ST CATHERINE OF SIENA
(1347 – 1380)
Open the eye of your understanding and look at my hand, and you will see that what I have told you is true.
So in obedience to the most high Father, she raised her eyes, and she saw within his closed hand the entire world. And God said:
My daughter, see now and know that no one can be taken away from me…. They are mine; I created them, and I love them ineffably. And so, in spite of their wickedness, I will be merciful to them because of my servants, and I will grant what you have asked of me with such love and sorrow.
Then the soul stood before God as if intoxicated and, unable to restrain herself, she said:
O eternal Mercy, you who cover over your creatures’ faults! It does not surprise me that you say of those who leave deadly sin behind and return to you: “I will not remember that you had ever offended me.” O unspeakable Mercy! I am not surprised that you speak so to those who forsake sin, when you say of those who persecute you: “I want you to pray to me for them so that I can be merciful to them.” What mercy comes forth from your Godhead, eternal Father, to rule the whole world with your power!
By your mercy we were created. And by your mercy we were created anew in your Son’s blood. It is your mercy that preserves us. Your mercy made your Son play death against life and life against death on the wood of the cross. In him life confounded the death that is our sin, even while that same death of sin robbed the spotless Lamb of his bodily life. But who was conquered? Death! And how? By your mercy!
Your mercy is life-giving. It is the light in which both the upright and sinners discover your goodness. Your mercy shines forth in your saints in the height of heaven. And if I turn to this earth, your mercy is everywhere….
O mad lover! It was not enough for you to take on our humanity: You had to die as well! Nor was death enough: You descended to the depths to summon our ancestors and fulfil your truth and mercy in them. Your goodness promises good to those who serve you in truth, so you went to call these servants of yours from their suffering to reward them for their labours!
I see your mercy pressing you to give us even more when you leave yourself with us as food to strengthen our weakness, so that we foolish forgetful creatures should be forever reminded of your goodness. Every day you give us this food, showing us yourself in the sacrament of the altar within the mystic body of holy Church. And what has done this? Your mercy.
O Mercy! My heart is engulfed in the thought of you! For wherever I turn my thoughts I find nothing but mercy..