29 Apr 2015
Memorial of St. Catherine of Siena
[Scripture Readings: Acts 12:24-13:5a; Ps 67:2-3,5-6,8; John 12:44-50]
Everybody has an opinion on how the Church should be run. “The Church needs to loosen up.” “The Church needs to be clearer and straight-forward, like it used to be.” “Our worship needs to be more exciting.” “Our worship needs to be more reverent.” Everybody has an opinion on how the Church should be run.
On this memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, it’s helpful to remember that there were many who thought she should’ve kept her opinions to herself. She’s known as a “reformer of popes,” “reformer of the clergy,” and in her day as an out-of-turn schismatic, causing more trouble in an already troubled Church.
As in the 14th Century, we also suffer from an overabundance of opinions: little gods overrunning the internet and every other form of communication with their own “gospels” of “how it ought to be.” Even within the Church it happens.
And then we have Jesus. He simply speaks to us what the Father has spoken. They’re united by the bond of the Holy Spirit; the same Holy Spirit which bound St. Catherine of Siena to the Word of God. Through a life of sincere prayer and fasting, St. Catherine became a clear and passionate voice of God in the world of her time. Her words weren’t mere opinion.
When she chewed out those popes and bishops who needed it, they didn’t hear the opinion of St. Catherine—they heard the voice of God, the voice of truth. And they heard it because St. Catherine spoke from a heart and mind disciplined by a life of prayer and fasting, just like those prophets and teachers in the Church at Antioch. They worshipped the Lord with prayer and fasting. And so, the Holy Spirit spoke through them. God’s wisdom was more important than their own.