From the Editor’s Desk (Wednesday, 04-29-2015, Gaudium Press) On the feast day of St Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, we are pleased to present a selection of her quotes.
“You see this gentle loving Word born in a stable while Mary was on a journey, to show you pilgrims how you should be constantly born anew in the stable of self-knowledge, where by grace you will find me born in your soul.” Dialogue 157
“You are rewarded not according to your work or your time but according to the measure of your love.” Dialogue 165
“Love transforms one into what one loves.” Dialogue 60
“Love follows knowledge.” Dialogue 1
“One who knows more, loves more.” Dialogue 66
“We trust and believe in what we love.” Dialogue 8
“There will be love in proportion to faith and faith in proportion to love.” Letter T344
“And the eternal Father said, ‘And if anyone should ask me what this soul is, I would say: She is another me, made so by the union of love.'” Dialogue 96
“They love their neighbors with the same love with which they love me.” Dialogue 60
“The soul cannot live without love. She always wants to love something because love is the stuff she is made of, and through love I created her.” Dialogue 51
“[Sin is] loving what God hates, and hating what God loves.” Letter T29
“Let us enter into the house of knowledge of ourselves.” Letter T351
“On two feet you must walk my way; on two wings you must fly to heaven.” (The eternal Father’s words to Catherine regarding love of God and love of neighbor). Raymond of Capua, Life of Catherine of Siena, 121
“When God created man, he said to him: ‘Be it done according to your will’, that is, ‘I make you free, subject only to myself.'” Letter T69
[The eternal Father to Catherine:] “I give spiritual consolation in prayer, now in one way, now in another. But it is not my intention that the soul should receive this consolation foolishly, paying more attention to the gift than to me.” Dialogue 68
“Love does not stay idle.” Letter T82
“You know…that to join two things together there must be nothing between them or there cannot be a perfect fusion. Now realize that this is how God wants our soul to be, without any selfish love of ourselves or of others in between, just as God loves us without anything in between.” Letter T164
“I long to see you so totally ablaze with loving fire that you become one with gentle First truth. Truly the soul’s being united with and transformed into him is like fire consuming the dampness in logs. Once the logs are heated through and through, the fire burns and changes them into itself, giving them its own color and warmth and power.” Letter T137
“God was made man and man was made God.” Dialogue 15
“Their humanity will be conformed to the humanity of the Word and they will delight in it.” Dialogue 62
[The eternal Father to Catherine:] “And since I in the beginning created man to my own image and likeness, and afterwards too your image on myself by assuming human nature, it is always my endeavor, in so far as you are fit for it, to intensify that likeness between me and you.” Raymond of Capua, Life of Catherine of Siena, 111
“The service you cannot render me you must do for your neighbors. Thus it will be evident that you have me within your soul by grace.” Dialogue 7
“The human heart is always drawn by love.” Dialogue 26
“The soul is in God and God in the soul, just as the fish is in the sea and the sea in the fish.” Dialogue 2
[The eternal Father to Catherine:] “Do you know, daughter, who you are and who I am? If you know these two things you will have beatitude within your grasp. You are she who is not, and I AM HE WHO IS.” Raymond of Capua, Life of Catherine of Siena, 92
“Do not be satisfied with little things, because God wants great things!” Letter T127
“If you are what you should be, you will set all of Italy ablaze!” Letter T368
“In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature for by the fire of love you created us.” Prayer 12
“I am the Fire and you are the sparks.” Letter T170
“O God eternal, Oh boundless Love! Your creatures have been wholly kneaded into you and you into us–through creation, through the will’s strength, through the fire with which you created us, and through the natural life you gave us.” Prayer 14
“Out of darkness is born the light.” Letter T211
“The soul, as soon as she comes to know Me, reaches out to love her neighbors.” Dialogue 89
“It is the nature of love to love as much as we feel we are loved and to love whatever the one we love loves.” Letter T299
“You are asking for something that would be harmful to your salvation if you had it–so by not getting what you’ve asked, you really are getting what you want.” Letter T266
“Selfish love makes us unappreciative and ungrateful because we attribute all we have to our own shrewdness. And what is the evidence? Our ingratitude, shown in the sins we commit every day. Gratitude, on the other hand, is proof that we are attributing to God alone all that we have.” Letter T96
“Obedient people never trust in themselves.” Letter T201
“We’ve been deceived by the thought that we would be more pleasing to God in our own way than in the way God has given us.” Letter T340
“Those who see themselves not selfishly but for God, and who see God for God (as he is supreme eternal Goodness and is deserving of our love), when they contemplate God in blazing, consumed love discover the image of the human person in God. And they discover themselves, God’s image, in God.” Letter T226
“Hope comes from love, because people always trust in those they love.” Letter T352
“Ungrateful people are not patient.” Letter T337.
