Vocation Sunday and St. Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine dictating 'The Dialogue'

This morning I realized two things: (a) if I do not feed the blog something soon it will wither away into nothingness and (b) that I am definitely moving a lot in Dominican circles and am becoming ‘Dominican’- not that this is a bad thing! I find myself drawn more and more to some of their particular saints. Yes, I know, saints are for the whole world but one in particular has been cropping up time and time again: St. Catherine of Siena!  I got her as my patroness at the beginning of last year, not once but twice! Both on our little prayers cards which are distributed to us by our superior and then on one of these internet site which randomly give you a patroness. Guess who I got! I also carry her name as my baptismal name- Cathriona, after my Nana Cathleen and my Granny Kathleen (the later whom I sadly never met).

This year, the feast of St. Catherine falls on Vocations Sunday. Unfortunately for St. Catherine, her liturgical memorial is engulfed by the Sunday liturgy which takes priority over the feast though I am sure that the Doms will transfer it to Monday, as will I (for the Office of Readings at least!).

However, it couldn’t be anymore fitting that some of her thoughts be looked at within the context of vocation. Each and every one of us is called to a particular vocation in life: “If you will be what you should be, you will set the world afire. Don’t be content with the small things: he, the Lord God, wants them great” (St. Catherine). Talk about a straight talking invite to follow the Lord. No ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’, no half measures! Don’t be contented with a mediocre life when God is holding out his hand to you to follow him in love and for love.
“The heart is always drawn by love”  (Dialogue 26). Love transforms everything. Christ lives in the measure which we are transformed each day. Just like the tomb of Jesus is empty, nothing remains in death’s prison. Our existence is a manifestation of his love for us, won by the Cross. Yet, the world today tries to show us that we don’t need God, that we can have societies and families without him. Little by little we push him aside, we become disconnected from God. We will never find our real vocation in life if we do not immerse ourselves in Him first. Thinking that we know what is best for us, we put our trust in ourselves, rather than putting our trust in God that made us. We draw away from God instead of moving closer.It can be our nature to complicate things and situations because we look for human perfection rather than spiritual perfection. Our eyes see the things of the world and we automatically get caught up in the things of the world.

It's funny how we can be so disciplined in our secular actions, we shop for healthy foods, we exercise our bodies, we groom our appearances. But, when it comes to the things of the spirit, the things of God, we have a tendency to be like a small boat on a windy sea, we allow our emotions and feelings to toss us around to the point of exhaustion. Jesus wants us to set the world on fire with the love of his Holy Spirit. He wants our every action and reaction to reflect the love God has for us. “Set the world on fire” ….this is not a static invitation but one of action!
St Catherine reminds us: “Love does not stay idle” (Letter T82) and again that “hope comes from love, because people always trust in those they love.”(Letter T352). When I look at my vocation, I see that I have the grace to belong to a natural family and this gives me my personal identity. I also belong to a religious family and this gives me a charismatic identity where my interior life also communicates a mission, at least, that is my hope. I continue to discover that, arriving at Perpetual Profession does not mean that the suffering and the fatigue of the journey will be taken away, more so, that it is united to Christ in a fuller manner and I trust more implicitly in God. I also realise more and more that each of our callings is different from another. Sometimes there is a calling within a calling but every calling is unique in the eyes of God the Father that made us. And why did God make us?  God made us to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in heaven. It is a continuous journey so happy travelling towards finding the unique plan which He has for you. Happy Vocations’ Sunday!