Inspiration to pass through life’s flames – untouched

  My husband and I are still talking about a trip we took to Italy last year.  He had been reading about Saint Catherine of Siena, so when we settled in Tuscan your first stop was to her home, preserved inside a beautiful church. There we bought a book written after her death in 1380 by a friend of hers, Raymond of Capua.  He writes of her devotion of thought and life to following what she perceived as God’s will.  Her example turned many to living with integrity as well as asking her to pray for them with the result of recovery from their illnesses.  Saint Catherine’s story shows what good can come by being animated by a love for God and her fellow-man.

We loved the tour of her home, appreciating the marvelous art and architecture of the chapel surrounding the small structure.  Behind the main altar, visible through glass, is the family hearth with a suspended pot still hanging over what would have been the place for a roaring fire.  One day while cooking, Catherine slipped and to the horror of those present, fell into the flames.  Yet she was able to extract herself from the fire without suffering burns.

We were reminded of the account in the book of Daniel of three faithful men who defied a Babylonian king’s decree to worship a gold statue he had set up.  They were punished by being thrown into an immense furnace which for most would be a certain death.  A favorite Bible reference book of mine, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, explains: “Holy inspiration has created states of mind which have been able to nullify the action of the flames, as in the Bible case of the three young Hebrew captives, cast into the Babylonian furnace; while an opposite mental state might produce spontaneous combustion.”





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