THE DIALOGUE OF

THE SERAPHIC VIRGIN

CATHERINE OF SIENA
DICTATED BY HER, WHILE IN A STATE OF ECSTASY, TO

HER SECRETARIES, AND COMPLETED
YEAR OF OUR LORD
1370

IN

THE

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL ITALIAN
WITH AN INTRODUCTION ON THE STUDY OF MYSTICISM
BY

ALGAR THOROLD

COIL

CHRIST!
BIB,

HM.

TOKCWTOH

KEGAN

PAUL,

LONDON TRENCH, TRUBNER &
1896
[All rights reserved]

CO., LTD.

PATERNOSTER HOUSE, CHARING CROSS ROAD

26156

<

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON At the Ballantyne Press

& Co

CONTENTS.
PAGE

INTRODUCTION
A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

I

19

28
28
31

34

36
71

72 75

76
78 79

80
81

83 84 86
87

89 89
93
95

98
100
103

vi

CONTENTS

A TREATISE OF DISC RATION -continued

CONTENTS
A TREATISE OF PR AVER
continued

vn

INTRODUCTION.
"

I

AM

persuaded,"

said

Claude Bernard,

"

that

the day

will

come, when

the

man

of science, the philosopher and

the poet will all understand each other." Whatever we think this of of we most us feel that the may prophecy, one-sided absolutism of the past, whether religious or
scientific, is

no longer possible. The inevitable vehemence of the reaction against bigotry and superstition has, in a measure, spent itself, and the best minds of the present,
feeling
their

influenced by the spirit of Socrates cautiously and tentatively

claim to wisdom, are way to a nicer

adjustment of the scales of thought. That these should ever be poised in perfect equilibrium is no doubt impossible in this world of clashing cate
gories ; but the undoubted truths to be found in extremes are beginning to be recognised as partial and relative, as

only fragmentary elements in the ultimate synthesis. From the conviction that the whole truth is not to be found in any partial utterance of humanity, the passage is

easy to the opinion, that for a really philosophical appre ciation of our nature, an impartial examination of all the
sides of
the

man

artist,

is necessary. the saint must

The
all

philosopher, the scientist,

contribute.

Contemporary

non-religious thought, like its predecessor of an earlier day, is becoming persuaded that some good thing may come even out of Nazareth. The thin, dry optimism of secta
rian Christianity and of official materialism be not so much erroneous as unthinkable.
it

we

see

now

to

may be hoped for ever, with and the explanations which explained
"

have done, the proofs which proved,
nothing."

We

2

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

hundred years ago truth seemed a simpler matter to They stood on the threshold of the modern industrial world, to them a coming golden age tipped with Exact knowledge and the brightness of rising science. universal education were to make men happy and wise and Kings and priests were gone, or, at least, the back of .good. these incubi, the causes of all their despotism was broken his misery, removed, man, a well-meaning creature, and more than capable of taking care of himself, would begin at last to live, and, in the normal exercise of his natural func tions, hitherto artificially strapped down by theological and

A

our

fathers.

;

political tyrants,

would

find

true

satisfaction

and,

conse

quently,

But they happiness of his being. counted without machine-looms or the law of heredity, of which they derided the theological expression in the doctrine
the
perfect

of original

sin.
lie in the sup wisdom, and even less in its we have with us to-day, but in the and faith which animated some of its

The

true value of the Revolution did not
political

posed sagacity of its social results, which
indomitable hope
.greatest

illustrations.

It

is

impossible to read the best

French moralists of the Revolutionary period say, Vauvewithout being struck by the deep nargues and Condorcet spiritual earnestness which underlay much in them that was flimsy as argument, mistaken as fact, frothy and unreal as
sentiment.

The Revolution

stated the

human problem

in collective

terms, forgetting that the only authority which can address men collectively must transcend them individually, that is,

Mere multiplicity, as such, must represent the Divine. must return to unity under pain of disintegration. Now, the revealed symbols apart, the highest human manifesta
tion is the individual raised to

sonality called

genius,

for

he,

only,

the quintessence of per has, in a supreme

degree, will and intellect ; and will and intellect move the The Phtlosophes, whether deists or atheists, by world.

hypothesis, ruled the conception of the Divine out of relation to man, and therefore had no message for him as an indi
vidual.

He was

considered, primarily, as a social item, and

INTRODUCTION
formed, in juxtaposition
items, the individual.
to,

3

not in fusion with, other such

modern

The

State-fetish, that grotesque parody of an result of all this is, to-day, evident enough.

society, the creation of the Revolution, is based on ignorance, or, at least, disregard of the distinction between

Modern

organic and mechanical unity. For a society, as for a work of

art,

there are two kinds

of unity. This quality may result from the careful observ ance of certain rules imposed from without on the subjectmatter, without any regard for the inner unity of thought, in which case it is purely mechanical. Of this, the dramatic

works of Boileau are a classical example. Organic unity, on the other hand, results from the harmonious expression of an idea, of a word made flesh, as, for instance, the
Parsifal"

of

Wagner.

Mechanical unity, being expressive of no idea, may per fectly well result from anonymous collaboration, supposing
the formula to be equally accessible to all the workers, but organic unity, like the idea which informs it, is necessarily the creation of an individual. For ideas are of the indi
vidual.

The modern

state, resulting as

it

does from anonymous

unity is therefore only mechanical, arising from the juxtaposition, not the fusion, of its components ; for, herds of men can only be fused into the
collaboration, expresses
;

no idea

its

organic unity of a nation by the philosopher s stone of politics, an Idea, a word becoming flesh in a nation, its Such were the great Assyrian necessary social expression.

and Egyptian dynasties, the Jewish Theocracy, and in its purer days, the French Monarchy, with its significant war"

cry,

Gesta Dei per

Francos."

by incarnation that an idea becomes an ideal, and without ideals neither nations nor men can live. In the
It is

pages of

"

"

Compromise

Mr. John Morley

bitterly

laments

the lack of idealism in contemporary English politics, but, with the elaborate short-sightedness so characteristic of his
greater master, Mill, he fails to see its antecedent. But it is not my intention to dwell on the political results of the Revolution, which have been abundantly and minutely

4
set

THE DIALOGUE OF
forth

ST.

CATHERINE

by Taine. So much as has been said was, a however, necessary prelude to the estimate of its effects in the spiritual domain. Without such an estimate, it is wholly impossible to appreciate the mystical movement of to-day, or, in any degree, to determine what permanent value underlies its manifesta
tions, often

a better

field

France is grotesque, sometimes contemptible. for the consideration of such effects than

England, for France, besides being the original home of the Revolution, is a sort of moral forcing-house for ideas while Englishmen are still tinkering at a theory and endeavouring
;

to reduce

it

to

some impotent truism with which the

British

elector shall feel quite at home, Frenchmen have reached its final expression in their national life and literature.

The

for a national art is

best part of a nation s soul betrays itself in its art, an attempt to eternise the types held

worthy of admiration by the spiritual leaders of a people. The supreme art of Frenchmen is their prose. Should the Latin Decadence issue fatally, the French tongue will live for There has been ever as the third great classical language. a special reason for its development during this and the
last

century

the appearance of a

new

literary type, the

man

of letters, whom, as Mr. Morley has pointed out, the future historian will find to have been the one original creation of

There were great brigands before Napoleon, the times. there were political condottieri before Boulanger, there were Tribunes of the People before Marx and Lasalle, there were
no professional men of
letters

before the Fathers of the

and Voltaire, Diderot Originating Encyclopaedia. D Alembert, the type, checked in development by the out break of the Revolution which needed letters as little as
with
chemistry,* and by the Philistine militarism of the First Consul, arrived at maturity in the person of Renan, who was also a complete embodiment of the effects of the Revo
It is important that we should lution in spiritual matters. He raised opportunism to face the truth about this man. the dignity of an idea ; he was the Vautrin of the intellect ;

* Lavoisier was brutally told that the Republic did not need
chemists.

INTRODUCTION
his influence reigned

5

for forty years among the of honest introspection, accepts the majority which, incapable dicta of the superior person in the place of genuine

supreme

experience.

For the modern man of letters reigns by his due to the skill with which he re-presents to his prestige readers their current ideas. A practical man of talent, he shows us that part of ourself, that we at once recognise, crowned with the flowers of his rhetoric, and, seduced by
the implied compliment, we acclaim him. Creative artist, the intuitive by love,"
"

The Genius,

the

shows us those

depths of ourself that seem strange and foreign to us, but
of which

we dimly guess the existence, when passion or wears threadbare for a moment the smooth lustre insight of our daily habit ; of such moments we are ashamed, and,
irritated at the vision of a genius,

proceed to decry him.

The work
It

of

Renan was

to turn religion into religiosity,

but he was, after

was the task
life,

porary
traced

by by Renan
est

all, but one, though the chief, of a group. of Zola to apply to the criticism of contem means of the experimental novel, the gospel

in the

"

Avenir de

la

Science."

Lhomme
meta

metaphysique

wort, was Zola s

text,

and

with

physics were

be buried religion and mysticism of every The oSoc avw was to be turned into a blind alley kind. where rubbish might be shot. The experimental novel pro
to

fessed to depict life as perceptible, in its more general aspects, to the senses, with a minimum of ideation. An admirer of

Zola recently pointed jubilantly to the

fact that the

number

of copies issued of the Rougon-Macquart series would, if piled one on the other, overtop the Eiffel Tower, and the school has, in fact, found its success rather in the quantity

than in the quality of

its

work.

This judgment

may seem

too sweeping, and several masterpieces produced by writers of the school will occur to the reader, but it will appear on closer examination that the works of the naturalist school

possessing supreme literary quality, have, in reality, what ever their label, been conceived outside the formula of natu
ralism.
dull

They

and

are at most the brilliant heresies of a very pedantic orthodoxy. They deal either with
"La

types unreal in themselves, as the superb

Faustin"

6

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

of Edmond de Goncourt, or the thread of circumstances, through which the story progresses, is abnormal in a high Bete Humaine," in which coincidences degree, as in Zola s are forced to an extent rarely attempted by the most auda
"

cious romanticist. Flaubert, the greatest of the so-called naturalist masters, could never destroy the romantic and mystical side of his nature to which he gave a free rein in
"

Salammbo,"

and the

"

Tentation de St.
as unreal, in
"

Antoine."

He

is

quite as romantic, that

is,

Madame

Bovary."

The Emma Bovarys whom we know do

not commit suicide,

they are a plague to their husbands and every one con nected with them for a certain time, and in the end usually become devotes of a low order.

Perhaps the
published in
naturalist.

finest

work produced

in the
"

domain of pure
Soeurs
Vatard,"

naturalism has been Joris-Karl

1879. In 1884,

Huysmans But Huysmans was

not to remain a

"

A

Rebours"

sounded the note, not

so
"

much La

of reaction as of revolt, emphasised in 1893 by Bas." The first chapter of this powerful and lurid
judicial process of naturalism.
is

book contains the

The evidence

summed up and judgment pronounced

justly enough, though not without the touch of bitterness proverbially attributed to perverts with regard to the church of their baptism. Huysmans is not alone. Paul Verlaine

Crimen Amoris," and many other well known chef-d ceuvres, has given sublime In a few verses of expression to the Catholic Mythos. incomparable perfection, Stephane Mallarme sings a no less exalted mysticism. It is needless to enumerate a list of names doubtless well known to the reader, as space does
in
"
"

"Sagesse,"

Impenitence

Finale,"

not permit detailed criticism of the work connected with them ; it may be enough to state here that, whether

decadent or symbolist, neo-catholic or neo-buddhist, con temporary schools of French literature unite in being

uncompromisingly anti-naturalist.*

The young Frenchmen
work of
new
strong work of

of to-day look for inspiration rather to the earlier * An must be made in favour of the
exception
J.

to be the only serious writer of the generation professing adherence to the old methods.

