Ears to Hear – Lent 2

From a Homily of St Asterius of Amasea

Lent isn’t all about suffering and beating ourselves up. St Paul warns us: ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing’. All our fasting, almsgiving and prayer should lead to greater love in our hearts, and this obscure homily from a 4th century bishop in Cappadocia  encourages us to love like shepherds, indeed, how to love as the Good Shepherd himself.


Ears to Hear – Lent 1

From the Letter of Pope St Clement to the Corinthians

One of the earliest Christian texts we have outside the New Testament is the letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians. It was written because the Corinthians were, as usual it seems, having problems with disunity in their Church. The following excerpt brings the Corinthians back to basics: the importance of repentance and our need for God’s mercy. It’s a good place to start as we begin our Lenten journey with the ashes of repentance on our foreheads.


Ears to Hear – St Catherine: You Have Shown Us Love in Your Blood

St Catherine of Siena: You Have Shown Us Love in Your Blood

St Catherine had great devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, poured out on the Cross for love of us. For her, the blood of Christ is a visible sign of God’s great love for us. Here we hear a prayer first addressed to Christ, then an exhortation to address herself. She advises herself: ‘the more you see, the more you will love’.


Ears to Hear – St Catherine: O Mary, Bearer of the Fire

St Catherine of Siena: O Mary, Bearer of the Fire


We hear today a long prayer addressed by St Catherine to Mary, the Mother of God. She prayed this prayer on the feast of the Annunciation the year before she died, and in it she wonders about what it was like for Mary to say Yes to what God was asking of her. ‘You were overtaken by wonder and surprise’, Catherine says. She offers many original images for our Blessed Mother: she is the bearer of fire, the seedbed of the fruit, a peaceful sea, fertile soil, a new-sprung plant, and many more things besides!


Ears to Hear – St Catherine: Make My Heart Big!

St Catherine of Siena: Make My Heart Big!

We hear today one of the prayers of St Catherine, addressed to God the Father. She speaks of the human heart, made big by God, but that we can grow cruel if we fail to understand how much we are loved by God, in Christ.


The Dominican Charism

The following talk was given by Br Damian Polly OP at a meeting of the Blessed John Paul II Theological Society at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Br Damian was part of a panel from various religious orders – the others were a Benedictine monk, a Franciscan friar and a Carmelite nun. If you have ever wondered what makes up the Dominican mission and way of life, what makes us different from other orders and congregations, and whether there is such a thing as ‘Dominican spirituality’, this talk is a great place to begin.

Ears to Hear – St Catherine: Love Others Tenderly

St Catherine of Siena: Love Others Tenderly


The letter you are about to hear was written by St Catherine to another Catherine, Caterina de Scetto, also a Dominican laywoman. The letter highlights some of the potential pitfalls for those who consider themselves religious. It warns us not let our love be dependent on how it is received, but to generously reflect the unconditional love of God to the world. Catherine warns too not to judge other Christians whose ways are not pleasing to us. Instead, we should, as always for Catherine, ‘remain in the holy, gentle love of God’.


Ears to Hear – St Catherine: Christ the Bridge

St Catherine of Siena: Christ the Bridge

This reading is a selection of excerpts from the Dialogue of St Catherine. The Dialogue is Catherine’s great work, and it’s structured, as the title suggests, as a Dialogue between God the Father and Catherine herself. In these excerpts, we meet one of Catherine’s keys to und
(Excerpted from ‘Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity’, ed. Mary O’Driscoll OP)erstanding the work of Christ: he is like a bridge between us and our home in heaven.

Ears to Hear – St Catherine: Behave Like a Person in Love!

St Catherine of Siena: Behave Like a Person in Love!


The reading that follows is an excerpt from St Catherine of Siena to her confessor, a Dominican friar, Bartolomeo Dominici. It highlights some of her classic images: God as a deep, peaceful sea, and God’s love as a fire.

(Excerpted from ‘Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity’, ed. Mary O’Driscoll OP)


Ears to Hear – Introduction to St Catherine of Siena

St Catherine of Siena – Introduction

St Catherine of Siena is one of the most remarkable women in history. She lived six hundred years ago, in Italy, and was born the twenty-third child in her family. She was born into an immensely turbulent time. The fourteenth century saw wars between cities, famine, and the horrific Black Death. And the Church too was in a parlous state, with corruption, luxury, and bribery common among the clergy.

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