SCS8 – Perfect Love and Perfect Union – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P. – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Perfect Love and Perfect Union – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

Fr. Thomas McDermott - Prayer and the Dominican Tradition 1

Fr. Thomas McDermott and Kris McGregor explore St. Catherine’s view on the stages of spiritual development, which culminate in perfect union with God. They discuss how her teaching departs from traditional paradigms, emphasizing the importance of spiritual growth and love of God and neighbor; especially St. Catherine’s imagery of the Christ Bridge, where the soul experiences intimacy and peace with God.

Fr. McDermott explains Catherine’s emphasis on suffering and the importance of God’s honor and the salvation of souls. They also discuss the concept of perfect union with God, acknowledging that true union can only be fully realized in heaven.

Throughout the discussion, they tell listeners of St. Catherine’s humility and her warning against intellectual pride, emphasizing the transformative power of love and correct knowledge of God. Fr. McDermott highlights Catherine’s belief in the transformative nature of grace and the importance of virtues in becoming Christ-like. He expresses optimism about a renewed interest in Catherine’s teachings, facilitated by recent translations of her works.

Fr. Thomas McDermott - Prayer and the Dominican Tradition 2

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Stages of Spiritual Development: How does St. Catherine’s understanding of the stages of spiritual development differ from traditional paradigms?
  2. The Christ Bridge: What significance does Catherine attribute to the imagery of the Christ Bridge, particularly in terms of spiritual intimacy and peace?
  3. Embracing Suffering: Reflect on the concept of embracing suffering as discussed by Fr. McDermott. How does this align with Catherine’s teachings, and how might it challenge contemporary attitudes towards suffering?
  4. Perfect Union with God: Fr. McDermott explains the idea of perfect union with God as presented by Catherine. How does this understanding relate to our earthly experiences and our ultimate destiny in heaven?
  5. Humility and Intellectual Pursuit: Consider Catherine’s emphasis on humility and her warning against intellectual pride. How can we cultivate humility in our pursuit of knowledge and spiritual growth?
  6. Transformative Power of Love: Reflect on the notion that love transforms us into what we love. How does this principle manifest in our relationship with God and others?
  7. Relevance to the Church: Fr. McDermott highlights Catherine’s love for the Church. How can her teachings inspire a deeper appreciation for the Church’s role in our spiritual journey?
  8. Renewed Interest in Catherine’s Teachings: In light of recent translations of Catherine’s works, how might her teachings find new relevance and resonance in contemporary Catholic and Protestant communities?

This series is based on ‘Catherine of Siena’ by Fr. Thomas McDermott

For the entire Discerning Hearts series “The Life and Teachings of St. Catherine of Siena” visit here

Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP is Regent of Studies for the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great and is the author of “Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching” (Paulist, 2008) and “Filled with all the Fullness of God: An Introduction to Catholic Spirituality”. He obtained a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Angelicum and taught for several years at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He crrently serves as pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer, in Chicago, IL.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.