H. Rosny, who seems

INTRODUCTION
to

7

Victor Hugo, to Baudelaire, to Villiers-de-l Isle-Adam, and Barbey d Aurevilly, who said of his generation that, if he

were not already a Catholic by conviction, he would become one in order to have a place of vantage, cTou cracker sur
ces gens-Id.

in

which

Naturalism, then, has only saved itself in the proportion that is, it it has been unfaithful to its formula
failed.

has
as

But note the far-reaching implications of

its

failure.

The experimental novel was not presented to us one among many possible literary modes (its rise and
would then have possessed only a technical and

decline

interest for the literary student), but as the interlinear artistic translation of the text of life as conceived
historical
If the experimental novel This because have not succeeded. failed, they absurd in to the reduced fact, great literary experiment has,

by the

"

scientific organisers."
it

has

is

the

"

"

philosophic

pretensions on which

it

was

based.

A
an

fine naturalistic novel, in the strict sense of the

word,

is

impossibility, because
"

natural science alone can

no more

than knowledge of the chemical organise" constituents of colours can make a man an art critic.
life

human

which breathes in so much of the best is so widely diffused that it does not work contemporary
spirit

The new

escape the dangers attaching to fashion. Many a contem tl and neo-buddhist neo-catholic," porary regards his
"
"

soul as one

among
will

ment.
St.

There

other picturesque poses for his tempera be moments when a Faun will replace
"
"

of his longings. specimen of this kind of thing is Mr. John Davidson s Ballad of a has shown Nun," the more regrettable that Mr. Davidson

Francis as the

symbol

A

"

himself capable of no ordinary work. Here the Faun is in clothed indeed the religious habit, but the garb is irk some, and the best part of the poem, the part in which we

enjoy thoroughly artistic expression, is when the robe of penance is hastily twitched up to the shaggy knee and the hoofed feet merrily twinkle in a dance Yes, symbolic ? and we know too well of what. For such mysticism as
*
"

this a whole-souled person can feel nothing but sorrow. This may lead us to the consideration of another danger to

8

THE DIALOGUE OF
is

ST.

CATHERINE
Any new form
when
the
of

which the new movement
immediately

exposed.
It
is

thought inevitably appears at first as the negation of the
preceding form.
only
first

with effervescence has passed away, when we come to see of the world unless we are that the face grief, philosophers

changed by the soul-compelling beauty of our personal vision, that we realise the dependence of our ideas on their historical antecedents, and that we are, in fact, our father s sons. So we proceed to develop and assimilate at we had scornfully denied. The present where, first,
little

seems

inevitably appears as a reaction against science. In reality, however, it is no reaction against science as such, a proceeding which would be as ridiculous as it would

movement

be

futile,
"

of the
to

natural

but only against that false estimate of the scope sciences, as the supreme and only means
"

by which, in the words of Condorcet, right judgment was become an almost universal quality, so that the habitual
"

state of

men throughout

a nation should be to be led by

submit in conduct to the rules of morality, feeding on sweet and pure sentiments." And the good but mis This is the point to which the labours taken man added
truth, to
"

:

of genius and the progress of light must infallibly conduct Such promises have duped us, and some of those us."

who

realise how they have been beguiled are disposed to But we should execrate the very name of their deceiver. not forget, on the one hand, that these illusory assurances
in the

were not contained
oracle
itself,

simple solemn utterances of the

but rather in the glosses added by its overzealous ministers, and, on the other, that psychology need

not cease to be a science because physiological methods of investigation are insufficient for it.

For the sake of their own

stability

and permanence, the

leaders of the present movement cannot take refuge from materialism by running their heads into the sand of irre

inadequately expressed by, naturalism, which has inserted in our very marrow a passion The romantic elegy, with its humanity de for exactitude.
dessus de pendule,
is

sponsible fantasy, nor can the truth contained in, even

they
if

afford

to

lose hold of

no longer possible

;

no system, philo-

INTRODUCTION

9

sophical or religious, that has not a real application to life, as it is in its humblest and most elementary details, has the

The problem of modern of success. remains it has what synalways been, namely, to thought thetise the here or real of antiquity with the hereafter or ideal of mediae valism," and both these elements must must not shrink in appear in any attempted solution.
remotest chance
"

We

disgust from naturalism ; we must go through it to what lies beyond, to what people who dislike the word supernatural may perhaps be willing to call ultranatural. For the famous controversy which, to many, even to-day, is beginning to have but a historical interest, is, after all, only a matter of terms.
miracles serious theologian really holds all sent the caprices of the Eternal Mind.
"

No

"

to repre

We

remember

the story, quoted by

of repeated
"

mumpsimus

of the old priest who, in spite correction, persisted in saying, "Quod ore instead of sumpsimus," when taking the

Newman,
"

ablution at Mass.

His
vital

"

mumpsimus,"
"sumpsimus."

he

insisted,

was
is

as
it

good as his corrector s
was.

And no doubt
recognise

What
is

is

and essential

to

that

mysticism

no sickly delusion of

this or that

morbid indi

vidual, but as real a part of the experience of man as the nervous system. It may be defined as the reduction to the

emotional modality of the highest concept of the or, more briefly, the habit of the love of God.

intellect,

So

far

from being a delusion

it

is

one

of the

most

the unlearned musicsuggest a parallel lover rejoices in what is to his consciousness the plea sant sensation of his favourite art, he revels in simple,

exact sciences.

To

physical pleasure, and

at

most transfers

it

to the senti

mental nerve centres.
"

Or race

For do but note a wild and wanton herd, of youthful and unhandled colts, Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,

is the hot condition of their blood they but hear perchance a trumpet sound, Or any air of music touch their ears, You shall perceive them make a mutual stand, Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze, Merchant of Venice. By the sweet power of music."
;

Which
If

io

THE DIALOGUE OF
Yet there
is

ST.

CATHERINE

no

art of
;

by such
lies

rigid laws

which the expression is governed an exact mathematical structure under
:

the wailing so human, as we say, of the violins. Mystical science is the counterpoint of the soul s symphony Ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. Man s approach to

God

is

mathematical curve.

regulated by the strictest laws, and follows a true This is equally true conversely of the
his spirit in his instinctive

man who has
drowns
is

put these things behind him and deliberately life. Final impenitence not so easy, and by no means to be reached until the
intervening
stages

necessarily

have
"

been

painfully

and

laboriously passed through. He was an amateur theologian, if a great poet, who sang of the easy descent of Hell."

The Prophet tells us that professional touch is surer. way of the transgressor is hard." The great mystics, then, are not maniacs revelling in individual fantasies ; they have but developed, to the full
"

The

the

extent of their power, tendencies existing, in germ at least, in all normally developed men of all time. For the science

God is not the monopoly of any religion, though some may bring to it a more exact terminology, and may possess vaster resources with which to stimulate and direct its development than others. It is furthermore
of union with
difficult

to

trace, in

the lives

operation

of the

laws of heredity

of the great mystics, or environment

any
that

usually govern human expression. They are philosophers, as Plotinus and St. Denys ; ignorant hermits, as Ruysbrock unlettered women, as St. Theresa or St. Catherine. They
;

live in

modern Paris or mediaeval England, or the story
faintly discerned

of

through the rich web of Eastern tradition ; they are legends of the past, And they travel in our railway carriages with us to-day. yet, in spite of the dissimilarity of their origins, there is a I cannot do better wonderful unanimity in their teaching. than quote an instance of this given by Maeterlink, in his
preface to Ruysbrock s
"

their lives can be but

elles

"

:

L Ornement des Noces SpirituRuysbrock distinguishes three kinds of lives the
"

:

active, the internal,

and the superessential. The Gnostics distinguish between the spirit, the soul, and the material

INTRODUCTION
life,

n
:

and divide men
;

spiritual

material.

the pneumatic, or or and the hylic, or psychic, animiques ; Plotinus also distinguishes in the soul the intelli the

into three classes

gence, the reasonable soul, and the animal nature.

The
of the

Zohar distinguishes between

spirit,

soul,

and

life

senses ; and, in both systems, as in Ruysbrock, the relation of the three principles is explained by a procession compared to an irradiation followed by the theory of the Divine

meeting
to

:

God

entering us from within outwards,
&c."

we going

him from without inwards, The words of the No religion, as has been said mystics never grow old. above, has the monopoly of mysticism, for a system of life

is

religion

only religious in so far as it is mystical. professed which should fall short of mysticism would be at best a system of high ethics of more or less psychological
it

A

value,

which
of the

according to the accuracy of the observations on When the religious evolution of might be based.
the Incarnation of the Second Person

man was crowned by
Holy

Trinity, mysticism received the countersign of The law of the human spirit s that tremendous Mystery.

Cleanness of heart was approach to God was not altered. no new condition for the Blessed Vision. The Christian Church has given us additional motives and sanctions, and,
in the central doctrine of Christ s Mediation, a remedy, at once, for sinfulness and moral helplessness, while the sacra
efficacious

mental system, culminating in the Mass, supplies a divinely but the soul s personal hygiene of the soul
;

God can follow no other path than that traced for it by its own intimate constitution. It was the fashion in the last century among superficial critics of religion, and remains so among their descendants
ascent to
to-day, to regard the magnificent debates which agitated the early Christian Church as so many examples of the

perverse and futile subtlety of the decadent Greek intel A naive appeal to common sense has always been lect.
the

beloved

disguise

of a

certain

kind of obscurantist.

Yet the early heresies were by no means in the first place intellectual theories, they were primarily mystical their theories being formed to meet their emotional require;

12

THE DIALOGUE OF
being,
in
this,

ST.

CATHERINE
of the

merits,

inverse

instances

law of

theological

was

There development, Lex orandi, lex credendi. comparatively little difference, so far as theoretical
;

statement went, between the religion of Bardesanes of Edessa and Catholicism yet who does not see that the motive-power of the schismatic Gnostic was pride resulting in a scornful isolation from the multitudes plunged in darkness, whereas Catholicism is nothing if not "hylic" The God-idea and not the religion of universal love ? the Self-idea being in the Christian scheme the centre of the soul s mystical periphery (from which it follows that
love, not

knowledge,

is

the primary condition of Christian

mysticism), heresy may be defined as a centrifugal tendency of the human spirit which in reaction tends to replace the The idea under true centre God by the false centre self.

which this tendency is disguised, varies indefinitely from Arius to Luther, but the tendency is always the same ; like
the
evil spirit
this,

in

the Gospel

More than

the particular

story its name is Legion. doctrine under which the

heretical tendency succeeds at one time in disguising itself, though false at the time in its strained relation to the whole body of truth, may, at a future date, when reduced to its proper relation, be assimilated by Catholic theology, and become a legitimate and guaranteed form of expression of

the

truth.

