Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 3 April

detail of the oil on canvas painting 'Saint Catherine of Siena', 17th century by Baldassare Franceschini; Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich, London, England; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsThe Stigmata of Saint Catherine of Siena

It was on the 18th of August, 1370, in the Church of Saint Christina at Pisa that Saint Catherine of Siena, who was already conformed to her Divine Spouse Jesus by an exchange of hearts and endowed with a ring as a pledge that he deigned to make her His spouse by faith – received also in her body the marks of His sacred wounds. Her first thought, amidst the inconceivable sufferings which they caused her, was to say: “Lord, grant at least that the wounds may not be visible.” Behold the humility of the saints and the best proof that their extraordinary favors come from God. During several weeks it seemed as if Catherine was about to die. But God spared her at the prayers of her disciples and from that time, the wounds, luminous but not bleeding, far from rendering her more feeble, became a source of strength and vigor. After such a favor one can understand how in her letters and dialogues, her language is so exalted, so theologically correct and so touching when she speaks of the “Lamb slain,” of Jesus crucified and of the virtue and beauty of His precious blood, in which her pen seems steeped. The reality of the stigmata was at first disputed, but Benedict XIV defended it and the Holy See has authorized its feast.

Prayer

Holy Spouse of Jesus, obtain for me that I may prefer the lowest degree of humility to the most sublime favors.

Practice

Suffer in peace and under the eyes of Jesus all bodily pains; do not speak of them except from duty, instead of talking of them in self-complacency and murmuring.