ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA
Catherine, the daughter of a humble tradesman, was raised up to be the guide and guardian of the Church in one of the darkest periods of its history, the fourteenth century. As a child, prayer was her delight. She would say the “Hail Mary” on each step as she mounted the stairs, and was granted in reward a vision of Christ in glory. When but seven years old, she made a vow of virginity, and afterwards endured bitter persecution for re fusing to marry. Our Lord gave her His Heart in exchange for her own, communicated her with His own hands, and stamped on her body the print of His wounds. At the age of ﬁfteen she entered the Third Order of St. Dominic, but continued to reside in her father’s shop, where she united a life of active charity with the prayer of a contemplative Saint. From this obscure home the seraphic virgin was summoned to defend the Church’s cause. Armed with Papal authority, and accompanied by three confessors, she travelled through Italy, reducing rebellious cities to the obedience of the Holy See, and winning hardened souls to God. In the face well-nigh of the whole world she sought out Gregory XI., at Avignon, brought him back to Rome, and by her letters to the kings and queens of Europe made good the Papal cause. She was the counsellor of Urban VI., and sternly rebuked the disloyal cardinals who had part in electing an anti-pope. Long had the holy virgin foretold the terrible schism which began before she died. Day and night she wept and prayed for unity and peace. But the devil excited the Roman people against the Pope, so that some sought the life of Christ’s Vicar. With intense earnestness did St. Catherine beg Our Lord to prevent this enormous crime. In spirit she saw the whole city full of demons tempting the people to resist and even slay the Pope. The seditious temper was subdued by Catherine’s prayers; but the devils vented their malice by scourging the Saint herself, who gladly endured all for God and His Church. She died at Rome at the age of thirty-three, A.D. 1380.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA, VIRGIN
Double – White vestments
INTROITUS – Psalm 44: 8
Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: propterea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo lætitiæ præ consortibus tuis. Ps. 44: 2. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi. Gloria Patri.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Ps. My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. Glory be to the Father.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we, who venerate the natal feast of blessed Catherine, Thy virgin, may be both gladdened by her annual solemnity and helped by the example of so great virtue. Through the same Lord.
EPISTLE – II Corinthians 10: 17-18
Brethren, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commandeth himself is approved: but he whom God commandeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me: for I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
ALLELUIA – Psalm 44: 15
Alleluia, alleluia. V. After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
ALLELUIA – Psalm 44: 16
Alleluia. With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Alleluia.
GOSPEL – Matthew 25: 1-13
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise: but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
OFFERTORY – Psalm 44: 10
The daughters of kings are in thine honour, the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety. Alleluia.
Let the prayers we offer on the feast-day of blessed Catherine rise up unto Thee, O Lord, and the sacrifice of salvation fragrant with the odour of virgin purity. Through our Lord.
PREFACE OF EASTER
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION – Matthew 25: 4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye forth to meet Christ the Lord.
May the Heavenly table, from which we have been fed, give us eternal life, O Lord, as it sustained even the temporal life of Catherine, the blessed virgin. Through our Lord.