To the world, it may seem counterintuitive that Jesus revealed to the still-a-child Saint Catherine of Siena that she was naught. He prompted this revelation with a question: “Do you know, daughter, who you are, and who I am? If you know these two things, you will be blessed. You are she who is not; whereas I am He who is.” In this, Christ was revealing the core of Salvation History—apart from God, mankind is nothing. With God, we possess everything, and we can accomplish anything in accordance with His will.
These words seem foundational for how Catherine approached the rest of her life. She relied solely on God. Time spent with Him was the most crucial aspect of her day and anything else she did was the overflow of that encounter. This is why she was able to make a profound impact on her community, world, and future generations. From caring for plague victims to providing spiritual guidance to popes, it was Christ who was the source and summit of all her love and devotion in these affairs.
Yet even in all these matters that the world would deem great, Catherine was vastly aware of her weaknesses and failings. At one point in her life, she begged her Creator to take her own heart and will from her, requesting a cleaner, purer inner spirit. Pleased with her humility, Christ appeared, opened her left side and removed her heart. Days later, Jesus appeared again, holding a dazzling red heart illuminated with heavenly rays. “Dearest daughter,” He began, “as I took away your heart from you the other day, now, you see, I am giving you mine, so that you can go on living with it for ever.” He placed His Heart within her side, leaving a miraculous scar on her side.
There was much God revealed to the world by His relationship with Saint Catherine of Siena. However, this is the crux: we are empty vessels that are meant to be filled. Everything the world can offer will leave us feeling like this mystic—in need of cleansing. However, God wants to give us the only thing that can satisfy that emptiness: his brilliant, overflowing Most Sacred Heart.
Closing Prayer //
O Lord, grant us humility to see ourselves in light of Truth. May we see our weaknesses in order to surrender them to You. May we empty ourselves of the filth of sin and its effects on Your good creation, and be filled with the love You always intended us to possess. Amen.
Reflection Questions //
What is your immediate response to the thought of being told by God that you are nothing? Was it good or bad?
As you move throughout these next few hours, be mindful of the things you use to “fill” yourself. How do these things affect your life? Your family? Those around you?