St. Catherine, St. John, and charity for others
St. Catherine, whose feast is today said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” St. John Chrysostom commenting on Acts IX, which was read at Mass today, has the same theme:
Nothing is more frigid than a Christian, who cares not for the salvation of others. You can not here plead poverty: for she that cast down the two mites, shall be your accuser. And Peter said, Silver and gold have I none. And Paul was so poor, that he was often hungered, and wanted necessary food. You can not plead lowness of birth: for they too were ignoble men, and of ignoble parents. You can not allege want of education: for they too were unlearned men. Even if you be a slave therefore and a runaway slave, you can perform your part: for such was Onesimus: yet see to what Paul calls him, and to how great honor he advances him: that he may communicate with me, he says, in my bonds. You can not plead infirmity: for such was Timothy…Every one can profit his neighbor, if he will fulfil his part…Say not, It is impossible for me to induce others (to become Christians)– for if you are a Christian, it is impossible but that it should be so. For as the natural properties of things cannot be gainsaid, so it is here: the thing is part of the very nature of the Christian. Do not insult God. To say, that the sun cannot shine, would be to insult Him: to say that a Christian cannot do good, is to insult God, and call Him a liar. For it is easier for the sun not to give heat, nor to shine, than for the Christian not to send forth light: it is easier for the light to be darkness, than for this to be so. Tell me not that it is impossible: the contrary is the impossible. Do not insult God. If we once get our own affairs in a right state, the other will certainly follow as a natural and necessary consequence.