30 October, 2004

St. Catherine of Siena is a genius, too

I'm blogging a lot today. I have no idea why.

I mentioned St. Thomas Aquinas last week; this week I'll tip my hat to another "doctor of the Church": St. Catherine of Siena. I won't talk too much about her life, since you can read about her at the linked website. Mostly I want to present a passage of hers that I read in Dialogo.

That said: I was raised Southern Baptist. I remember when I became a member of the church, Pastor Harry Girtman sat us down to talk about the basic ideas of Christianity. He laid out this notion: we are on one side of a canyon, and God is on the other. Even assuming we could climb down the cliffs into the canyon: a fierce, impassable river rushes there. In short, sin has separated us from God, and it is impossible to cross over. This is why God gave us Jesus, a bridge over whom we cross to arrive on the other side.

That, my friends, was presented by Pastor Girtman as the essence of Christianity. And that, my friends, was presented by St. Catherine of Siena as the essence of Christianity in La Dottrina Del Ponte (The Doctrine of the Bridge), the longest book in Dialogo. She presented a bit more detail than Pastor Girtman: churning waters, deadly rocks against which many souls are dashed, etc. It's quite vivid. Through it all, Christ is held out as our hope, provided by God's immense and unearned love. It was truly lovely to read this from the pen of a Catholic nun who lived during one of the more depressing periods of the Middle Ages.

I'd better separate the poem into another blog post.

No comments: