Tag Archives: Saint Catherine of Sienna

14 October: Make Obedience Sweet! John XXIII

john xxiii

John may have been the pope who began to modernise the Church but he was still using what sounds like archaic language in this passage from Il Tiempo Massimo, on Obedience. But we should still get the message!

Here We address Ourself to those who have duties of direction and responsibility.

Demand a most generous obedience to the rules, but also be understanding of your fellow Sisters. Favor in each of them the development of natural aptitudes. The office of superiors is to make obedience sweet and not to obtain an exterior respect, still less to impose unbearable burdens.

Beloved daughters, We exhort all of you, live according to the spirit of this virtue, which is nourished by deep humility, by absolute disinterestedness and by complete detachment. When obedience has become the program of one’s whole life, one can understand the words of St. Catherine of Siena: “How sweet and glorious is this virtue in which all the other virtues are contained! Oh, obedience, you navigate without effort or danger and reach port safely! You conform to the only-begotten Word . . . you mount the ship of the most holy Cross to sustain the obedience of the Word, to not transgress it or depart from its teachings . . . you are great in unfailing perseverance, and so great is your strength from heaven to earth that you open heaven’s gates” (Dialogue, ch. 155.).


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26 June: Year of Mercy Season: Doors of Mercy I

 holydoor.doug (373x640)

In Jubilee Years, declared by Popes, Holy Doors (doors of major Roman Basilicas normally sealed with mortar) become Doors of Mercy.  The doors are opened, allowing pilgrims seeking mercylogothe mercy of God to enter through these sacred doors.  This year, by the direction of the Holy Father, other church doors throughout the world, have been designated as Holy Doors to accommodate the faithful who cannot travel to Rome with a means of receiving the mercy of God through this Jubilee tradition.

Doors can be seen as having dual purposes; they can be a means to control or restrict entrance, or a portal of hospitality.

In an ecstatic vision, Saint Catherine of Siena heard God speak of such a restriction when he revealed to her that in the garden, the sin of man “had closed Heaven and bolted the doors of mercy, [which caused] the soul of man [to] produce thorns and brambles…”

Fortunately they would not remain closed.  Through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection they were opened again.  Indeed, all the synoptic gospels note that at the Baptism of our Lord, heaven was once again opened.

In the Jubilee, the Church responds to Psalm 118 by opening the “gate [or door] of the Lord; [so that] the righteous may enter”.  The Holy Doors, now Doors of Mercy, are symbols of Christ, who in John 10:7, proclaims, “I am the door”.

 Jesus, the real Holy Door, promises us (Matthew 7:7), “…knock and it will be opened to you.”


Doug writes: I thought you might enjoy this photo I took at the Mission San Luis Rey historic church …designated by our Bishop as one of six Holy Door churches.

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