Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Virgin Catherine, and Peacockery!

St Catherine of Sienna was a splendid women, daring to demand the Pope return from Avignon, rebuking princes, reconciling sinners, writing to practically everyone of significance in her age and being a stigmatic, but (in order to avoid peacockery?) it being invisible.

None of this seems to touch the Office for her feast. What the Church wants us to concentrate on is her virginity. It is virginity that is seen as her glory, and it supposed to be the glory of the Church too. She is no fainting virgin but a true soul united to Christ.

I know that we consecrate virginity, still. and indeed after VII it was extended to women living in the world, but I get the impression we are rather embarrassed not so much by the idea of 'consecration' but by 'virginity'. It is a sign of the time. No wonder with eleven year olds reportedly addicted to to pornography. And no wonder with a reported significant 'gay lobby' within a celibate priesthood, at least in some parts of the world.

Virginity is about bodily integrity, it is also about spiritual integrity, purposely consecrating one's mind and every thought to Jesus Christ, striving day by day for ever closer union with him. There is a heroic degree of self denial that is involved, something which demands constant serious mortification of the mind. It is certainly made much easier by strong habits of prayer, and if one is of that kind disposition, not everyone is so graced, by deep a personal affection for the person of Jesus. Everything that Catherine writes and does comes from her union with Christ, her betrothal to him, this is why the Church honours her.

Today there seems to be a tendency within the Church, even at the highest levels to question the value of virginity and celibacy, in do reality I suspect we are questioning whether it is possible to live united to Christ.

Much today that is discussed in the Church seems to be about concentrating on human weakness, rather than what Grace can achieve. I am sure one of Catherine's contemporariness illustrated a sermon by comparing the plumage of the peahen  with our natural fallen state whilst the peacock shows the nature of a peahen graced by Christ. Catherine because of her union with Christ shone with Grace


The Bones said...

Peacocks are beautiful creatures. They should be conserved and I hope that His Holiness will deal with the need to conserve the threatened peacock species in his next encyclical. After all, God loves all His creatures and made them in His goodness to reflect His mystery and beauty.

viterbo said...

"Much today that is discussed in the Church seems to be about concentrating on human weakness, rather than what Grace can achieve." Almost seems to be encouraging those weaknesses sometimes; being confirmed in error seems to be the on the aggiornamento menu. Fr said of the doubt that is being evinced when it comes to celibacy, "in reality I suspect we are questioning whether it is possible to live united to Christ". I think that is a nail hit on the head. Perhaps even further it could be not wanting to live united to Christ and the 'questioning' of Grace is a way of not having that negative desire inspected.

Beautiful painting.

August said...

The more obvious counterpoint to our contemporaries is the married couple with a large family. The virgin, in this day and age, becomes invisible, lumped in with the videogamers, the millions of unwillingly single people, the many pill-takers who do not care to have children.

In 1st Timothy, St. Paul says women are saved through motherhood, which suggests to me much of what he says elsewhere, about being single, is reserved for men. God is the God of the living.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Father: Can you or anyone recommend a good book on St Catherine of Siena?

JARay said...

Peacocks have the most piercing shriek of a cry. They have a pretty plumage I'll grant you but I wouldn't want one anywhere near my earshot. I have seen them displaying and even that does not endear them to me. Thankfully I am quite unlikely ever to be pestered by their shriek again.
I suppose that "The Bones" might be right in suggesting some sort of encyclical in support of Peacocks but then, he does have some very strange ideas of what encyclicals are all about.
Global warming indeed!!
What utter bunk!

Agnus de Christus said...

If more people read page 237 of St Catherine of Siena's "Dialogue" it would be most beneficial to the Church.

This passage, and others like it are not in the Novus Ordo Missal.

Romans 1
[26] For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. [27] And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. [28] And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, [30] Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Sponsa Christi said...

As a virgin consecrated in the revised Rite promulgated by Paul VI, thank you for this short reflection on the value of consecrated virginity. I believe Vatican II did intend to emphasize the importance of Christian virginity, and I hope that as more Catholics take the time to study the actual documents of the Council there will be a greater appreciation of the value consecrated virginity still has for today’s Church.

viterbo said...

@Bones. In other words, 'peacockery' in some mouths is aggiornamento-speak for wanting unpleasant things to happen to clergy who 'introduce' solemnity into the new rite.