It was the face of a jealous God. We are born, each of us, With a desire for good and a lust for evil. We are called to life and attracted to death. We hear: “Do good.” And we respond: “Choose pleasure.” We embrace bitterness, stealing from ourselves a treasury of good and laying up a treasury of evil. A jealous God sees us and turns a terrible face to us. But rather than condemning us, he calls us to penitence he recalls us to life. He uses his power sparingly with mercy, never slaying, but breathing new life, hearing our prayers. I know what I deserve. Your mercy humbles me but gives glory to your name.Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380) was a lay Dominican who lived a life of fasting, prayer, and service to others. She also was a gifted mediator, helping solve disputes, both locally and in the papal courts. Her most famous work is The Dialogue, a “summary of her theology, her spirituality, her pastoral concerns, and her convictions.” Set Aside Every Fear focuses on “the image of the river and the bridge ... The irreducible connection between love of God and service of humanity ... [and the] dialogue of love between the God-who-is and we-who-are-not.” Each day begins with a passage of God speaking. There is a single-sentence mantra meant to accompany you through the day, and an evening meditation in which we respond to God. Day Four offers a powerful reflection on love of neighbor.
God Speaks ... I want you to know that every virtue and every failing involves your neighbor. Anyone who does not love her neighbor, who does not help her, who does not pray for her, injures herself. For to cut yourself off from neighbor is to cut yourself off from grace. Unless you love me you cannot love your neighbor, and to deprive your soul of love for me and your neighbor is to do evil.Both Let There Be Light and Set Aside Every Fear offer beautiful, powerful meditations and prayers. Both would be perfect for an at-home retreat. There are several other books in the series. If you want to spend some time with the two other female Doctors of the Church, Let Nothing Disturb You is based on the writings of Teresa of Ávila, and Simply Surrender focuses on the teachings of Thérèse of Lisieux.
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About the Author
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has a Master’s Degree in Applied Theology and is the author of The Catholic Baby Name Book, The Power of Forgiveness, and Our Lady of La Salette: A Mother Weeps for Her Children. A mother of three, she is the editor of TodaysCatholicHomeschooling.com as well as a freelance writer and editor.