"Thus

Christianity

grew
all

in

its
it

proportions,

gaining aliment and medicine from

near, yet preserving its original type, from its perception and its love of what had been revealed once for all, and was no private

that

came

imagination"

(Newman,

"Development

of Christian

Doctrine,"

P- 359)-

The

ception and

original basis of Christianity was then per love, aliment and medicine, in other words

dogmatic expansion,

and ever increasing clearness and statement came largely from its Not only the Hebrew contact with its environment. Scriptures, but the whole religious experience of man forms the subject-matter out of which the Church elaborates in the light of the Incarnation, according to the needs of the ages,
correctness of theoretic

her dogmatic system. To it Plato has contributed as well as Moses. The beloved disciple of Jesus wrote his Gospel in

INTRODUCTION

13

the language of a Platonician, and his Apocalypse in the symbolism of the Kabbala. Yet the eagle of mystical truth was not to be the Vicar of Christ. That high office was

reserved for the Apostle who in the moment of trial had These things are significant. denied his Lord with an oath. Our religion, regarded from the point of view of historical

development, is the fulfilment and completion of Judaism ; but from the point of view of mental development it The is seen to be the fulfilment of very much more.
Areopagite did not cease to be a Platonist when he became a Christian ; the greater part of the Divine Names might
It was partly the very have been written by Plotinus. the more immediate devotional and of aim, partly identity Church of the youthful needs requiring dogma for their the Alexandrian Neoplatonists aliens expression, that kept

from the Christian organisation. The sacred fire, relighted by Plotinus, Porphyry and Jamblichus, was to pass into the veins of the great rival of Neoplatonism, the inheritor, according to ancient promise, of the ends of the earth.
Justin Martyr, the first of the philosophic Fathers, sees in Socrates a manifestation of the Logos, and expounds the
doctrines
;

of the
in

regeneration

of man, freedom Platonist terms ; and
fall

of

the will, and St. Clement of

Alexandria finally baptized the permanent truth contained
in the Platonic traditions.

Apart from the interest of the subject for those who live the themselves would apart also from its histori cal value as a momentous chapter of the book of human
life,"

experience, the study of mysticism is especially necessary for those who concern themselves with the analysis of human consciousness. The desire for ecstasy is at the very root and

This craving, when bound down by heart of our nature. the animal instincts, meets us on every side in those hateful contortions of the social organism called the dram-shop and
the brothel.
art,
It is

needless to point out

its

connection with

and even with the most abstract processes of philo Human life is informed at every stage by sophic thought. this desire of ecstasy, of self-escape into something higher. Mysticism alone affords to those favoured beings who are

14

THE DIALOGUE OF
in

ST.
for

CATHERINE
its

competent

brain

and

will

ardours a true and

Neither the sensual nor lasting realisation of this desire. the sentimental life can do so, for nature or society con stantly throws us by illnesses or laws on the hither or
In the Divine Life farther side of its perfect realisation. alone, whether of the metaphysical intellect, or of the love There are no of God, are we sure of ultimate success.

The resistances in the world of the Eternal. famous words of St. Augustine do but express the ele mentary law of psychology: "Thou hast made us for Mysti Thyself, and our hearts faint until they find Thee." cism, then, places in the clear relief of logical and final And this is expression this important law of our nature. Our consciousness replies much. But it does more also. to the touch of a God, as it does to no other stimulus, At the Divine call the soul yields sentimental or passional.
organic

up her dearest
It is

secrets.

otherwise with the phenomena of sexual love, which seem to have been thought by the naturalists to contain the

And this for whole gamut of psychological possibility. two main reasons. Firstly, because the stimulus of desire, the transformation of which into unselfish love is never
anything but the transient delusion of the imagination, leaves the depths of our nature unexplored, so that what looks like clarity is often nothing but shallowness ; and, secondly, on account of the attitude of ruse and sex-combat
utterly confusing the real issues involved, which the in herited laws of our species impose on these phenomena as More can be learnt of the intricacies their vital condition.

our interior life, of the inter-connection and mutual dependence of psychic states," from St. Theresa or St. Catherine than from Zola or Wundt. It is as though our soul were a parchment which only reveals the tiniest wrinkles and scratches on its surface when stretched and
of
"

strained to the uttermost

by the Divine Hand.
is

The Dialogue

of Saint Catherine of Siena, which

here

offered to the English reader for the first time in his own language, was dictated to her secretaries by the Saint in

INTRODUCTION
ecstasy.

15

Apart from the extraordinary circumstances of its production, this work has a special interest. The composition of the Siennese dyer s daughter, whose will, purified and sublimated by prayer, imposed itself on Popes and Princes, is an almost unique specimen of what ecclesiastical A word of mysticism. may be called explanation will render clear the writer s meaning. Most of the great mystics, such as Tauler, Suso, St. John
"
"

of the Cross, consider the ecclesiastical dogmata as granted, and concern themselves but little with the loci theologici of

To their introverted vision the varied rays their doctrine. of theological expression are fused in the white heat of the Godhead directly contemplated. Not indeed that they are in any sense of the word un-Catholic, but that being
occupied almost exclusively with the sublime as distinguished from the ordinary processes of the spiritual life, their

terminology is as special as the experiences they attempt to relate are abnormal.
Catholic dogma, on the other hand, is the collective form of truth necessary for the salvation of all, and therefore
stated in terms intelligible to all, developed in expression through the ages of the Church s existence, proposed on her

supreme and ever-present authority, and
"

ratified to us

by the

perpetual

assistance

"

of the promised Paraclete.

The
call

last verse of that magnificent hymn which we mis the Athanasian Creed contains the proposition (to be

received of course with the limitations necessarily belonging to such a composition) that without the Catholic Faith no man can be saved. But a man may very well be saved ^

without understanding a single word of St. John of the
Cross.
special value of St. Catherine s fact that from first to last it is nothing

The

"

Dialogo,"

lies in

the

more than a mystical

exposition of the creeds taught to every child in the Catholic The saint s insight penetrates every turn of poor-schools. the well-worn path that we must all humbly tread until we reach the last point of solid earth whence we can take
flight into the

Platonic JEther

where subject and object are

one in the Ineffable Essence.

And

wonderful that insight

16

THE DIALOGUE OF
;
"

ST.

CATHERINE

sometimes
"

is how subtle the analysis of the state of the who loves God for his own pleasure or man worldly The special snares of the devout are cut through profit keen the logic of one who has experienced and triumphed by
!

over them.
the
"

Terrible, again, is the retribution prophesied to

And

unworthy ministers of the Blood." so every well-known form of Christian
is

life,

healthy

or parasitic,

treated

of,

detailed,

analysed incisively,

remorselessly, and then subsumed under the general concep tion of God s infinite loving-kindness and mercy.

The

point what

own

great mystics having usually taken as their startingto most is the goal hardly to be reached, their treatment of the preliminary stages of spirituality is

Compare, for instance, frequently conventional and jejune. the first book with the two succeeding ones, of Ruysbrock s
"

Ornement des Noces

Spirituelles,"

the Christian Platonician.

Another

that unique breviary of result of their having

done so

is that, with certain noble exceptions, the literature of this subject has fallen into the hands of a class of writers, or rather purveyors, well intentioned, no doubt, but not endowed with the higher spiritual or mental faculties, whom
it is

Such works,
sale in the

not unfair to describe as the feuilletonistes of piety. brightly bound, are appropriately exposed for

Roman shop windows, among

the

gaudy

objets

de religion they so much resemble. To keep healthy and raise the tone of devotional literature is surely an eighth spiritual work of mercy. St. Philip Neri s advice in the matter was
to prefer those writers In the title of Saint.

whose names were preceded by the
"
"

we have a great saint, one of the most extraordinary women who ever lived, treat ing, in a manner so simple and familiar, at times, as to become
Dialogo
almost colloquial, of the elements of practical Christianity. Passages occur frequently of lofty eloquence and also of

such literary perfection that this book is held by critics to be one of the classics of the age and land which produced Boccaccio and Petrarch. To-day in the streets of Siena the same Tuscan idiom can be heard, hardly altered since the

days of

St. Catherine.
life

Of

the Saint s public

this is not the place to speak,

INTRODUCTION
and her

17

interior life, in such of its stages as she was per mitted to reveal, is amply detailed in the following pages. will find the Readers who are interested in her "legend
"

admirably treated in Augusta Theodosia Drane s History of St. Catherine of Siena," the only English life of the Saint written with any comprehension of the subject ; but historical knowledge of St. Catherine has little to do
matter
"

with the science to be learnt from her mystical experiences. One word as to the translation. I have almost always
followed the text of Gigli, a learned Siennese ecclesiastic, who edited the complete works of St. Catherine in the last cen
tury.

Once
editor.

the latest edition printed of the Dialogo." or twice I have preferred the cinquecento Venetian
is
"

His

My aim

has been to translate as

literally as possible,

to preserve the characteristic rythm of the sentences so suggestive in its way of the sing-song
at the

and

same time

articulation of the Siennese of to-day.style as such
;

St.

Catherine has no

she introduces a metaphor and forgets it ; the sea, a vine, and a plough will often appear in the same sen In such cases I have tence, sometimes in the same phrase.
occasionally taken the liberty of adhering to the first simile when the confusion of metaphor in the original involves

hopeless obscurity of expression.
April 30, 1895.
Feast of
St. Catherine of Siena.

THE

DIALOGUE OF ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.
CHAPTER
I.

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

How

a

soul, elevated

by desire of the honour of God, and of the

salvation of her neighbours, exercising herself in humble prayer, after she had seen the union of the soul, through love, with God, asked of God four requests.

THE

soul,

for the

who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire honour of God and the salvation of souls, begins
herself, for

a certain space of time, in the ordinary virtues, remaining in the cell of self-knowledge, in order to know better the goodness of God towards her. This she does because knowledge must precede love, and

by exercising

only

when she has

attained love, can she strive to follow

But, in no way, does of receive such a taste the creature the truth, or so brilliant as means of humble and continuous a light therefrom, by

and

to clothe herself with the truth.

knowledge of herself and of God ; because prayer, exercising her in the above way, unites
prayer,

founded
the

on

with

God

soul that follows the footprints
affection,

of Christ

Crucified, and thus, by desire and
love,

makes her another Himself. have meant this, when He said Me and will observe My commandment, will I manifest My self; and he shall be one thing with Me and I with him.
:

and union of Christ would seem to To him who will love

In several places we find similar words, by which we can see that it is, indeed, through the effect of love, that the soul

becomes another Himself.

That

this

may

be seen more

20

THE DIALOGUE OF
mention what
I

ST.

CATHERINE

clearly, I will

remember having heard from

a handmaid of God, namely, that, when she was lifted up in prayer, with great elevation of mind, God was not

wont to He had

conceal, from the eye of her intellect, the love which for His servants, but rather to manifest it and, that among other things, He used to say : Open the eye
;
"

of thy intellect, and gaze into Me, and thou shalt see the beauty of My rational creature. And look at those creatures

who, among the beauties which I have given to the soul, creating her in My image and similitude, are clothed with the nuptial garment (that is the garment of love), adorned with many virtues, by which they are united with Me And yet I tell thee, if thou shouldest ask through love. who these are, I should reply" (said the sweet and Me, amorous Word of God) they are another Myself, inasmuch as they have lost and denied their own will, and are clothed with Mine, are united to Mine, are conformed to Mine."
"

It is

God by

therefore true, indeed, that the soul unites herself with the affection of love.

