Looking at Saint Catherine of Siena we see a woman fully alive, a woman who, in spite of intense and prolonged sufferings, prodded, poked, and prayed the world-weary, decadent clergy of her own day into the perennial youthfulness that ever manifests the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Catherine cried out the renewing power of the Blood of Christ with every fiber of her being. The vitality and energy of the Church, the Body of Christ, were for her, evidence of the Blood of Christ that circulates eucharistically in all her veins.
Her Sweet Christ on Earth
For Catherine, the Pope was “her sweet Christ on earth.” In The Dialogue, she hears the Eternal Father saying to her: “Consider the gentle Gregory, Sylvester, and the other successors of the chief pontiff Peter, to whom my Truth gave the keys of the heavenly kingdom when he said: ‘Peter, I am giving you the keys of the heavenly kingdom; whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’”
The Mystic Wine Cellar
Catherine’s insight into the mystery of the teaching Church and her glad reception of that teaching led her to see the Successor of Peter as the “keeper of the keys to the Blood,” the Precious Blood of Christ. For Saint Catherine, the Church is a mystic wine-cellar to which the Pope holds the key. Those who follow Peter into the mystic wine-cellar, those who are eager for the Church’s teaching, those who drink deeply of the Blood of Christ, allowing its fire to enliven and rejuvenate them, are able to say with Saint Catherine: “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” (Ct 2:4).