Catherine of Siena (d. 1380 at the age of 33) lived in a community dedicated to good works. This excerpt is from a letter to a monk named Bartolomeo Dominici.
“God has loved us without being loved, but we love him because we are loved…we cannot profit him, nor love him with this first love…In what way can we do this, then, since he demands it and we cannot give it to him? I tell you…we can be useful, not to him, which is impossible, but to our neighbor…love is gained in love by raising the eye of our mind to behold how much we are loved by God. Seeing ourselves loved, we cannot otherwise than love.”
The mothers of the Christian faith still nurture my soul. Catherine of Siena tells me that I must not allow the cloud of self-love to darken the eyes of my heart. Instead, I need to reset my attention to see the love of God. Then, I will see my neighbor as I see myself. I will tend to their needs as I would tend to my own. I will give generously to their needs with the kind of generosity I would want to receive. In doing so love is multiplied and the love of God becomes tangible to each of us.
Beloved, wherever our gaze is set that is where we are placing our hope. If self, then self and all that self can do. If Christ, then Christ and all that Christ can do.
Where is your gaze set? Take a few moments and ask the Lord.