So, that soul, wishing to manfully, and
lifting

know and

follow the truth
herself

more
she

her desires

first for

for

a soul could not be of use, whether in doctrine, example, or prayer, to her neighbour, if she did not first profit herself, that is, if she did not acquire virtue
considered
that
in

herself

Eternal Father.

addressed four requests to the Supreme and The first was for herself ; the second for
;

the reformation of the

prayer for the

Holy Church the third a general whole world, and in particular for the peace of Christians who rebel, with much lewdness and persecution^ against the Holy Church ; in the fourth and last, she be
the

sought

Divine Providence to

provide

for

things in

general, and

in particular, for a certain case with

which she

was concerned.

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

21

CHAPTER
How

II

the desire of this soul grew when God showed her the neediness of the world.

THIS desire was great and continuous, but grew much more, when the First Truth showed her the neediness of the world, And and in what a tempest of offence against God it lay. she had understood this the better from a letter, which she had received from the spiritual Father of her soul, in which he explained to her the penalties and intolerable dolour caused by offences against God, and the loss of souls, and
the persecutions of Holy Church. All this lighted the fire of her holy desire with grief for the offences, and with the joy of the lively hope, with which

she waited for

God to provide against such great evils. the soul since seems, in such communion, sweetly to And, bind herself fast within herself and with God, and knows
better

His

truth,

inasmuch as the soul

is

God
fish,

in the soul, as the fish is in the sea,

then in God, and and the sea in the

she desired the arrival of the morning (for the morrow feast of Mary) in order to hear Mass. And, when the morning came, and the hour of the Mass, she sought with anxious desire her accustomed place ; and, with a great

was a

knowledge of

herself, being ashamed of her own imperfection, to be the cause of all the evil that was herself to appearing

happening throughout the world, conceiving a hatred and displeasure against herself, and a feeling of holy justice, with which knowledge, hatred, and justice, she purified the stains which seemed to her to cover her guilty soul,
she said
"

:

O

Eternal Father,

I

accuse myself before Thee,
for

in order that
finite life,

Thou mayest punish me

my

sins in this

and, inasmuch as my sins are the cause of the which my neighbour must endure, I implore Thee, sufferings in Thy kindness, to punish them in my person."

22

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How
finite

III.

works are not

sufficient for

punishment or recompense

without the perpetual affection of love.

THEN, the Eternal Truth, seized and drew more strongly to Himself her desire, doing as He did in the Old Testament, for when the sacrifice was offered to God, a fire descended and drew to Him the sacrifice that was acceptable to Him ; so did the sweet Truth to that soul, in sending down the
fire

fice

of the clemency of the Holy Spirit, seizing the sacri of desire that she made of herself, saying Dost
"

:

thou not know, dear daughter, that all the sufferings, which the soul endures, or can endure, in this life, are insufficient

punish one smallest fault, because the offence, being done Me, who am the Infinite Good, calls for an infinite satisfaction ? However, I wish that thou shouldest know,
to
to

that not all the pains that are given to men in this life are given as punishments, but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when he offends ; though it is true that both the guilt

and the penalty can be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is, by true contrition, not through the finite pain endured, but through the infinite desire because God, Who is infinite, wishes for infinite love and infinite grief. Infinite grief I wish from My creature in two ways in one way, through her sorrow for her own sins, which she has committed against Me her Creator in the other way, through her sorrow for the sins which she sees her neighbours commit against Of such as these, inasmuch as they have infinite Me. desire, that is, are joined to me by an affection of love, and
;
:

;

therefore grieve
their

when they

every pain,
it

wherever
for a
their

may

offend Me, or see Me offended, spiritual or corporeal, from come, receives infinite merit, and satisfies

whether

which deserved an works are finite and done in
guilt

infinite
finite

penalty, although time ; but, inasmuch

as they possess the virtue of desire, and sustain their suffer

ing with desire, and contrition, and infinite displeasure Paul explained against their guilt, their pain is held worthy.

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
this

23

the tongues of angels, and if I and of future gave my body to be burned, and have not love, it would be worth nothing to me. The thus shows that finite not are works glorious Apostle

when he

said

:

If I had

knew

the things

the

valid, either as punishment or recompense, without condiment of the affection of love."

the

CHAPTER
How

IV.

desire and contrition of heart satisfies, both for the guilt and the penalty in oneself and in others; and how sometimes it satisfies for the guilt only, and not the penalty.

"

I

HAVE shown

thee, dearest daughter, that the guilt is not
finite

punished in this
purely as such. the pain which

And
is

time by any pain which is sustained I say, that the guilt is punished by endured through the desire, love, and
;

contrition of the heart

virtue of the desire of the

not by virtue of the pain, but by soul ; inasmuch as desire and

is of value, and has life in itself, through Christ crucified, My only begotten Son, in so far as the soul has drawn her love from Him, and virtuously follows His virtues, that is His Footprints. In this way, and, in

every virtue

no other, are virtues of value, and in this way, pains satisfy for the fault, by the sweet and intimate love acquired in
the knowledge of My goodness, and in the bitterness and contrition of heart acquired by knowledge of one s self and
s own thoughts. And this knowledge generates a hatred and displeasure against sin, and against the soul s own sensuality, through which, she deems herself worthy of

one

pains and unworthy of reward." The sweet Truth continued :

"

See how, by contrition of

the heart, together with love, with true patience, and with true humility, deeming themselves worthy of pain and un worthy of reward, such souls endure the patient humility in

which consists

the

above-mentioned satisfaction.
I

Thou

askest me, then, for pains, so that

may

receive satisfaction

24

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

for the offences, which are done against Me by My creatures, and thou further askest the will to know and love Me, Who am the Supreme Truth. Wherefore I reply that this is the way, if thou wilt arrive at a perfect knowledge and enjoy ment of Me, the Eternal Truth, that thou shouldest never

go outside the knowledge of
self in the
thyself,

by humbling thy know Me and from which knowledge thou wilt draw all that is
thyself, and,

valley

of humility,

thou wilt

daughter, can have life in itself and except through charity humility, which is the fostermother and nurse of charity. In self-knowledge, then, thou wilt humble thyself, seeing that, in thyself, thou dost not even exist ; for thy very being, as thou wilt learn, is derived from Me, since I have loved both thee and others before you were in existence and that, through the ineffable love which I had for you, wishing to re-create you to Grace, I have washed you, and re-created you in the Blood of My This only Begotten Son, spilt with so great a fire of love. Blood teaches the truth to him, who, by self-knowledge, dissipates the cloud of self-love, and in no other way can he learn. Then the soul will inflame herself in this know of Me with an ineffable love, through which love she ledge continues in constant pain ; not, however, a pain which afflicts or dries up the soul, but one which rather fattens her for since she has known My truth, and her own faults, and the ingratitude of men, she endures intolerable suffering,
necessary.
virtue,

No

my

;

;

grieving because she loves Me ; for, if she did not love Me, she would not be obliged to do so ; whence it follows
immediately, that
it is

even My way, unto death, many tribulations and injuries and insults in word and deed, for the glory and praise of My Name thus wilt thou endure and suffer pains. Do thou, there
learnt
to sustain,
;

who have

right for thee, truth in this

and

my

other servants

fore,

and

My

patience, with grief for your
for the glory and praise of I will satisfy for thy sins,

other servants, carry yourselves with true sins, and with love of virtue

My Name.
and

If thou actest thus,

for those

of

My

other

servants, inasmuch as the pains which thou wilt endure will be sufficient, through the virtue of love, for satisfaction

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
and reward, both
ance are effaced, didst offend Me.
in thee

25

wilt receive the fruit of life,

and

I

In thyself thou the stains of thy ignor shall not remember that thou ever
in others.

and

when

In others

I will

satisfy through the love

and affection which thou hast to Me, and I will give to them according to the disposition with which they will In particular, to those who dispose them receive My gifts. and with reverence, to receive the doctrine selves, humbly of My servants, will I remit both guilt and penalty, since they will thus come to true knowledge and contrition for their sins. So that, by means of prayer, and their desire of
serving Me, they receive the fruit of grace, receiving it humbly in greater or less degree, according to the extent of their exercise of virtue and grace in general. I say then,

through thy desires, they will receive remission for their See, however, the condition, namely, that their should not be so great in their despair as to con obstinacy
that,

sins.

demn them through contempt
"

of the Blood, Which, with

such sweetness, has restored them.

do they receive ? which I destine for them, constrained by the of prayers My servants, is that I give them light, and that I wake up in them the hound of conscience, and make them smell the odour of virtue, and take delight in the conversa
fruit
"

What
The

fruit

tion of
"

My

servants.
I

show them what it is, so and various passions, they may know how little stability it has, and may come to lift their desire beyond it, and seek their native country, which is the Eternal Life. And so I draw them by these, and by many other ways, for the eye cannot see, nor the tongue relate, nor the heart think, how many are the roads and ways which I use, through love alone, to lead them back to grace, so that My truth may be fulfilled in them. I am con strained to do so by that inestimable love of Mine, by which I created them, and by the love, desire, and grief of My servants, since I am no despiser of their tears, and sweat, and humble prayers rather I accept them, inasmuch as I am He who give them this love for the good of souls and
Sometimes
allow the world to
that,

feeling its diverse

;

26

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

But I do not, in general, grant to these grief for their loss. for whom others, they pray, satisfaction for the penalty due
to them, but, only for their guilt, since they are not dis love, posed, on their side, to receive, with perfect love,

My

and

receive their grief with bitterness, and perfect contrition for the sins they have committed, but with imperfect love and contrition, where
that of

My

servants.

They do not

fore they have not, as others, remission of the penalty, but only of the guilt ; because such complete satisfaction requires

proper dispositions on both sides, both in him that gives
that receives. Wherefore, since they are imperfect, receive they imperfectly the perfection of the desires of those who offer them to Me, for their sakes, with suffering ;

and him

and, inasmuch as I told thee that they do receive remission, this is indeed the truth, that, by that way which I have told
thee, that
is,

by the

light of conscience,

and by other things,

for, beginning to learn, vomit forth the of their sins, and so receive they corruption

satisfaction is

made

for their guilt

;

the gift of grace. These are they
"

who

are in a state of ordinary charity,

wherefore, they have trouble, they receive it in the guise of correction, and do not resist over much the clemency of the Holy Spirit, but, coming out of their sin, they receive the life of grace. But if, like fools, they are ungrateful, and ignore Me and the labours of My servants done for them, that which was given them, through mercy, turns to their own ruin and judgment, not through defect of mercy, nor through defect of him who implored the mercy for the ingrate, but solely through the man s own wretchedness and hardness, with which, with the hands of his free will, he has
if

covered his heart, as it were, with a diamond, which, if it be not broken by the Blood, can in no way be broken. And yet, I say to thee, that, in spite of his hardness of
heart, he can use his free will while he has time, pray ing for the Blood of Son, and let him with his own

My

hand apply It to the and he will receive been paid for him. he has no remedy,

diamond over

his heart

and shiver

it,

the imprint of the Blood Which has But, if he delays until the time be past,

because he has not used the dowry

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
which
I

27

my

gave him, giving him memory so as to remember benefits, intellect, so as to see and know the truth,

affection,

Whom

he

so that he should love Me, the Eternal Truth, would have known through the use of his

This is the dowry which I have given you all, intellect. and which ought to render fruit to Me, the Father but, if a man barters and sells it to the devil, the devil, if he choose, has a right to seize on everything that he has And, filling his memory with the acquired in this life. of and the recollection of shameful pride, with delights sin,
;

avarice, self-love, hatred, and unkindness to his neighbours (being also a persecutor of servants), with these miseries, Let he has obscured his intellect by his disordinate will.

