Apprehensive about rain this morning; it hasn't happened but there remains a good amount of cloud. Today is the feast of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Europe, (Introibo, CE, Wiki) although it was yesterday in the Pauline Rite (I believe [yes, as Father Zuhlsdorf confirms], or else it is tomorrow: one day off in any case).
Cardinal Schuster's essay for today begins:
The very name of this saint brings with it a breath of innocence and purity. A second Deborah of the New Testament, she is honoured by the Church as a prophetess, as the restorer of the Papal See at Rome, the mouthpiece of Popes and princes, the mediator of peace between warring factions, the inspired guide to many souls on the highest paths of sanctity, she who was a wonder of mortification and a victim of divine love, whose flame consumed her short life and ended it in 1380 at Rome, before her time, in the flower of her youth. Pius II, in the Bull announcing the canonization of this saint, ordered that her feast should be held on the first Sunday in May, but Clement VIII transferred it to this day.
The Dominican Order, which, yesterday, presented a rose to our Risen Jesus, now offers him a lily of surpassing beauty. Catharine of Sienna follows Peter the Martyr: it is a coincidence willed by Providence, to give fresh beauty to this season of grandest Mysteries. Our Divine King deserves everything we can offer him; and our hearts are never so eager to give him every possible tribute of homage, as during these last days of his sojourn among us. See how Nature is all flower and fragrance at this loveliest of her Seasons! The spiritual world harmonises with the visible, and now yields her noblest and richest works in honour of her Lord, the author of Grace.
How grand is the Saint, whose Feast comes gladdening us today! She is one of the most favoured of the holy Spouses of the Incarnate Word. She was his, wholly and unreservedly, almost from her very childhood. Though thus consecrated to him by the vow of holy Virginity, she had a mission given to her by divine Providence which required her living in the world. But God would have her to be one of the glories of the Religious State; he therefore inspired her to join the Third Order of St. Dominic. Accordingly, she wore the Habit and fervently practised, during her whole life, the holy exercises of a Tertiary.
From the very commencement, there was a something heavenly about this admirable servant of God, which we fancy existing in an angel who had been sent from heaven to live in a human body. Her longing after God gave one an idea of the vehemence wherewith the Blessed embrace the Sovereign Good on their first entrance into heaven. In vain did the body threaten to impede the soaring of this earthly Seraph; she subdued it by penance, and made it obedient to the spirit. Her body seemed to be transformed, so as to have no life of its own, but only that of the soul. The Blessed Sacrament was frequently the only food she took for weeks together. So complete was her union with Christ, that she received the impress of the sacred Stigmata, and, with them, the most excruciating pain.
And yet, in the midst of all these supernatural favours, Catharine felt the keenest interest in the necessities of others. Her zeal for their spiritual advantage was intense, whilst her compassion for them, in their corporal sufferings, was that of a most loving mother. God had given her the gift of Miracles, and she was lavish in using it for the benefit of her fellow-creatures. Sickness, and death itself, were obedient to her command; and the prodigies witnessed at the beginning of the Church were again wrought by the humble Saint of Sienna.
'Sickness and death itself were obedient to her command, and the prodigies witnessed at the beginning of the Church were again wrought by the humble saint of Siena.' Amen, alleluia.
Post Sextam. Am listening to an album newly released featuring Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber's Harmonia Artificioso-ariosa performed by Les Passions de l'Ame of Bern. I couldn't tell what the cover art was meant to represent until I saw a sentence of the publicity text etc likening Biber's work to the spectacle of a pinball shooting between... whatever those metal devices a pinball shoots against are called. And it is indeed a spectacular work.
It is also the feast of Saint Pius V (16th century), of Saint Sabina (12th century), and of Saint Pomponius (7th century).
Am only this morning realising that the santibeati.it site that I use to supply these names and feasts is screwy somehow. They sent the daily email, for the 30th, last evening my time... they must notify the feasts the day before, as the Martyrology does. I wonder that I haven't noticed this before now, however. But Pius V's feast day is the Kalends in the Traditional Rite, and on the 5th in the 1960 'Extraordinary Form' Calendar. It would never have occurred to me that santibeati.it uses the pre-1960 feast days. Hmm. Perhaps it's my head being uncooperative and nothing to do with santibeati.it-- always a good chance of that, particularly early in the day.
V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.