All that follows on this post is from today’s issue of THE PILLAR: https://www.pillarcatholic.com/
And a happy feast of St. Catherine of Siena, to whom I have always had a special devotion.
She is a saint of many virtues, and her Dialogue is about as full-bore as spiritual reading can get. But, if I am honest, it is her letters to Pope Gregory XI — the last Avignon pope — which I find myself thinking about most often.
In one, she implored the pope to be, well, “a manly man, free from any fear or fleshly love toward yourself.”
“Since He has given you authority and you have assumed it, you should use your virtue and power: and if you are not willing to use it, it would be better for you to resign what you have assumed; more honor to God and health to your soul would it be,” she wrote to Gregory.
|I mean, hot damn.|
It goes without saying that you better be a saint if you’re going to write to the pope and tell him God says man up or quit. But I often find myself applying her papal admonition to my own life.
The Lord, thankfully, has not given me authority, but he has given me much — and many jobs to do, first and foremost as a husband and father. Love of myself, for my own time, and comfort (and sleep), over selfless love for my family is a daily vice I have to fight. And, unlike Gregory, resignation from either role isn’t an option.
In my day job here at The Pillar, too, I often think about St. Catherine’s warning when we are dealing with stories which, frankly, it would be easier, more popular, and certainly more profitable for us to simply let go. There are a few of them.
But, it seems to me, if we are not willing to treat this project as a service, and when necessary a prophetic witness, then it would truly be better for my soul to chuck it in and do something else. Mercifully, I’m not there — but St. Catherine is a reminder to me to pray to do the work God gives me in a way I will be prepared to answer for