Of course, any changes, any action we take is always going to be as an individual… after all, each one of us as individuals ultimately make up the collective- this could be our immediate society, region, country or the world at large.
St Catharina (also called as St. Catherine) has an amazing story and the narrative almost seems too unbelievable at times- but it clearly exhibits how with her belief and surrender to Lord Jesus, she was not only able to bear intolerable circumstances, but rise from those situations with grace and victory.
Why I am bringing this up is because, in a strange way, that kind of strong, almost fanatic opinions are again on the rise. We find that there is a much stronger and deeper divide between people- that seems to be widening the gap between various groups within our society.
Now, this divide may not as much be about religion as it was back then, but now, it is possibly about race, language, a person’s country of origin or some other aspect.
But the reality is that we are all children of the same God- our creator. We may think of him and/or pray to him (or her, or both- if we want to be politically correct :-)) with different names or in different ways- our prayers, our rituals could be different, but it is the same God.
Also, when people are faced with tough times, emotions tend to run high and usually we find people exhibit more anger, intolerance and impatience.
Tough times are precisely when we need to strengthen our belief, our commitment to the path of conscious and aware living and seek more strength, help and guidance from the divine. It is when we need to show more love and compassion to those who are worse affected than us and at the same time, feel a level of loving comfort and support, that the Divine providence will take care of us.
This is when our prayers are a way of communicating with the Divine and we think of divinity, not as someone “high” up there- but it is genuine and real. The Divine is someone with whom we have a true and deep relationship.
In this regards, St Catharina almost reminds us of Radha, the divine consort of Lord Krishna. Radha always felt totally immersed and engrossed in her divine love for Lord Krishna.
St. Catharina is asking us to develop such a relationship with the Divine. She is also asking us to face any challenges that may come up in our life with a brave face, with complete trust and belief in the Divine. Do the actions that are necessary with love and compassion- but surrender to the Divine will and trust that ultimately you will be provided for by the Divine providence.
Such a scenario will ultimately help to bring more joy and goodness in this world- to the one performing the act and the one benefitting from such a divinely guided action.