God the giver of all Gifts — Catherine of Siena

The eternal Father, indescribably kind and tender, turned his eye to this soul and spoke to her thus:

‘O dearest daughter, I have determined to show my mercy and loving kindness to the world, and I choose to provide for mankind all that is good. But man, ignorant, turns into a death-giving thing what I gave in order to give him life. Not only ignorant, but cruel: cruel to himself. But still I go on providing. For this reason I want you to know: whatever I give to man, I do it out of my great providence.

‘So it was that when, by my providence, I created man, I looked into myself and fell in love with the beauty of the creature I had made – for it had pleased me, in my providence, to create man in my own image and likeness.

‘Moreover, I gave man memory, to be able to remember the good things I had done for him and to be able to share in my own power, the power of the eternal Father.

‘Moreover, I gave man intellect, so that, seeing the wisdom of my Son, he could recognise and understand my own will; for I am the giver of all graces and I give them with a burning fatherly love.

‘Moreover, I gave man the desire to love, sharing in the tenderness of the Holy Spirit, so that he might love the things that his intellect had understood and seen.

‘But my kind providence did all this solely that man might be able to understand me and enjoy me, rejoicing in my vision for all eternity. And as I have told you elsewhere, the disobedience of your first parent Adam closed heaven to you – and from that disobedience came all evil through the whole world.

‘To relieve man of the death that his own disobedience had brought, I tenderly and providently gave you my only-begotten Son to heal you and bring satisfaction for your needs. I gave him the task of being supremely obedient, to free the human race of the poison that your first parent’s disobedience had spread throughout the world. Falling in love, as it were, with his task, and truly obedient, he hurried to a shameful death on the most holy Cross. By his most holy death he gave you life: not human life this time, but with the strength of his divinity.

 

TThis excert from the Dialogue (Cap. 134) of St. Catherine of Siena on the boundless generosity of God, the giver of all good gifts, is used in the Roman Catholic Divine Office of Readings for Saturday of the the 30th Week in Ordinary Time with the accompanying biblical reading taken from Wisdom 11:20-12:19. St. Catherine of Siena, a third order Dominican, died in the 14th century and is one of the few women to be proclaimed a doctor of the church.

Catherine of Siena, St.

Catherine was born in the middle of the 14th Century in the Tuscan city of Siena. From her earliest years at home she appears to have received visions and lived a life of strict prayer and penance. At the age of 16, she joined the Third Order of St. Dominic and gave herself to contemplation, the service of the needy, and the reconciliation of sinners. After traveling to Avignon to plead with Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome, she returned to Siena where people of all classes of society gathered around her because of her great sanctity. She is known for her extraordinary devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus as well as for her book The Dialogue, which is one of the great spiritual classics of the Latin Middle Ages. She died in 1380, was canonized in 1461, and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1970.