Be Who God Meant You to Be

St. Pius V


In this past Sunday’s gospel reading (John 20:19-31), we witnessed Jesus breathe the Holy Spirit into his disciples.  The Hebrew word ruah and the Greek word pneuma can mean “breath” and “spirit.”  Ruah can also mean “wind.”

Yesterday and today Jesus tells Nicodemus that those who are born of the Spirit are like the wind: powerful and mysterious.  As we read the Acts of the Apostles throughout this Easter season, we witness again and again the power of the Spirit in and around the followers of Jesus. 

That same Spirit moved in the life of a Dominican laywoman and mystic named Catherine of Siena (April 29) fourteen centuries after the time Jesus, James and John.  She prayed, prodded and worked for the reform and unity of the Church at a time when it was a mess.  She didn’t mince words!  Today she is honored as a Doctor of the Church.

Two centuries later, the Spirit moved a shepherd to join the Domincans at age 14.  He eventually became a priest, bishop and ultimately Pope.  Pius V’s time on the Chair of St. Peter was relatively brief, but he proved to be a great steward and leader in implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent, including a new Roman Missal. 

In one of her writings, St. Catherine said: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”  We pray for the grace and courage to follow her example and that of Pius V, to open our minds and hearts to the movement of the Spirit in the signs of our times, and to be the disciples that God has meant us to be—each of us.  We pray that we and the Church will set the world on fire. –JC