May 9, 2006

St. Catherine of Bologna

Catherine was a 15th century Poor Clare, known for being a foundress of convents and famous novice mistress. Today's Office of Readings has an excerpt from her Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons. Here they are:

1. diligence
2. distrust of self
3. confidence in God
4. remembrance of the Passion
5. mindfulness of one's own death
6. remembrance of God's glory
7. the injuctions of Sacred Scripture, following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert

I was fascinated with diligence as the starting point. Our word in English is, of course, related to the Latin verb diligo, one of the ways of expressing the act of love. And isn't that what spiritual practice is all about? It's not what you do, but how you do it.

Spiritual practice means to do whatever it is you are doing diligently. This is to say that you do it with love for your act, mindful and attentive to what you are doing and to yourself as you are doing it. In this way you are attentive to the act you are doing, rather than just thinking about the result, or worse, what you have to do next.

After all, the future doesn't exist yet, so if you are always ahead of yourself, thinking about the next thing you have to do rather than what you are actually doing, you are living in an un-reality. And living in unreality is a sure recipe for depression.

Check out a fuller biography of Catherine here.

The Franciscan blogosphere is lively this morning. Don has a fine reflection on the dialectic of contemplation and action to which we are all called, and Chiara has a lovely fable that reveals the truth about God's expectations of us.

1 comment:

Chiara said...

I think that yours is my new favorite blog! Very good post....I can't believe I missed Catherine of Bologna Day, her being a Poor Clare....that's what happens when you're wrapped up in having to study about Milton Friedman (snore).

Also, thanks for the link to my fairy tale....I'm rather proud of that little story, as it marks my breaking out of a five year's case of writer's block- I mean, fiction writing, that is.

I will link to your blog as soon as exams are over!

Pax et Bonum,