What makes people patient, so that they patiently bear hurt, reproach, slander, and abuse from others, and torments and assaults from the devil? Gratitude.” Letter T336.
“It is human to sin, but diabolic to persist in sin.” Letter T348.
“Reflect that God requires nothing else of us except that we show our neighbors the love we have for God.” Letter T89.
“And you may be certain of this–unless you really are more ignorant than anyon–that the arm of holy Church, though it may well be weak, is not broken. From its weakness this arm always emerges strengthened, as do those who stay close to it.” Letter T339.
“We will be humble as we are obedient, and as obedient as we are humble.” Letter T84.
“It is because I do not love that I trust in myself rather than in God.” Letter T344
“You must follow him along the way of the cross, choosing to be crucified in his way, not yours.” Letter T354.
“You must believe in truth that whatever God gives or permits is for your salvation.” Letter T354
“There is nothing we can desire or want that we do not find in God.” Letter T360
“I treasure your knowing how to give the world a kick.” Letter T360
“Isn’t God more ready to forgive than we are to sin? And isn’t he our doctor–and we the sick ones?” Letter T178
“Doesn’t God consider spiritual discouragement worse than any other sin? Yes indeed!” Letter T178
“Since love for our Creator cannot be sustained unless we love others for God’s sake.” Letter T343
“God is more ready to pardon that we have been to sin.” Letter T343
“Consider God’s charity. Where else have we ever seen someone who has been offended voluntarily paying out his life for those who have offended him?” Letter T345.
“The disobedient are always wanting to know the why and wherefore of what is ordered.” Letter T86
“People have been set above all other created things, not created things above people, nor can people be satisfied or content except in what is greater than they. But there is nothing greater than they except I myself, God eternal, and therefore only I can satisfy them.” Dialogue 93.
“Do not presume to choose your own way of serving instead of the one I have made for you.” Dialogue 100.
“For you, high eternal Father, loved me without being loved by me.” Dialogue 108.
“Make yourself a channel for all peoples, giving each of them what he needs, according to their disposition and what I, your Creator, give to you.” Dialogue 109.
“A full belly does not make for a chaste spirit.” Dialogue, 125.
“Now how can those who do not know their own sinfulness recognize and correct it in others? They are neither able nor willing to go against themselves.” Dialogue 129.
“The will is the seat of all the pain people suffer, for if the will is fully in accord with my will there is no pain in suffering.” Dialogue 131.
“You, God, made yourself lowly and small to make us great!” Dialogue 134.
“The soul is as obedient as she is humble, and as humble as she is obedient.” Dialogue 154.
“It is rare that a person who sins against the vow of obedience does not also sin against continence and true poverty.” Dialogue 158.
“The obedient have no desire to obey in their own way, to choose the time and the place; they would rather follow the rule and their superiors.” Dialogue 159.
“Obedience shows whether you are grateful.” Dialogue 163.
“Obedience and her sister patience show whether the soul is in truth clothed in the wedding garment of charity.” Dialogue 163.
“I acknowledge and do not deny that you love me before I existed, and that you love me unspeakably much, as one gone mad over your creature.” Dialogue 167.
“You, eternal Trinity, are a deep sea. The more I enter you, the more I discover, and the more I discover, the more I seek you.” Dialogue 167.
“For by the light of understanding within your light I have tasted and seen your depth, eternal Trinity, and the beauty of your creation.” Dialogue 167.
“You, eternal Trinity, are the craftsman; and I your handiwork have come to know that you are in love with the beauty of what you have made, since you made of me a new creation in the blood of your Son.” Dialogue 167.
“O abyss! O eternal Godhead! O deep sea! What more could you have given me than the gift of your very self?” Dialogue 167.
“You are a fire always burning but never consuming; you are a fire consuming in your heat all the soul’s selfish love; you are a fire lifting all chill and giving light.” Dialogue 167.
“Holy Spirit, come into my heart, and in your power draw it to you.” Prayer 6
“It is only through shadows that one comes to know the light.” Prayer 24
“To the servant of God every place is the right place, and every time is the right time.” Letter T328
“Is God not more ready to forgive than we are to sin?” Letter T178
“He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely.” Letter T316
“What father ever gave up his son to death for the sake of his slave!” Prayer 15
“Wanting to live in peace is often the greatest cruelty [to others]. When the boil has come to a head it must be cut with the lance and burned with fire, and if that is not done, and only a plaster is put over it, the corruption will spread and that is often worse than death.” Letter T239
“This [painful thing] happens to me with the permission of God, according to His providence, as in all things that befall me, all tribulation that He sends me He wills only one single thing: my sanctification.” Spiritual Document (William of Flete’s account of a meeting with St. Catherine at which she briefly summarized her doctrine).
The majority of the above quotations are from The Letters of Catherine of Siena (4 vols), Arizona Institute of Medieval Studies, and Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality series), Paulist Press.