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Treatise on Discretion, By Saint Catherine of Genoa

Treatise on Discretion, By Saint Catherine of Genoa

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Published by: thepillquill on Jul 22, 2012
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03/28/2014

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Treatise on Discretion
by Saint Catherine of Genoa
How the affection should not place reliance
 
chiefly on penance, but rather on virtues; andhow discretion receives life from humility, andrenders to each man his due.
"These are the holy and sweet works which I seek from My servants; these are the proved intrinsicvirtues of the soul, as I have told you. They not onlyconsist of those virtues which are done by means of the body, that is, with an exterior act, or withdiverse and varied penances, which are theinstruments of virtue; works of penance performedalone without the above-mentioned virtues would please Me little; often, indeed, if the soul performnot her penance with discretion, that is to say, if her affection be placed principally in the penance shehas undertaken, her perfection will be impeded; sheshould rather place reliance on the affection of love, with a holy hatred of herself, accompanied bytrue humility and perfect patience, together with theother intrinsic virtues of the soul, with hunger anddesire for My honor and the salvation of souls. For these virtues demonstrate that the will is dead, andcontinually slays its own sensuality through theaffection of love of virtue. With this discretion,then, should the soul perform her penance, that is,she should place her principal affection in virtuerather than in penance. Penance should be but themeans to increase virtue according to the needs of the individual, and according to what the soul seesshe can do in the measure of her own possibility.Otherwise, if the soul place her foundation on penance she will contaminate her own perfection,
 
 because her penance will not be done in the light of knowledge of herself and of My goodness, withdiscretion, and she will not seize hold of My truth;neither loving that which I love, nor hating thatwhich I hate. This virtue of discretion is no other than a true knowledge which the soul should haveof herself and of Me, and in this knowledge is virtuerooted. Discretion is the only child of self-knowledge, and, wedding with charity, hasindeed many other descendants, as a tree which hasmany branches; but that which gives life to the tree,to its branches, and its root, is the ground of humility, in which it is planted, which humility isthe foster-mother and nurse of charity, by whosemeans this tree remains in the perpetual calm odiscretion. Because otherwise the tree would not produce the virtue of discretion, or any fruit of life,if it were not planted in the virtue of humility, because humility proceeds from self-knowledge.And I have already said to you, that the root of discretion is a real knowledge of self and of Mygoodness, by which the soul immediately, anddiscreetly, renders to each one his due. Chiefly toMe in rendering praise and glory to My Name, andin referring to Me the graces and the gifts which shesees and knows she has received from Me; andrendering to herself that which she sees herself tohave merited, knowing that she does not even existof herself, and attributing to Me, and not to herself,her being, which she knows she has received bygrace from Me, and every other grace which shehas received besides.

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