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Catherine: Saint and Doctor

I’ve met her before, but I recently began to dig into St. Catherine of Siena’s writings. Sr. Mary Madeline Todd, OP inspired my pondering and writing about this saint and now St. Catherine is leading me to a deeper relationship with my love, Jesus.

The words, the inspirations of love, and the fire that God placed in her to spread throughout the world speaks directly to my heart.  I am learning about how to find an interior silence and space in my prayer to uncover my deepest vices and to become purified from them.

We must enter what she calls “the cell of self-knowledge” to know what God desires for us and how to align ourselves with His will.

The cell of self-knowledge is not obsessing over ourselves and picking ourselves apart in a way that leads to discouragement. Nor is it an exterior silence that is simply just turning off our devices and distractions. It is the place in our prayer where we meet God in all humility and where we come to know the truth about who we are and who God is.

It is not just knowing ourselves or just knowing God; it is knowing ourselves in God.

In The Dialogue, one of her most widely read writings, we find word-by-word discourse between her and the Lord where He uses analogies to explain to her the mystery of when sin entered the world and the beautiful restoration of that destruction. Jesus came and took this burden upon Himself so that our lives may be eternal, and the Lord speaks of Jesus as the Bridge that we land safely on to make our way to our Heavenly home.

The currents below the bridge represent the world and its great strength to suck us in lower and lower with its evil, its temptations and its discouragement.

To battle the currents of the world, we must strip ourselves of our vices. St. Catherine of Siena speaks of 4: pride, sensual selfishness, impatience, and lack of discernment.

Entering the cell of self-knowledge is where we discover these vices within ourselves. Through our friendship with Jesus, the help of the sacraments, and our own trust in God, we can be granted to grace to grow in holiness and detach from these sins.

I want to share more of St. Catherine’s wisdom with you in the coming year.  Stay tuned!

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Kristi Bentley

Kristi is a wife and homeschooling mom of 5 (3 boys, 2 girls) who loves to read to her kids, dance in the kitchen, craves silence and enjoys all the books about mystics & the interior life, and has an addiction to Tate’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

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