My

such as these receive the eternal pains, with their horrible stench, inasmuch as they have not satisfied for their sins with contrition and displeasure of their guilt. Now, there for guilt thou how satisfies hast understood fore, suffering such and the not finite by perfect contrition, through pain
;

as have this contrition in perfection satisfy not only for the guilt, but also for the penalty which follows the guilt, as I
in general ; and if they that the guilt alone, is, if, having abandoned satisfy mortal sin, they receive grace, and have not sufficient con trition and love to satisfy for the penalty also, they go to

have already said when speaking
for

the pains of Purgatory, passing through last means of satisfaction.
"

the second and

made, through the the Infinite Good, in greater or less degree, according to the measure of love, obtained by the desire and prayer of the recipient. Where fore, with that very same measure with which a man measures to Me, does he receive in himself the measure of My good
seest that satisfaction
is

So thou

desire of the soul united to

Me,

Who am

ness.

Labour, therefore, to increase the fire of thy desire, and let not a moment pass without crying to Me with humble voice, or without continual prayers before Me for I say this to thee and to the father of thy neighbours. Bear your thy soul, whom I have given thee on earth. selves with manful courage, and make yourselves dead to
all

your own

sensuality."

28

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How
4<

V.

very pleasing to

God

is

the willing desire to suffer for Him.

VERY pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear every pain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the more the soul endures, the
;

more she shows that she loves Me loving Me she comes know more of My truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels at the offences committed against Me. Thou didst ask Me to sustain thee, and to punish the faults of others in thee, and thou didst not remark that thou wast really asking for love, light, and
to

knowledge of the truth, since I have already told thee that, by the increase of love, grows grief and pain, wherefore he that grows in love grows in grief. Therefore, I say to you all, that you should ask, and it will be given you, for I deny Consider that nothing to him who asks of Me in truth.
the love of divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without

the other.

For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot

be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear your selves with manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will
ful

not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and faith children, nor of the company of those who relish the

taste of

My

honour, and the salvation of

souls."

CHAPTER
How
"

VI.

every virtue and every defect is obtained by means of our neighbour.

I

is

WISH also that thou shouldest know that every vfrtue obtained by means of thy neighbour, and likewise, every

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
defect, he, therefore,

29

who

stands in hatred of Me, does an

injury to his neighbour, and to himself, who is his own chief neighbour, and this injury is both general and particular.
It is general because you are obliged to love your neigh bour as yourself, and loving him, you ought to help him spiritually, with prayer, counselling him with words, and assisting him both spiritually and temporally, according to the need in which he may be, at least with your goodwill if you have nothing else. A man therefore, who does not love, does not help him, and thereby does himself an injury for he cuts off from himself grace, and injures his neigh bour, by depriving him of the benefit of the prayers and of the sweet desires that he is bound to offer for him to Me. Thus, every act of help that he performs should proceed And from the charity which he has through love of Me. if he means of his is done evil also, neighbour, for, by every
;,

do not love Me, he cannot be in charity with his neighbour ; and thus, all evils derive from the soul s deprivation of love of Me and her neighbour whence, inasmuch as such a man To whom does no good, it follows that he must do evil. First of all to himself, and then to hisdoes he evil ? neighbour, not against Me, for no evil can touch Me, except in so far as I count done to Me that which he does to To himself he does the injury of sin, which himself. him of grace, and worse than this he cannot do to deprives Him he injures in not paying him the debt r his neighbour. he owes which him, of love, with which he ought to help means of him by prayer and holy desire offered to Me for an assistance which is owed in general to This is him.
;

every rational creature but its usefulness is more particular when it is done to those who are close at hand, under your
;

eyes, as to

you are all obliged to help one another by word and doctrine, and the example of good works, and in every other respect in which your neighbour may be seen to be in need counselling him exactly as youwould yourselves, without any passion of self-love ; and he (a man not loving God) does not do this, because he has no love towards his neighbour; and, by not doing it, he does And he does him evil,. him, as thou seest, a special injury.

whom,

I

say,

;

30

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

not only by not doing him the good that he might do him, but by doing him a positive injury and a constant evil. In
this

way

sin causes a physical
is

and a mental

injury.

The

already done when the sinner has conceived pleasure in the idea of sin, and hatred of virtue, that is, pleasure from sensual self-love, which has deprived him of

mental injury

the affection of love which he ought to have towards Me,
.and his neighbour, as has been said. And, after he has conceived, he brings forth one sin after another against his

neighbour, according to the diverse ways which may please his Sometimes it is seen that he brings perverse sensual will.

and in particular. see himself and other creatures His general cruelty in danger of death and damnation through privation of grace, and so cruel is he that he reminds neither himself nor others of the love of virtue and hatred of vice. Being thus cruel he may wish to extend his cruelty still further, that is, not content with not giving an example of virtue, the villain
forth cruelty,
"

and that both

in general

is to

his

also usurps the office of the demons, tempting, according to power, his fellow-creatures to abandon virtue for vice ;

this is cruelty towards his neighbours, for he makes himself an instrument to destroy life and to give death. Cruelty towards the body has its origin in cupidity, which, not only prevents a man from helping his neighbour, but causes him
-to

goods of others, robbing the poor creatures ; done by the arbitrary use of power, and at other times by cheating and fraud, his neighbour being forced to redeem, to his own loss, his own goods, and often
seize the

sometimes

this is

indeed his
"

own

person.
cruelty,
it

which will deprive the mercy, unless he turn to kind ness and benevolence towards his neighbour
Oh, miserable vice of
practises

man who
"

of

all

!

Sometimes the sinner brings forth insults on which sometimes also impurity against the often follows murder person of his neighbour, by which he becomes a brute beast full of stench, and in this case he does not poison one only, but whoever approaches him, with love or in conversation, is
;

poisoned.
"

Against

whom

does pride bring forth evils

?

Against

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

31

the neighbour, through love of one s own reputation, whence comes hatred of the neighbour, reputing one s self to be greater than he ; and in this way is injury done to him.

And
men.

if

a

man be
and

injustice

in a position of authority, he produces also cruelty and becomes a retailer of the flesh of

Oh, dearest daughter, grieve for the offence against Me, and weep over these corpses, so that, by prayer, the bands of their death may be loosened See now, that, in all places and in all kinds of people, sin is always produced against the neighbour, and through in no other way could sin ever be committed his medium
!
"

;

either secret or open. your neighbour of that

A

secret sin is

when you

deprive

open have
the

to give him ; an sin is where you perform positive acts of sin, as I It is, therefore, indeed the truth that related to thee.

which you ought

every sin done against Me,
neighbour."

is

done through the medium of

CHAPTER
How
i(

VII.

virtues are accomplished by means of our neighbour, and it is that virtues differ to such an extent in creatures.

how

I

HAVE

told thee

how

all

sins are accomplished

by means

of thy neighbour, through the principles which I exposed to thee, that is, because men are deprived of the affection of

In the same way which gives light to every virtue. and affection towards the self-love, which destroys charity neighbour, is the principle and foundation of every evil. All scandals, hatred, cruelty, and every sort of trouble proceed from this perverse root of self-love, which has poisoned the entire world, and weakened the mystical body of the Holy Church, and the universal body of the believers
love,

in the Christian religion
it

;

and, therefore,

I

was

in the neighbour, that is to

say

in the love

said to thee, that of him,
I

that

all

virtues

were founded

;

and, truly indeed did

say

to thee, that charity gives life to all the virtues, because

no

32

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
which
is

virtue can be obtained without charity,

the pure

love of Me.

Wherefore, when the soul knows herself, as we have said above, she finds humility and hatred of her own sensual passion, for, she learns the perverse law, which is bound up in her members, and which ever fights against the spirit.
"

And,

therefore, arising with hatred
it

of her

own

sensuality,,

under the heel of reason, with great earnestness, crushing she discovers in herself the bounty of My goodness, through the many benefits which she has received from Me, all of which she considers again in herself. She attributes to Me, through humility, the knowledge which she has obtained of herself, knowing that, by My grace, I have drawn her out of darkness and lifted her up into the light When she has recognised My good of true knowledge. loves it she without ness, any medium, and yet at the same time with a medium, that is to say, without the medium of herself or of any advantage accruing to herself, and with the medium of virtue, which she has conceived through love of Me, because she sees that, in no other way, can she become grateful and acceptable to Me, but by conceiving, hatred of sin and love of virtue ; and, when she has thus conceived by the affection of love, she immediately is delivered of fruit for her neighbour, because, in no other way, can she act out the truth she has conceived in herself, but, loving Me in truth, in the same truth she serves her
neighbour.
"

And

it

cannot be otherwise, because love of

Me

and of

her neighbour are one and the same thing, and, so far as the soul loves Me, she loves her neighbour, because love

This is the means which 1 towards him issues from Me. that have given you, you may exercise and prove your virtue therewith ; because, inasmuch as you can do Me noThis proves profit, you should do it to your neighbour.

.

you possess Me by grace in your soul, producing much fruit for your neighbour and making prayers to Me, seeking* with sweet and amorous desire My honour and the salvaThe soul, enamoured of My truth, never tion of souls. to serve the whole world in general, and more or ceases
that

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

33

less in a particular case according to the disposition of the

recipient

shown above, when
a
fault.
"

and the ardent desire of the donor, as I have I declared to thee that the endurance of

suffering alone, without desire,

was not

sufficient to

punish

she has discovered the advantage of this unitive by means of which, she truly loves herself, her desire for the salvation of the whole world, extending thus coming to the aid of its neediness, she strives,
love in Me,

When

inasmuch as she has done good to herself by the conception of virtue, from which she has drawn the life of grace, to fix her eye on the needs of her neighbour in particular. Wherefore, when she has discovered, through the affection
of love, the state of all rational creatures in general, she helps those who are at hand, according to the various graces

which

I have entrusted to her to administer ; one she helps with doctrine, that is, with words, giving sincere counsel without any respect of persons, another with the example of a good life, and this indeed all give to their neighbour,

the edification of a holy and honourable life. These are the virtues, and many others, too many to enumerate, which are brought forth in the love of the neighbour; but, although

way, that is to say virtue, and to another, is that it it so another, impossible to have one, happens all the virtues are bound because without having them all, in Wherefore, learn, that, together. many cases I give one of the others, that is to virtue, to be as it were the chief say, to one I will give principally love, to another justice, to another humility, to one a lively faith, to another prudence or temperance, or patience, to another fortitude. These, and
I

have given them in such a
all

different

not

to one,

but

to

one, one

many

other virtues,
;

I

place, indifferently, in the souls of many

happens, therefore, that the particular one so placed in the soul becomes the principal object of its virtue; the soul disposing herself, for her chief conversation, to this
creatures
it

rather than to other virtues, and, by the effect of this virtue, the soul draws to herself all the other virtues, which, as has

been said, are all bound together in the affection of love ; and so with many gifts and graces of virtue, and not only
c

34

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

I use in the case of spiritual things but also of temporal. to the the word temporal for the things necessary physical

life

of

man

;

all

these

I

not placed them all in perforce, have material for love of his fellow.

have given indifferently, and I have one soul, in order that man should,
I

could easily

have created men possessed of all that they should need both for body and soul, but I wish that one should have need of the other, and that they should be My ministers to
administer the graces and the gifts that they have received from Me. Whether man will or no, he cannot help making

an

act of love.

