But what fascinates me most about St Catherine isn’t the exciting story of her martyrdom or the prominence of her cult. It’s her mystic marriage to Christ. I think the vision the young virgin Catherine had was probably as strange as it sounds. Having decided that she would only marry someone more beautiful, more intelligent, with greater wealth and dignity than she, Jesus appeared to her and, with the Blessed Virgin and other saints as witnesses, betrothed her soul to Himself. In her life, in her suffering and death, St Catherine came to be in perfect spiritual union with Jesus Christ.
This idea of a mystic marriage to Christ might seem completely foreign to us. Saints like Catherine were unique figures, surpassing in virtue and piety. However, tonight I’d like us to take a moment to think about the idea of what it means to be one with Christ. St Paul uses the phrase ‘in Christ’ in almost all of his epistles. He writes to members of the Church- those who have claimed faith in Christ and been baptised- and tells them that they are in union with Christ.
St Paul teaches us that somehow, through the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, we who believe are united to Christ in a mystical bond. We may not have had a vision of being wed to Christ before angels and saints but the reality of our lives is that we live as spouses of Christ.
This unique relationship, grounded in faith, means that everything we do is made holy by His presence. Just as in marriage there is a legal union of man and woman so that even debts become jointly held, by our union with Christ our debt of sin is wiped away and all of His perfections become ours. Our imperfect successes are made perfect in Him; our failures and our sins are resolved before God the Father in Him. Our life, our death, our resurrection is all in Christ. Our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ appears we will appear with Him in glory.
On this feast of St Catherine, be encouraged. In union with Christ you are safe forever. No one can dissolve your mystical marriage to the Lord Jesus. Nothing can separate you from His love. Nothing you have done or will do will divorce you from His presence. With St Catherine, we are united to the most beautiful, the wisest, the most dignified and the wealthiest person in the universe. In all things we have the assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Let us thank and praise our heavenly spouse who gave His life for us and lives to intercede for us always. And let us thank God for St Catherine whose mystic vision opens for us a new window on the wondrous reality of our spiritual union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
|The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine|
and Michele Tosini