Jesus in your heart! Eternity in your mind! The will of God in all your actions! But above all, love, God’s love, entire love!
– St. Catherine of Genoa
St. Catherine of Genoa’s life is one that testified to the power that regular confessions and frequent Communion can have in helping us see the direction (or drift) of our life with God. Isn’t it interesting that people who have a realistic sense of their own sinfulness and of the greatness of God are often the ones who are most ready to meet the needs of their neighbors. Catherine’s life testifies to that as well. She’s best known for her “Treatise on Purgatory” . She gave tirelessly to the needs of the poor and sick. Beautiful, married young to…well, should we be charitable and say…”an unpleasant fellow ” (Ok, he was a jerk) at 16. During the course of ten years within the marriage, Catherine began to slowly slide into worldliness, not necessarily a sinful life, but not the one of holiness she had desired before her marriage. And then it happened, Catherine experienced a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit in a dramatic life-changing mystical moment at the age of 26. Again you can read more about in “Treatise on Purgatory“. Her life of prayer and service to the poor and needy would effect her husband as well; his conversion is a strong testament to the fruits of her relationship with God. She reminds me a little of Mother Teresa, in that her deep, deep prayer led her to serve Him in those around her.
“Since I began to love, love has never forsaken me. It has ever grown to its own fullness within my innermost heart.” – St. Catherine of Genoa. And it’s true…God is love, expand and make more room for Him and He will fill the space.
From Approved Apparitions:
“Catherine lived in holy obedience to God as He guided her to do His Will as He spoke to her interior,
“My daughter, observe these three rules, namely: never say I will or I will not. Never say mine, but always ours. Never excuse yourself, but always accuse yourself. When you repeat the `Our Father’ take always for your maxim, Fiat voluntas tua, that is, may his will be done in everything that may happen to you, whether good or ill; from the `Hail Mary’ take the word Jesus, and may it be implanted in your heart, and it will be a sweet guide and shield to you in all the necessities of life. And from the rest of Scripture take always for your support this word, Love, with which you will go on your way, direct, pure, light, watchful, quick, enlightened, without erring, yet without a guide or help from any creature; for love needs no support, being sufficient to do all things without fear; neither does love ever become weary, for even martyrdom is sweet to it. And, finally, this love will consume all the inclinations of the soul, and the desires of the body, for the things of this life.”
Though Catherine lived a life of austere penance she did so for she understood how deadly is sin to the soul as a child of God can quickly turn to become a child of the Devil, if they choose to willfully disobey God through their actions. As Catherine explained, “If it were possible for me to suffer as much as all the martyrs have suffered, and even hell itself, for the love of God, and in order to make satisfaction to him, it would be after all only a sort of injury to God, in comparison with the love and goodness with which he has created, and redeemed, and, in a special manner, called me. For man, unassisted by God’s grace, is even worse than the devil, because the devil is a spirit without a body, while man, without the grace of God, is a devil incarnate. Man has a free will, which, according to the ordination of God, is in nowise bound, so that he can do all the evil that he wills; to the devil, this is impossible, since he can act only by the divine permission; and when man surrenders to him his evil will, the devil employs it, as the instrument of his temptation.”