198. ST. Catherine of Siena. Part three
We were analyzing the first vision of Catherine when she was six years old.
Just as tired, thirsty, hungry, hot, desert travelers sometimes see vision of oasis with green palm trees and canals of water, in the sky ( called mirage), so did Catherine. This hallucination is created by the extremely tired and exhausted mind of the person. The normal inhibitory guards which prevent the brain to make such false images, all the time, are down and out, due to the exhaustion of brain, the lack of blood supply from dehydration and build up of toxic chemicals. Similar situation arises from sickness, lack of sleep and fasting. An important requirement is that brain should have prior pictures of such scenes in its photo-library. None of these situations were applicable in the case of Catherine, so this explanation is out.
The other explanation is that an external powerful force created this novel image back in her brain. The image was projected out in the sky where she could see it. And only she could see it, because only her brain had the image. The third possibility is that image in the sky was real. Her brain was modified to see the image. Just as only a man with night vision goggles can see an object in pitch dark or only an infra red telescope can see stars billions of mile away because it uses infra red rays, not available to the human eye. In either case the power of Jesus Christ made it possible. I am not at all doubtful of the authenticity of this and her other hundreds of visions (unlike modern day public) because I have given accounts of similar happenings. It has happened in a minor way with me. How did Qalandar-a-azam (QA) know about Dr Manocha? I quote from blog 184:
Then he(QA) suddenly said “He has a Hindu friend (Dr. Manocha) who is a good man, a pious man, a man near to Allah”. The great mystic was 6-7 thousand miles away from my Hindu friend and had never met him or heard of him. How did he know about my friend? ? He also said that the desire to live has gone in him (mkadk)( blog 195). How could he say about me, unless he was looking at me from thousands of mile afar, “Although QA was careful to state that I will get my goal at age 78 ( or earlier ), only if I live that long”. Those who have read blog 195 will agree that I have no desire to live, but how did QA know about it? I also resort to counting during my four hour meditation session, because the session is too long. QA sent a mild rebuke. He said,( or words to that effect) “One should not count. And this business of being a stickler about four hours. One should not be fixated about time. Sometimes one hour is better than four hours”. Such intimate knowledge about me, although we had and have never met. I have written multiple blogs on supernatural events (blogs 102-112)
Catherine started taming her body. She started eating less and less (in the end almost nothing), sleeping less and less, and talking less and less (for three years). She would isolate herself in her own cell with Jesus (later her father gave her a room, after he saw a white dove coming out of her room). She scourged her body (discipline) three times a day, an hour and a half each time, with a chain tipped with iron hooks, causing the blood to flow down her shoulders. These penances took their toll. She used to be a strong girl who could carry sacks of grain from cellar to the attic, but she was reduced to a thin and frail woman, who suffered from pain for the rest of her life and died at the age of thirty-three.
She took vow of chastity after seeing this vision:
She saw a vision of Jesus with glorious Virgin Mother, Prophet David, and many saints. Mary presented her to Jesus and asked Him to marry her to Himself in faith. He accepted and gave her a gold ring with four pearls and a diamond. He put the ring in her finger. He said…….. “From this time daughter act firmly and decisively…..that I ask you to do…,.” The vision disappeared, but the ring always remained on Catherine’s finger, though no one else could see it but her.
She considered herself His spouse. She took a vow of chastity, which was a big deal in 14th century Italy. Her mother could not understand it. Her brothers were upset. She was initially persecuted but later on everybody accepted it.
She joined the Order of St Dominic after having this dream. St Dominic and founders of various Orders were in the dream. They asked her to select one Order .She recognized St Dominic and moved toward him. He had the habit of Sisters of Penance of St Dominic in his hands. He said comforting words. She woke up with tears of happiness.
1. ‘The life of ST. Catherine of Siena’ by Blessed Raymond of Capua, Confessor to the saint. Translated by George Lamb.
2. ‘Catherine of Siena , a biography’ by Anne Baldwin