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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

St Catherine of Sienna

"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common." Acts 4:32

The Gospels are clear when they remind us of Jesus' goal for his people. Jesus wants us to be one in the Spirit, and promises us that our unity will be the sign that the Spirit lives in us. "And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me." (Jn 17: 22-23)

Unfortunately, too often the church does not live or fulfill Jesus' prayer, and it takes people like St Catherine of Siena to remind Popes and princes of Jesus' desire. Traveling tirelessly between Avignon, Florence and Rome, Catherine is credited with getting Pope Gregory IX to return the papacy to Rome from Avignon where it had moved for largely political purposes.

History also highlights Catherine's legacy as a mediator and as a mystical writer whose message, especially in her Dialogue, was so sophisticated and nuanced that Pope Paul VI would name her a doctor of the church. When we focus on the goal of Jesus to be at one with all creation, and let go of our own agenda, we can, like St Catherine of Siena, have enormous influence for good in the world.

Today, try not to win an argument but to be at one with whomever is speaking.

Whose willingness to sacrifice their own agenda for the sake of unity between and among believers do you most admire?

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