FEAST OF ST CATHERINE OF SIENA, VIRGIN AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, PATRON OF EUROPE, (1347-80).
‘You feed the hungry in your sweetness, because you are gentle, without a trace of bitterness. O Eternal Trinity!’ St Catherine of Siena.
On these fresh, bright and beautiful mornings it is uplifting to awaken to the bird song, the sight of the blossom and the scent of the whitethorn. The psalmist addresses the whole of creation in Psalm 148, and invites every living creature to thank God. Each one can do that in his/ her/its unique way. God’s creation is a gift which calls for appreciation and recognition. Pope Francis calls each one to ‘care for our common home’.
Today as we look at the trees, hedgerows, flowers, weeds, insects, animals, mountains, sky, stars, moon, sun, clouds, water…we can imagine how they praise their Creator… just by being the best they can be. This pleases and brings joy to God. God created the world with love and for love. St Francis, patron saint of ecology is studied in the Grow in Love programme.
Celebrating the feast of St Catherine of Siena today, we recall her writing from the Dialogue ‘On Divine Revelation’. St Catherine addresses God using images of creation, ‘O Eternal Trinity, you are an abyss, a deep sea;…You are a fire ever burning and never consumed,…By your light you enlighten our minds…’ What a great tribute to God and an acknowledgement of her Creator.
The Gospel which the priest reads at Mass today (Mt 11:25-30), can be heard via webcam or can be read in the New Testament. Jesus offers a prayer of thanks to God and acknowledges how God is pleased. Jesus provides a model on how to pray. Out of this loving relationship with God, he invites the readers and listeners, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ The yoke Jesus gives to the disciples is good as it helps carry the load. Such a consolation Jesus wishes to offer the people of the world today, particularly in this time of Covid-19.
The Morning Prayer in the Grow in Love Religious Education programme contains a phrase that reads, ‘I’ll try to please you Father.’ One way to please God is to say thank you. There are also many other ways. This phrase echoes some words of St John’s Gospel (Jn 6). Jesus tells the crowd why ‘he has come down from heaven.’ He has come ‘not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.’ It is the will of the Father that that all who believe would have eternal life.
Jesus spent his whole life doing the Father’s will, doing what God wanted. This nourished and sustained his life even to the death on the Cross. Jesus shows the disciples another way to please God is to do his will. They recognise this when they pray the ‘Our Father’.
How do disciples know what God wants of them? By communicating with God in prayer, by trusting God and listening to Jesus’ teaching and believing in him are just some of the ways of knowing what God wants. Jesus always helps the disciples along the way even especially when they find the going tough. By exploring the stories and poems in Grow in Love, children grow in God’s love and learn how to turn to God in happy and challenging times and how to share the love with others.
The psalmist in Psalm 37 calls each one ‘to trust in the Lord and to do good’.
Both Psalm 148 and Psalm 37 are available as video lyrics on the VERITAS website www.veritas.ie. Verses from these psalms can also be read from the Bible or the e-books for Third Class/P5 and Fourth Class/P6. Psalms 139, 23 and more are also taught in the Grow in Love programme. The children also learn that at Mass each day a psalm is read from the lectionary during the Liturgy of the Word. This is taught in the context of the lesson on The Mass in the Third class/P5, Fourth Class/P6 programme, Fifth Class/P7 programme.
Many of the SONGS in the Grow in Love programme relate to the theme of creation and thanksgiving: ‘Grow in Love’, ‘Thank You, God, for Our World’, ‘Caring for God’s World’, ‘Created by God’, ’Alleluia’, ’When Creation was Begun’, ‘Water’, ’We give Thanks’, ‘Trust in the Lord (Psalm 37)’, ‘Parable Song-The Mustard Seed’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘Sing Praise’(Psalm 148), ’Beginning Today’, ’Creation Story’, ‘God has Given us the Earth’ all are accessible as lyrics/video lyrics.
PRAY from Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé
Care For the Earth
God our Creator, you have given us
the earth, and the sky and the seas.
Show us how to care for the earth, not
just for today but for ages to come.
Let no plan or work of ours damage
or destroy the beauty of your creation.
Send forth your Spirit to direct us to
care for the earth and all creation. Amen.
Cúram don Domhan
A Dhia ár gCruthaitheoir, thug tú an
talamh, an spéir agus na farraigí dúinn.
Taispeáin dúinn conas aire a thabhairt
don domhan, ní hamháin don l atá inniu ann,
ach do na haoiseanna atá
le teacht freisin.
Ná milleadh aon phlean ná obair
againne áilleacht do chruthithe.
Seol do Spioraid chugainn chun
cabhrú linn aire a thabhairt don
domhan agus don chruthú ar fad.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen
Ár nAthair ata ar neamh,
go naofar d-ainm,
go dtaga do ríocht, go ndéantar do thoil ar an talamh
Mar a dhéantar ar neamh.
Ár narán laethúil tabhair dúinn inniu,
agus maith dúinn ár bhfaicha,
mar a mhaithimindne dár bhféachúna
is ná lig sinn i gcathú,
ach saor sinn ó olc. Áiméan.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30).
‘The holy virgin, Saint Catherine, never ceased praying to God to let peace return to his holy Church, alleluia’ (Benedictus antiphon).
‘At all times and in all places, Catherine sought God. She found him and was united to him in love, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon)
‘With all my heart I praise the Lord
And with all that I am, I praise his holy name.’ (Psalm 103:1).
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
Sr Anne Neylon