It

is

true,

however, that that

act,

unless

made through
grace
is

love of Me, profits him nothing so far as concerned. See then, that I have made men My

ministers, and placed them in diverse stations and various ranks, in order that they may make use of the virtue of love.

Wherefore, I show you that in My house are many mansions, and that I wish for no other thing than love, for
"

Me is fulfilled and completed the love of the and the law observed. For he, only, can be of neighbour, use in his state of life, who is bound to Me with this love."
in the love of

CHAPTER
How
virtues are proved

VIII.

and

fortified

by

their contraries.

"Up to the present, I have taught thee how a man may serve his neighbour, and manifest, by that service, the love which he has towards Me.
"

Now

I

wish

to tell thee further, that a

man proves

his

patience on his neighbour, him.
"

when he

receives injuries from

Similarly, he proves his humility on a proud man, his faith on an infidel, his true hope on one who despairs,
justice on the unjust, his kindness on his gentleness and benignity on the irascible. produce and prove all their virtues on their

his

the

cruel,

Good men
neighbour, con-

just as

perverse

men

all

their vices; thus, if thou

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE

35

The sider well, humility is proved on pride in this way. humble man extinguishes pride, because a proud man can do no harm to a humble one neither can the infidelity
;

of a wicked man,

who

neither loves Me, nor hopes in

Me,

when brought
him any harm

forth against one who is faithful to Me, do his infidelity does not diminish the faith ;

or the hope of him who has conceived his faith and hope through love of Me, it rather fortifies it, and proves it in
the love he feels for his neighbour. For, he sees that the infidel is unfaithful, because he is without hope in Me, and
in

My

faith

and hope rather

servant, because he does not love Me, placing his in his own sensuality, which is all

that he loves.

My

faithful

servant does not leave him

because he does not faithfully love Me, or because he does not constantly seek, with hope in Me, for his salvation, inasmuch as he sees clearly the causes of his infidelity and

The virtue of faith is proved in these and lack of hope. other ways. Wherefore, to those, who need the proof of it, My servant proves his faith in himself and in his neighbour, and so, justice is not diminished by the wicked man s
injustice,

but

is

rather

proved,

that

is

to

say,

the

justice of a just man.

benignity, and wrath by the

Similarly, the virtues of patience, kindness manifest themselves in a time of

envy, vexation

same sweet patience in My servants, and and hatred demonstrate their love, and
for the salvation of souls.
is
I

hunger and desire

say, also,

to thee, that, not only

virtue proved in those

who

render

good

times a good man gives back which coals of love, dispel the hatred and rancour fiery and so from hatred often comes of heart of the angry,
for evil, but, that

many

by virtue of the love and which who sustains the anger of If thou wilt the wicked, bearing and supporting his defects. observe the virtues of fortitude and perseverance, these virtues are proved by the long endurance of the injuries and detractions of wicked men, who, whether by injuries or by flattery, constantly endeavour to turn a man aside from following the road and the doctrine of truth. Wherefore,
is

benevolence, and that this
perfect patience

is in him,

in

all

these things, the virtue of fortitude conceived within

36

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

the soul, perseveres with strength, and, in addition proves itself externally upon the neighbour, as I have said to thee ;
and,
if

fortitude

were not able

to

make

that
it

itself, being tested by many contrarieties, serious virtue founded in truth."

good proof of would not be a

CHAPTER
How the

IX.

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
affection should not place reliance chiefly on penance, but rather on virtues and how discretion receives life from humility, and renders to each man his due.
;

"

THESE are the holy and sweet works which
servants
;

I

seek from

My

soul, as I

these are the proved intrinsic virtues of the have told thee. They not only consist of those

virtues

which are done by means of the body, that is, with an exterior act, or with diverse and varied penances, which are the instruments of virtue ; works of penance per formed alone without the above-mentioned virtues would
please

Me little often, indeed, if the soul perform not her penance with discretion, that is to say, if her affection be placed principally in the penance she has undertaken, her perfection will be impeded ; she should rather place reliance on the affection of love, with a holy hatred of herself, accompanied by true humility and perfect patience, together with the other intrinsic virtues of the soul, with hunger and desire for My honour and the salvation of souls. For these virtues demonstrate that the will is dead, and con
;

tinually slays its own sensuality through the affection of With this discretion, then, should the soul love of virtue.

perform her penance, that is, she should place her principal Penance should affection in virtue rather than in penance. be but the means to increase virtue according to the needs
of the individual, and according to what the soul sees she can do in the measure of her own possibility. Otherwise,
if

the soul place her foundation on penance she will con-

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
taminate her

37
will not

own

perfection, because her

penance

of knowledge of herself and of My goodness, with discretion, and she will not seize hold of My truth ; neither loving that which I love, nor hating that

be done in the

light

This virtue of discretion is no other than a true knowledge which the soul should have of herself and Discretion of Me, and in this knowledge is virtue rooted. is the only child of self-knowledge, and, wedding with charity, has indeed many other descendants, as a tree which has many 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 is the foster-mother and nurse of charity, by whose means this tree remains in the perpetual Because otherwise the tree would not calm of discretion.

which

I

hate.

produce the virtue of discretion, or any fruit of life, if it were not planted in the virtue of humility, because humility And I have already said to proceeds from self-knowledge.
thee, that the root of discretion is a real

knowledge of

self

goodness, by which the soul immediately, and discreetly, renders to each one his due. Chiefly to Me in

and of

My

rendering praise and glory to My Name, and in referring to Me the graces and the gifts which she sees and knows she has received from Me ; and rendering to herself that which

she sees herself to have merited, knowing that she does not even exist of herself, and attributing to Me, and not to
herself,

her being, which she knows she has received by

grace from Me, and every other grace which she has received
besides.

she seems to herself to be ungrateful for so many and negligent, in that she has not made the most of her time, and the graces she has received, and so seems to herself worthy of suffering wherefore she becomes odious and displeasing to herself through her guilt. And this founds the virtue of discretion on knowledge of self, that is on true humility, for, were this humility not in the soul, the soul would be indiscreet, indiscretion being founded on pride, as discretion is on humility. An indiscreet soul robs Me of the honour due to Me, and attributes it to herself, through vain glory, and that which is
"

And

benefits,

;

"

38
really her

THE DIALOGUE OF
own she imputes

ST.

CATHERINE

concerning in those of

My My

to Me, grieving and murmuring mysteries, with which I work in her soul and other creatures ; wherefore everything in Me

and

Contrari in her neighbour is cause of scandal to her. wise those who possess the virtue of discretion. For, when they have rendered what is due to Me and to themselves, they proceed to render to their neighbour their principal debt of love, and of humble and continuous prayer, which all should pay to each other, and further, the debt of doctrine,

and example of a holy and honourable life, counselling and helping others according to their needs for salvation, as I said to thee above. Whatever rank a man be in, whether that
of a noble, a prelate, or a servant,

thing that he does to his neighbour lovingly, because these virtues are
together, and both planted in

he have this virtue, every is done discreetly and bound and mingled the ground of humility which
if

proceeds from

self-knowledge."

CHAPTER
A
"

X.
;

parable showing how love, humility, and discretion are united and how the soul should conform herself to this parable.

DOST thou know how these three virtues stand together ? as if a circle were drawn on the surface of the earth, and a tree, with an off-shoot joined to its side, grew in the
It is,

centre of the circle.

The

tree is nourished in the earth

circle, for if the tree were would die, and give no fruit. Now, consider, in the same way, that the soul is a tree existing by love, and that it can live by nothing else than love ;

contained in the diameter of the

out of the earth

it

and, that if this soul have not in very truth the divine love of perfect charity, she cannot produce fruit of life, but only
It is necessary then, that the root of this tree, that is the affection of the soul, should grow in, and issue from the circle of true self-knowledge which is contained in

of death.

Me,

Who

have neither beginning nor end,

like the

circum-

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
ference of the circle,
for,

39
circle,

turn as thou wilt within a

inasmuch as the circumference has neither end nor begin ning, thou always remainest within it. This knowledge of thyself and of Me is found in the earth of true humility, which is as wide as the diameter of the circle, that is as the knowledge of self and of Me, (for, otherwise, the circle would not be without end and beginning, but would have its beginning in knowledge of self, and its end in confusion, if this knowledge were not contained in Then the tree of love feeds itself on humility, Me). bringing forth from its side the off-shoot of true discretion, in the way that I have already told thee, from the heart of the tree, that is the affection of love which is in the soul, and the patience, which proves that I am in the soul and the soul in Me. This tree then, so sweetly planted, pro duces fragrant blossoms of virtue, with many scents of great variety, inasmuch as the soul renders fruit of grace and of utility to her neighbour, according to the zeal of those who come to receive fruit from My servants and to Me she renders the sweet odour of glory and praise to My Name, and so fulfils the object of her creation. In this way, therefore, she reaches the term of her being,
"

;

"

that is Myself, her
fruits

God,

Who am

Eternal Life.

And

these

cannot be taken from her without her will, inasmuch as they are all flavoured with discretion, because they are
all

united, as has been said

above."

CHAPTER
How penance
ments
the soul
;

XI.

for arriving at virtue,

and other corporal exercises are to be taken as instru and not as the principal affection of and of the light of discretion in various other modes

and operations.
"

THESE are the

fruits

and the works which

I

seek from the

soul,

the proving, namely, of virtue in the time of need.
*

And

yet some time ago, if thou remember, when thou wert desirous of doing great penance for My sake, asking, What

40

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

can I do to endure suffering for Thee, oh Lord ? I replied to thee, speaking in thy mind, I take delight in few words and many works/ I wished to show thee that he who

merely
Lord,
for
I

calls

My

Lord on me with the sound of words, saying would do something for Thee, and he, who desires sake to mortify his body with many penances, and
t

:

not his
I

own will, did not give Me much pleasure ; but that desired the manifold works of manly endurance with

patience, together with the other virtues, which I have mentioned to thee above, intrinsic to the soul, all of which must be in activity in order to obtain fruits worthy of

grace.

than

this, I

All other works, founded on any other principle judge to be a mere calling with words, because

they are finite works, and I, Who am Infinite, seek infinite works, that is an infinite perfection of love. I wish therefore that the works of penance, and of other
"

corporal exercises, should be observed merely as means, and not as the fundamental affection of the soul. For, if the affection of the soul were in placed penance, I principal

should receive a
issued from the

finite

mouth,

thing like a word, which, when it has is no more, unless it have issued

with affection of the soul, which conceives and brings forth virtue in truth ; that is, unless the finite operation, which I

have called a word, should be joined with the affection or love, in which case it would be grateful and pleasant to Me. And this is because such a work would not be alone, but
accompanied by true discretion, using corporal works as means, and not as the principal foundation ; for it would not be becoming that that principal foundation should be
placed in penance only, or in any exterior corporal act, such works being finite, since they are done in finite time, and also because it is often profitable that the creature omit them, and even that she be made to do so.

