a sightseeing submarine off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii in the bay at Kailua-Kona. I chose this tropical fish, a large Tang which was swimming by, because it symbolizes the point I was making: deceptively, everything looked blue through the window of the sub, but in reality there are more colors that simply were not getting through to our eyes. It is truth, but distorted. That is exactly how the 'enemy' likes to operate!
5. Vincent van Gogh, The Road Menders (1889): This is a close-up of the actual road workers and so it is only a section of the painting. I chose it because it shows men working on different parts of the same project, each doing something that may not be most essential in and of itself, but as a team their efforts are getting the road built efficiently. Their job may be considered lowly, and yet, without them there is no road, no easy travel, no movement.
6. Behind Every Great Man by Kevin "WAK" Williams: I chose this because it depicts prayer beautifully. It shows the strength which comes through our petition to God for whatever we need. The man, presumably a husband and father, is protecting his family from the falling beam, and the wife is protecting him as he labors. Together, they labor for protection and peace; both are 'moving mountains.' For more on this beautiful and moving work, as well as some information on the artist, go to https://www.blackartdepot.com/products/behind-every-great-man-by-kevin-wak-williams
7. Divine Mercy, painted by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, (1934): This is the original painting of Jesus as seen in the visions of St. Faustina Kowalska and commissioned by her religious order. It is often referred to by the words of the prayer Jesus taught St. Faustina: "Jesus, I Trust In You." For more, go to https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/the-original-image-of-divine-mercy-its-not-where-you-might-think-70393
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