instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

More on St. Catherine of Siena's favorite principles

From Bl. Raymond of Capua's Life, no. 100, St. Catherine speaking:
The soul which sees that itself is nothing, and which knows that all its good is in its Creator, turns its back, with all the powers of its being, on itself and every creature, and plunges totally into its Creator. From then on it directs all it does, above all and throughout all, to Him. Its whole mind is set on never going one step outside of Him in Whom it realizes it has found its whole good and its complete and perfect happiness. This union of love grows daily more intense, and eventually the soul is, in a manner, so transformed into God that all its thoughts -- its understanding and its love and its memory -- are taken up exclusively with God, and busy about God alone. Itself and other creatures it sees only in God; it thinks of them and of itself exclusively in God. It is like what happens when a person dives into the sea and swims underwater. He sees nothing and touches nothing but the water and whatever is submerged in the water. Outside the water he sees nothing, feels nothing, and touches nothing. And if the images of things outside fall in or on the water, he does not see them as they are in themselves, but only as they are or appear in the water. To envisage things in this way means that love of self and of other creatures is now brought under the rule of right order, and can no longer stray beyond its proper bounds. It is now subjected to a rule which is divine. Existing and acting only in God, it no longer lusts after anything outside of God.
Really makes you feel like St. Catherine was talking about you personally, doesn't it? Bl. Raymond goes on to comment:
...for my part, I regret to say, being without personal experience of them, I can only repeat in my own blundering way what I have been told. But do you take them in, dear Reader, and make them your own, according to the measure of the grace you have yourself received.