Wherefore, when the soul omits them through necessity, being unable through various circumstances to complete an action which she has begun, or, as may frequently happen, through obedience at the order of her director, it is well ; since, if she continued then to do them, she not only would
"

receive no merit, but

would offend

Me

;

thus thou seest

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

41

She ought, therefore, to adopt that they are merely finite. them as a means, and not as an end. For, if she takes them as an end she will be obliged, some time or other, to leave them, and will then remain empty. This, My trumpeter, the glorious Paul, taught you when he said in his epistle, that you should mortify the body and destroy self-will, knowing, that is to say, how to keep the rein on the body, macerating the flesh whenever it should wish to combat the spirit, but the will should be dead and annihilated in every thing, and subject to My will, and this slaying of the will is that due which, as I told thee, the virtue of discretion renders to the soul, that is to say, hatred and disgust of her own offences and sensuality, which are acquired by selfThis is the knife which slays and cuts off all knowledge. self-love founded in self-will. These then are they who give Me not only words but manifold works, and in these I take delight. And then I said that I desired few words, and many actions by the use of the word many I assign no
;

particular

number
love,

founded in

which gives

to thee, because the affection of the soul, life to all the virtues and good

works, should increase infinitely, and yet I do not, by this, exclude words, I merely said that I wished few of them, showing thee that every actual operation, as such, was finite,
called them of little account but they they are performed as the instruments of virtue, and not as a principal end in themselves. However, no one should judge that he has greater perfec
I
;

and therefore

please
"

Me when

tion,

in excess to the slaying of his body, than

because he performs great penances, and gives himself he who does less,
;

inasmuch as neither virtue nor merit consists therein for otherwise he would be in an evil case, who, from some Merit legitimate reason, was unable to do actual penance.
consists in the virtue of love alone, flavoured with the light of true discretion, without which the soul is worth nothing. And this love should be directed to Me endlessly, bound
lessly, since I

am

the

Supreme and Eternal Truth.

The

soul can therefore place neither laws nor limits to her love for Me ; but her love for her neighbour, on the contrary, is

ordered

in

certain

conditions.

The

light

of

discretion

42

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

(which proceeds from love, as I have told thee) gives to the neighbour a conditioned love, one that, being ordered aright, does not cause the injury of sin to self in order to
be useful to others, for, if one single sin were committed to save the whole world from Hell, or to obtain one great
virtue, the motive

would not be a rightly ordered or dis rather indiscreet, for it is not lawful to perform even one act of great virtue and profit to others, by means of the guilt of sin. Holy discretion ordains that
creet
love, but

the soul should direct

all

her powers to

My

service with a

manly zeal, and, that she should love her neighbour with such devotion that she would lay down a thousand times,
life of her body for the salvation of and torments so that her neighbour souls, enduring pains have life of the may grace, and giving her temporal sub stance for the profit and relief of his body. This is the supreme office of discretion which proceeds from charity. So thou seest how discreetly every soul, who

if it

were

possible, the

"

wishes for grace, should pay her debts, that is, should love Me with an infinite love and without measure, but her neighbour with measure, with a restricted love, as I have
said,

useful to others.

not doing herself the injury of sin in order to be This is St. Paul s counsel to thee when

he says that charity ought to be concerned first with self, otherwise it will never be of perfect utility to others. Because, when perfection is not in the soul, everything which the soul does for itself and for others is imperfect. It would not, therefore, be just that creatures, who are finite and created by Me, should be saved through offence done to Me, Who am the Infinite Good. The more serious the fault is
in such a case, the less fruit will the action produce ; there fore, in no way, shouldest thou ever incur the guilt of sin.
"

And

this true love

knows

well,

because she carries with

herself the light of holy discretion, that light which dissipates all darkness, takes away ignorance, and is the condiment of

every instrument of virtue. Holy discretion is a prudence which cannot be cheated, a fortitude which cannot be beaten, a perseverance from end to end, stretching from Heaven to
earth, that
is,

from knowledge of

Me

to

knowledge of

self,

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
and from love of

43

Me

to love of

others.

And

the soul

escapes dangers by her true humility, and, by her prudence, flies all the nets of the world and, its creatures, and, with

unarmed hands, that is through much endurance, discomfits the devil and the flesh with this sweet and glorious light ;
its

knowing, by it, her due of hatred.
"

own

fragility,

she renders to her weakness

Wherefore she has trampled on the world, and placed it under the feet of her affection, despising it, and holding it And vile, and thus becoming lord of it, holding it as folly. the men of the world cannot take her virtues from such a soul, but all their persecutions increase her virtues and prove them, which virtues have been at first conceived by the virtue of love, as has been said, and then are proved on her neighbour, and bring forth their fruit on him. Thus have I shown thee, that, if virtue were not visible and did not shine in the time of trial, it would not have been truly conceived ; for, I have already told thee, that perfect virtue cannot exist and give fruit except by means of the neigh bour, even as a woman, who has conceived a child, if she

do not bring it forth, so that it may appear before the eyes of men, deprives her husband of his fame of paternity. It is the same with Me, am the Spouse of the soul, if

Who

she do not produce the child of virtue, in the love of her neighbour, showing her child to him who is in need, both in
general and in particular, as I have said to thee before, so I declare now that, in truth, she has not conceived virtue at
all;

and

this is also true

of the

vices, all

of which are

committed by means of the

neighbour."

CHAPTER
A

XII.

repetition of several things already said, and how God promises refreshments to His servants, and the reformation of the Holy

Church, together with the means of much endurance.
"

Now

thee,

thou seest that I, the Truth, have spoken truth to and have given thee the doctrine by which thou mayest

44
attain

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

and preserve great perfection ; and I have also declared to thee, in what way satisfaction is made, both for the guilt and the penalty, in thyself and in thy neighbour,
saying to thee that the sufferings sustained by the creature, while in the mortal body, are not, of themselves, a sufficient expiation for the fault and the pain due to it, unless they
are combined with the affection of love, and true contrition and displeasure of sin ; for, when suffering is combined

with love

it

satisfies,

not by virtue of the actual suffering

endured, but by virtue of the love and the grief for sin committed, which love is obtained by the light of the
intellect,
its object,

with a pure and generous heart gazing at Me, as Who am Love itself. All this I have shown thee because thou didst ask Me if thou couldest suffer for My

glory.

And

I

have shown

and

My

other servants

may

this to thee, in order that thou know how you should sacrifice

In your sacrifice, I say, both act and yourselves to me. be united as a vessel which is presented to should ; thought
the Lord, is united with the water it contains, for the water could not be presented without the vessel, and the vessel would not be pleasing to Him if it did not contain the water.
,

>

send them to after own neither your fashion, you, choosing, place, nor be full, nor the vessel should actions. Therefore time, that is, you should endure all those fatigues, with affection
I

say to you, that you ought to offer to many fatiguing actions, in whatever way
I

So

Me

the vessel of

defects of patience, supporting the If you hatred and with of sin. displeasure your neighbour, do so, these labours which I have given you become a grateful vessel, full of the water of My grace which gives

of

love

and

true

and then I receive this gift from My sweet from every soul who serves Me well. I receive her anxieties, her desires, her tears, her humble sighs, and her continual prayers ; all which things are a means, by which, through love, I appease My wrath against My enemies, the men of iniquity who so greatly offend Me. So, endure manfully, even unto death, and this will be a sign to Me that you love Me and you should not turn your faces away and look askance at the plough, through fear of any
to the soul, spouses, that is
life
;

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
creature or of

45

any

tribulation, rather, in

such tribulations

should you
injuries,

you many and you are saddened on account of the injuries done in the world, and the offences which you see done against yourselves, which offend both you and Me, because Thou seest truly, that I have become one thing with you. I, having originally given you My image and similitude, and
rejoice.

The world

rejoices in doing

you, having lost
to
it

My grace through sin, in order to restore of grace, I united My nature to you, covering with the veil of your humanity, and thus, while you, by
you
that
life

creation, possessed

My
I

image,

I

took your image in taking

the

therefore one thing with you, if indeed the soul do not leave Me through the guilt of mortal

human

form.

am

sin ; but he, who loves Me, remains in Me, and I in him, and yet the world persecutes him, because the world has no conformity with Me, and, in the same way, persecuted My

only begotten Son, even to the shameful death of the Cross. It does the same to you, it persecutes, and will persecute you, even unto death, because it loves Me not, for if, the

world had loved Me, it would also have loved you ; but I also rejoice, because your joy will be great in Heaven. say to thee that, as the mystical body of the Church abounds now in tribulation, so shall it one day abound all the more in sweetness, and consolation, and this shall be its sweetness the reformation produced by holy and good pastors, who are flowers of glory ; for they render glory and praise to My Name, rendering to Me the sweet odours of virtues The reformation concerns those odori founded on truth. ferous flowers, My ministers and pastors, not the fruit of My spouse, which never needs to be reformed, because it neither diminishes nor is hurt by the defects of My ministers. So do thou rejoice, and the spiritual father of thy soul, and My other servants, in the bitterness of your sorrow, because, in My Eternal Truth, I have promised to give you refreshment, and after your sorrow I will give you most sustaining consolation, with much substance in the reforma
"

tion of the

Holy

Church."

