Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. St. Catherine of Siena
As a contemplative, I pray to discern.
I linger longer at the heart of Love to hear His call, His longing for me.
A life of listening prayerfulness is about listening to God more than listening to myself.
I listen to hear His heart for my heart. I listen to hear His heart for another. I listen for family’s hearts and for friends’ hearts and for my spiritual directees’ hearts.
Sometimes I want to stay only in contemplative mode. That can be a choice made from insecurity, anxiety or fear. I want to be sure. I want to be clear. I don’t want to be stretched or rearranged into the unknown.
A comfort zone is comfortable, isn’t it? God doesn’t call me to be comfortable. He calls me to step into love’s action.
Contemplation in action requests more of me.
Thinking on the seemingly disparate differences between contemplation and action led me again to St. Catherine of Siena. She wasn’t a familiar name until I visited Siena, Italy when my daughter, an art major, studied in Florence, Italy. Being a good mother, I flew over to check in on her. Oh, and by the way, while I’m here…well, I really might as well see a bit of Italy.
One gold-lit afternoon as we meandered medieval lanes in Siena, we came across references to St. Catherine. Born in the 1300s to a prosperous merchant family, she enjoyed a life of affluence. Yet, having experienced holy encounters with Christ, she chose spiritual commitment to Christ over a more conventional social commitment to affluence and marriage.
Upon entering an order of laywomen, she spent three years in solitary contemplation. Such silence of prayer set a foundation of strength and stability at a heart level with God. Yet, God called her forth from her life of contemplation into a life of action.
For St. Catherine, the blend of contemplation and action were not opposed to one another, but were rather complements that took her singleness of heart to a service of others. She encouraged, mediated, taught, comforted and served others through her contemplation. Gathered from within her prayerful obedient heart, her presence offered a servant’s heart, alongside her gift of writing.
I watch St. Catherine and find myself challenged: will I sit only in contemplation and never act? Or will I move forward into a life that blends the power of silence and the power of service?
St. Catherine spurs me on with her prayers: I have naught to give save what Thou hast given me.
She reminds me that effort is involved: Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.
She challenges me: Proclaim the truth and do not be silent through fear.
She encourages me: I treasure your knowing how to give the world a kick.
St. Catherine sets the bar high: Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.
I’m moving forward, blending my contemplative heart and my writing art into an action may start a small blaze glowing. Who knows what can happen from here?
What about you?
How will you set the world on fire by being whom God meant you to be?