Total Pageviews

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Vision of St Cajetan

St Cajetan's strong devotion to Our Blessed Lady was such that on Christmas Eve at the Church of Saint Mary Major, when he entered the church he was rewarded with a vision of the Holy Mother; who came to him and placed her Divine Infant in his arms.

"At the very hour of his most holy birth, I drew close to the crib, and given strength by my beloved father, Blessed Jerome, who was devoted to the holy crib, and with the confidence that he gave to me, I received from the hands of the spotless Virgin, my protectress, who had recently become a mother,
the Holy Infant, Word Incarnate. 
The fact that my heart did not stop and melt, pierced through by divine love is a sign that it must be as hard and unfeeling as a diamond. 
(from a letter from St Cajetan to Sister Laura Mignani 28th January 1528)

The "Sacra Culla" (relic of the manger) in Sta Maria Maggiore, Rome,
beside which St Cajetan received his vision.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Novena to St Cajetan, Patron of Job Seekers

A novena is a prayer which is traditionally said to obtain special graces over the space of nine consecutive days, hence the name novena after the Latin word for nine, "novem".

By saying a novena you are putting yourself in a place where miracles may happen and opening yourself to God's Grace by renewing your trust in him on each of the nine days. Nothing complicated is needed, just a quiet moment and a quiet corner where you live, perhaps use a picture of St Cajetan to focus your thoughts (please feel free to use and print any you find on this blog) and light a candle in front of it to symbolise Gods light and the flame of your hope. Take a moment to empty your mind of thoughts and find a peaceful place within, then focus on the grace you need and open your heart to God in prayer.

NB. Always use candles responsibly and never leave them unattended!!!!

St Cajetan and Divine Providence

"And so our good Lord answered to all the questions and doubts
which I could raise, saying most comfortingly: “I may make all
things well, and I can make all things well, and I will make all
things well; and you will see yourself that every kind of thing
will be well… and in these words God wishes us to be enclosed
in rest and peace"
Julian of Norwich, "Revelations of Divine Love"

Although the words are Mother Julian's, this passage could also express the spirit in which St Cajetan and his newly founded Theatine order existed. The Theatines were unique in their day due to the spirit of poverty and complete trust in Divine Providence which they embraced. They were to look with disdain upon all earthly belongings, to receive no income, to accept no salaries from the faithful; only from that which was freely offered were they allowed to retain the means of livelihood. Thus they were to rely unreservedly upon Divine Providence. Indeed the Church authorities at the time viewed this dependance on God's Providence as "against prudence" and the Theatines were only grudgingly allowed to continue in this manner after a good deal of wrangling.
By his reliance on Providence, St Cajetan was living out Jesus's words (Matthew 6:26):

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
      “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

But what is Divine Providence? As a concept it is easy enough to grasp, since it means an unshakeable trust in God's Providence and a faith that "all will be well", but as a way of life it is considerably more difficult. How can we apply this to our own lives? How can we live with certainty in the midst of uncertainty only nourished by faith and hope? Well it is a difficult process that has to be taken day by day but the spiritual fruits of such a trust are great. We are asked to jump out into the void in the sure knowledge that we will be caught in the loving arms of God, a scary leap, but liberating.
However dependance on Divine Providence does not mean that we "pass the buck" to God and can just wait for things to fall into our lap, on the contrary St Cajetan and his Theatines were only able to live in this manner due to their hard work and example which so inspired and impressed people that they gave to this new order freely. We must go to work on each new day with joy and application and trust, since if we allow fear and anxiety to become our masters then they can paralyse the spirit and block progress.

This reliance on Divine Providence led to St Cajetan's title of "Father of Divine Providence" and is part of the reason that he is the Patron saint of Job-Seekers and the Unemployed. Unemployment can be a very stressful and anxious time in life, the future seems dark and uncertain and often hopeless. This is a time when it is important to trust in Divine Providence and to work doubly hard to "work for work", treating each new day as an opportunity for new experiences wherein Divine Providence can operate. It is easy to become paralysed by worry and uncertainty whilst unemployed, but St Cajetan invites us by his example to embrace this time instead of just "getting through it", he presents us with a choice, either live in fear or stride forward with trust each new day. It is a simple choice that needs to be worked on, some days are better than others, but in the end it bears fruit as we find ourselves in a better position and mind-set to reach out for what we want and to push on through the rejections until we reach our goal.
You will not be overcome, were said very insistently and strongly,
for certainty and strength against every tribulation which may come.
He did not say: you will not be troubled, you will not be belaboured,
you will not be disquieted; but he said: You will not be overcome.
God wants us to pay attention to these words, and always to be strong
in faithful trust, in well-being and in woe, for he loves us and delights
in us, and so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust
greatly in him and all will be well.
Julian of Norwich "Revelations of Divine Love"

Holy St Cajetan, pray for all who are unemployed and seeking work, help us to free ourselves from the chains of fear and anxiety and to trust that God in his goodness will bring a happy conclusion to our trials.