29 April, Saturday — Set the world on fire

29 Apr – Memorial for St. Catherine of Siena, virgin & doctor

St. Catherine (1347-1380) was the youngest child in a large family. At the age of six, she had a vision in which Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her parents wanted her to marry, but she became a Dominican tertiary. She was a mystic and stigmatist. She received a vision in which she was in mystical marriage with Christ, and the Infant Christ presented her with a wedding ring. She was counsellor to Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI. She was proclaimed Doctor of the Church on 4 October 1970.

  • Patron Saint Index

Acts 9:31-42
Jn 6:60-69

“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.”

Today, the church celebrates the life of St. Catherine of Siena. Did you know she is one of four women doctors of the church along with Saints Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux? She is also the patron saint of nursing, fire prevention, illness, and miscarriage.

What caught my attention as I was reading about her is this quote:

“Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.” – St Catherine of Siena

I believe that God has a blueprint for every one of us and that we all have a purpose in life. He did, however, give us autonomy to choose our own life path. I admire those who have things easier than others. I admire people who can prayerfully and silently discern God’s word — and in their hearts, feel God’s calling for them to take a particular path. When I contemplate what others have accomplished that contributes to the creation of God’s kingdom, I question if what I am doing is significant. I’m not doing anything revolutionary; I’m not even in a ministry or a community today. I’m just here doing what I do. But I am confident that it is what God desires from me, and it is meaningful in and of itself. Despite its insignificance, St. Catherine serves as a reminder that everything we do serves to spread the God’s gospel.

In today’s first reading, we see Simon Peter healing Aeneas, the paralytic and raising Tabitha from the dead. This was his calling. However, long before receiving his apostolic vocation to share the gospel, he laboured on the sea of Galilee with his brother Andrew, casting nets and catching fish. St. Peter eventually became the Bishop of Rome and Antioch. Not only that, almost all of Christ’s significant miracles and events took place in Peter’s presence. To add to that, because he was a member of the apostles’ inner circle, he had the privilege of being present for occasions that were restricted to even the other believers. Not bad for a fisherman!

So, how do I know what God wants for me? How do I hear His voice? How do I live out my purpose? Those are the questions I keep asking myself.

Is God’s voice loud and booming like thunder? Does his calling hit you square between your eyes? Not always. Not for me at least. The voice of God is often soft and meek — it is a stirring in my heart. God reveals His purpose through the Holy Spirit, through prayer and reading His word.  

These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11.

My mission might not be as significant as the saints or even those of my brothers and sisters who have the ability to preach and convey God’s truth so beautifully. But I believe and trust that I have a purpose in this life that God has given me. So brothers and sisters, let us be who God meant for us to be. Let us invite the spirit of God into our hearts and set the world on FIRE!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, give me a heart that burns for you. Give me ears that hear your voice. Let me be the person you intended for me to be. May my life not be lived in vain. If it be your will, let me create a small spark, so that I might set the world on fire!

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for all the goodness you have given me.


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