'Let the Fire Fall'

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By Chris Sparks (Apr 29, 2017)
If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire. — St. Catherine of Siena

Sometimes God and His saints and angels take their time answering our prayers. Other times, they act faster than thought.

I was covering a Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Conference one summer at Franciscan University of Steubenville when one of the participants was called forward to share a testimony. This priest talked about his sabbatical year in a rectory, and how he'd had such good intentions at the outset. Prayer! Study! Sanctification! It was intended to be productive. Unfortunately, however, he found himself gravitating to the comfortable armchair for his prayer and reading — and right in front of that armchair there was a television.

He would watch educational programs, of course — nature shows; the news; and so forth. But gradually it came to take more and more of his time. He tried to resist. He put his Bible on the remote control, so that in order to watch television, he'd have to move the Scriptures to one side. When that wasn't enough, he added his rosary. But still, he'd find himself losing hours and hours to television.

Finally, one night, he was sitting in his armchair across from the television, reading Lay Siege to Heaven, Louis de Wohl's biographical novel of St. Catherine of Siena. It's a wonderful book, filled with many of the occasions when St. Catherine won great miracles from heaven by the power of her prayers. Midway through the novel, he prayed in frustration, "St. Catherine of Siena, help me!"

His cable box blew up.

He said he dashed up, grabbed the flaming hunk of metal, tossed it out onto the driveway, and watched it smolder itself into uselessness. For the rest of his sabbatical, he had no television, and counted himself a happier and holier priest as a result.

Happy feast of St. Catherine of Siena! She lived a remarkably rich and full life, serving Christ and His Church as few others ever have. Her letters to the Holy Father of the day helped return the papacy to Rome. Her charitable works of tending to the sick and those most in need of God's mercy were extensive. And the power of her prayers is legendary. If you don't know much about this fiery, wonderworking saint, do take the time to pick up one of the great biographical works about her, such as Sigrid Undset's Catherine of Siena or Louis De Wohl's Lay Siege to Heaven.

The Marians' Hearts Afire Parish-based Programs (HAPP) aim to set all hearts afire with the blazing love of God and the great fire of God's own love, the Holy Spirit. There are few better models of what such a heart looks like than that of St. Catherine of Siena. Let us ask her intercession for us all today that we may be open to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our lives, allowing ourselves to be transformed and enkindled to great heights of holiness, of love for God and neighbor.

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Mary Anne - Apr 29, 2017

St. atherine of Siena, please stope from ever wanting anotber drink.!! You know i suffer from Depression and the medicine is not working all the time. I al also in great physical pain with my buted knees and torn shoulder. Please..help me to think nothi g of this world but to love my Lord and The Blessed Mother...please. i cannot do thos alone. HELP ME !!!!

Jean - Apr 29, 2017

St. Catherine, please help my husband, Charlie. He has such pain in his back and neck, and his feet and legs. Please, grant him a healing that he may enjoy life again.
And I can not get my cholesterol down, nor my weight. My kidneys were only working at 50%. Please help me, that these will be normal again and that my blood sugars stay normal.

Isabelle - Apr 29, 2017

St Catherine of Siena please let me receive a call for the availability of my apartment and a moving date. My expenses and rent are increasing.

rey - Apr 29, 2017

stroke victim............ iwanto recover...healmeLordGo...HELP ME

Maria Goretti - Apr 29, 2017

St Catherine of Siena,
Please pray for my son who is looking for a job. Please teach him to lead a holy and healthy life. Please protect my daughter from Alex C and introduce a good man to my daughter as husband. Amen and thank you!

MJ Caban - Apr 29, 2017

Catherine of Sienna, I ask for healing in my family: my husband to love Jesus and Mary, to come back to the church and to see that his wife and children love him and to return home to resolve our issues with praying and putting God first. To heal from smoking marijuana and drinking and going after worldly pleasures. For our first born son to remove himself from whom he was engaged and to return to loving God and start going to church. Thank you for your help! Amen!!!

LIAA - Apr 30, 2017

St. Catherine, please bring back the best vision for my eyes, spare me from thyroid diseases, shrink if there is something in my throat, please also make my sugar level normal and push my son to go to church and believe in Jesus, and stop my husband from committing adultery and put an end to his relationship with his mistress and go back to church and believe in God, my grand daughter to eat to become healthy, to spare us all from fatal and terminal diseases, heal my brother that he could live a normal life and lead us all to a holy life.

princessIceberg - Apr 30, 2017

St. Catherine of Siena please pray for my Papa and Mama. please pray also for the intentions of the members of STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN FACEBOOK GROUP. please pray for me that I will always seek Christ that I may Find Christ and that I may Love Christ

JB - May 1, 2017

Please help my husband find employment. Please let the holy spirit guide him on how to answer during his interview. Thank you.