46

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How

XIII.

this soul grew by means of the divine response, and how her sorrows grew less, and how she prayed to God for the Holy Church, and for her own people.

and burning with the very great had conceived on learning the ineffable love of God, shewn in His great goodness, and, seeing the breadth of His charity, that, with such sweetness, He had deigned to reply to her request and to satisfy it, giving hope to the sorrow which she had conceived, on account of offences against God, and the damage of the Holy church, and through His own mercy, which she saw through self-know ledge, diminished, and yet, at the same time, increased her
"

THEN

that soul, thirsting

desire that she

sorrow.
"

way

For, the Supreme and Eternal Father, in manifesting the of perfection, showed her anew her own guilt, and the

more fully above. Also because in the knowledge which the soul obtains of herself, she knows more of God, and knowing the goodness of God
loss of souls, as has been said

in herself, the sweet mirror of God,

dignity and

indignity. dignity seeing that she is the image of God, and this has been given her by grace, and not as her due. In that same mirror of the
is

Her

is

she knows her own that of her creation,

goodness of God, the soul knows her own indignity, which the consequence of her own fault. Wherefore, as a man more readily sees spots on his face when he looks in a

mirror, so, the soul who, with true knowledge of self, rises with desire, and gazes with the eye of the intellect at herself in the sweet mirror of God, knows better the stains of her own face, by the purity which she sees in Him.
"Wherefore,

because light and knowledge increased in that

soul in the aforesaid way, a sweet sorrow grew in her, and at the same time, her sorrow was diminished by the hope

which the Supreme Truth gave her, and, as fire grows when fed with wood, so grew the fire in that soul to such an extent that it was no longer possible for the body to endure
it is

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
it
;

47

so that, had she not without the departure of the soul been surrounded by the strength of Him who is the Supreme Strength, it would not have been possible for her to have

lived any longer. This soul then, being purified by the fire of divine love, which she found in the knowledge of herself and of God, and her hunger for the salvation of the whole world, and for the reformation of the Holy Church, having grown with her hope of obtaining the same, rose with con

Supreme Father, showing Him the leprosy of the Holy Church, and the misery of the world, saying,^ as if with the words of Moses. My Lord, turn the eyes of Thy mercy upon Thy people, and upon the mystical
fidence before the
"

body of the Holy Church,
fied if

for

Thou pardonest
light of

so

Thou wilt be the more glori many creatures, and givest to

them the

when they

knowledge, since all will render Thee praise see themselves escape through Thy infinite good ness from the clouds of mortal sin, and from eternal damna tion ; and then Thou wilt not only be praised by my

wretched self, who have so much offended Thee, and who am the cause and the instrument of all this evil, for which reason I pray Thy divine and eternal love to take Thy revenge on me, and to do mercy to Thy people, and never will I depart from before Thy presence until I see that thou For what is it to me if I have life, grantest them mercy.

and Thy people death, and the clouds of darkness cover Thy spouse, when it is my own sins, and not those of Thy other
I desire, creatures, that are the principal cause of this ? that Thou have of and mercy then, Thee, by Thy grace, beg

on Thy

people, and

I

adjure

Thee

that

Thou do

this

by Thy

uncreated love which moved Thee Thyself to create man in Thy image and similitude, saying, Let us make man in our

own image, and this Thou didst, oh eternal man might participate in everything belonging
"

Trinity, that
to

Thee, the

/

most high and eternal Trinity." Wherefore Thou gavest him memory in order to re ceive Thy benefits, by which he participates in the power of and intellect that he might know, see the Eternal Father and so might participate in the wisdom of ing Thy goodness, Thine only-begotten Son and will, that he might love that
; ;

48

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

intellect has seen and known of Thy truth, thus What participating in the clemency of Thy Holy Spirit. reason hadst Thou for creating man in such dignity? The

which his

inestimable love with which

Thou sawest Thy

creature in

Thyself, and didst become enamoured of him, for Thou didst create him through love, and didst destine him to be

such that he might taste and enjoy Thy Eternal Good. I see therefore that through his sin he lost this dignity in

which Thou didst originally place him, and by
against Thee,
that is to say,
"Therefore,
fell

his rebellion

into a state of
all

war with Thy kindness,

we

became Thy enemies. Thou, moved by that same fire of love with

which Thou didst create him, didst willingly give man a

means of
so

reconciliation, so that after the great rebellion into
fallen,
;

there should come a great peace and him the only-begotten Word, Thy Son to be the Mediator between us and Thee. He was our Justice, for He took on Himself all our offences and in justices, and performed Thy obedience, Eternal Father, which Thou didst impose on Him, when Thou didst clothe

which he had

Thou

didst give

Him

with our humanity, our

human

nature and likeness.

Oh, abyss of love ! What heart can help breaking when it sees such dignity as Thine descend to such lowliness as our

humanity ? We are Thy image, and Thou hast become ours, by this union which Thou hast accomplished with man, veiling the Eternal Deity with the cloud of woe, and the For what reason ? Love. corrupted clay of Adam. O hast become man, and man has God, Wherefore, Thou, become God. By this ineffable love of Thine, therefore, I constrain Thee, and implore Thee that Thou do mercy ta

Thy

creatures."

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

49

CHAPTER
How God
His ministers

XIV.

grieves over the Christian people, and particularly over and touches on the subject of the Sacrament of ; Christ s Body, and the benefit of the Incarnation.

the eye of His mercy towards her, allowing Himself to be constrained by her tears, and bound by the chain of her holy desire, replied with lamentation

THEN God,

turning

sweetest daughter, thy tears constrain Me, because they are joined with My love, and fall for love of Me, and thy painful desires force Me to answer thee ; but marvel, and
"

My

and become leprous, on account of her filthiness and self-love, and swollen with the pride and avarice of those who feed on their
see

how My spouse has

defiled her face,

own

sin.

say of the universal body and the mystical body of the Holy Church (that is to say the Christian religion) I also say of My ministers, who stand and feed at the
"What I

breasts of

Holy Church ; and, not only should they feed themselves, but it is also their duty to feed and hold to those breasts the universal body of Christian people, and
any other people who should wish to leave the darkness of their infidelity, and bind themselves as members to My See then with what ignorance and darkness, and Church. ingratitude, are administered, and with what filthy hands
also

are handled this glorious milk and blood of My spouse, and with what presumption and irreverence they are received.

Wherefore, that which really gives
the defects of those

life,
it,

who

receive

death

often gives, through that is to say, ;

the precious Blood of

My only-begotten Son, which destroyed death and darkness, and gave life and truth, and confounded For I give this Blood and use It for salvation falsehood. and perfection in the case of that man who disposes himself
properly to receive it, for It gives life and adorns the soul with every grace, in proportion to the disposition and affec tion of him who receives It ; similarly It gives death to him who receives It unworthily, living in iniquity and in the

D

50

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

life

darkness of mortal sin ; to him, I say, It gives death and not not through defect of the Blood, nor through defect of ; the minister, though there might be great evil in him, because his evil would not spoil nor defile the Blood nor diminish Its grace and virtue, nor does an evil minister

he gives the Blood, but to of guilt, which will be followed by punishment, unless he correct himself with contrition and I say then that the Blood does harm to him repentance.
to

do harm to

him

whom

himself he does the

harm

receives it unworthily, not through defect of the Blood, nor of the minister, but through his own evil disposition and defect inasmuch as he has befouled his mind and body with such impurity and misery, and has been so cruel to himself and his neighbour. He has used cruelty to himself,

who

under the feet of his he had received in Holy Baptism, when the stain of original sin was taken from him by virtue of the Blood, which stain he drew from his origin, when he was generated by his father and mother.

depriving himself of grace, trampling affection the fruit of the Blood which

Wherefore I gave My Word, My only-begotten Son, because the whole stuff of human generation was corrupted
"

through the sin of the
you, vessels

first

man Adam.
stuff,

Wherefore,

all

of

made

of this

were corrupted and not

so I, with My disposed to the possession of eternal life to the baseness of dignity, joined Myself your human
generation, in order to restore
lost
it

to grace

by

sin

;

for
guilt,

I

was incapable of

which you had suffering, and yet, on

account of

My

divine

justice

demanded
it,

suffering.

even if he had satisfied to a certain extent, he could only have satisfied for himself, and not for other rational creatures, besides which, neither for himself, nor for others, could man satisfy, his sin having been committed against Me, who am the Infinite Good. Wishing, however, to restore man, who was en and could not satisfy for the above reason, I sent feebled,
sufficient to satisfy
for,

But man was not

My Word, My own Son, clothed in your the corrupted clay of Adam, in order that suffering in that self-same nature in which

own very

nature,

might endure man had offended,

He

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
suffering in

51

Cross, and so

His body even to the opprobrious death of the He satisfied My justice and My divine mercy.
to

For and
him.

My mercy willed
to dispose

make

satisfaction for the sin of

man

him

to that

good

for

which

I

had created

This human nature, joined with the divine nature, whole human race, not only on account of the pain which it sustained in its finite

was

sufficient to satisfy for the

nature, that

is in

the flesh of

Adam, but by
infinite

virtue of the

nature joined to it. The two natures being thus joined together, I received and accepted the sacrifice of My only-begotten Son, kneaded into one dough with the divine nature, by the fire of divine love
Eternal
Deity, the divine

and

which was the

fetter

which held him fastened and nailed

to

Thus human nature was sufficient the Cross in this way. to satisfy for guilt, but only by virtue of the divine nature. And in this way was destroyed the stain of Adam s sin,
it remaining behind, that is an inclination and to every sort of corporeal defect, like the cicatrice In this which remains when a man is healed of a wound.

only the mark of

to sin,

way

fatal stain

the original fault of Adam was able still to cause a wherefore the coming of the great Physician, ; that is to say, of My only-begotten Son, cured this invalid,

He drinking this bitter medicine, which man could not drink on account of his great weakness, like a fostermother who takes medicine instead of her suckling, because
she is grown up and strong, and the child is not fit to He was man s foster-mother, en endure its bitterness. the with greatness and strength of the Deity united during, with your nature, the bitter medicine of the painful death
of the Cross, to give life to you little ones debilitated by I say therefore that the mark alone of original sin guilt.

remains, which sin you take from your father and your mother when you are generated by them. But this mark

removed from the soul, though not altogether, by Holy Baptism, which has the virtue of communicating the life of grace by means of that glorious and precious Blood. Where
is

fore, at the

moment

that the soul receives

Holy Baptism,

original sin is taken away from her, and grace is infused into her, and that inclination to sin, which remains from

52

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

the original corruption, as has been said, is indeed a source of weakness, but the soul can keep the bridle on it if she Then the vessel of the soul is disposed to receive choose.

and increase

in herself grace, more or less, according as it her to pleases dispose herself willingly with affection, and desire of loving and serving Me ; and, in the same way, she can dispose herself to evil as to good, in spite of her having

Wherefore when the time received grace in Holy Baptism. of discretion is come, the soul can, by her free will, make choice either of good or evil, according as it pleases her
and so great is this liberty that man has, and so strong has this liberty been made by virtue of this glorious Blood, that no demon or creature can constrain him to one smallest He has been redeemed from fault without his free consent. in free order that he might govern his and made slavery,
will
;

own

sensuality,

and obtain the end

for

which he was created.

Oh, miserable man, who delights to remain in the mud like a brute, and does not learn this great benefit which he
has received from

Me
full

!

A

benefit so great, that the poor

wretched creature
greater."

of such ignorance could receive no

CHAPTER XV.
How
more gravely punished after the Passion of Christ than and how God promises to do mercy to the world, and to the Holy Church, by means of the prayers and sufferings of His
sin is
;

before

servants.

AND I wish thee to know, My daughter, that, although I have re-created and restored to the life of grace, the human race, through the Blood of My only-begotten Son, as I have said, men are not grateful, but, going from bad to worse, and from guilt to guilt, even persecuting Me with many injuries, taking so little account of the graces which I have given them, and continue to give them, that, not only do they not attribute what they have received to grace, but seem to themselves on occasion to receive injuries from Me,
"

as

if

I

desired anything else than their sanctification.

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
"

53

I say to thee that they will be more hard-hearted, and worthy of more punishment, and will, indeed, be punished more severely, now that they have received redemption in the Blood of My Son, than they would have been before

Adam s

he who receives more should render more, and should be under greater obligations to Him from whom he receives
"

that is, before the stain that redemption took place It is right that sin had been taken away.

of

more.

Man, then, was closely bound to Me through his being which I had given him, creating him in My own image and similitude; for which reason, he was bound to render Me glory, but he deprived Me of it, and wished to give it to Thus he came to transgress My obedience im himself. And I, with My on him, and became My enemy. posed his pride, humiliating the divine na humility, destroyed and ture, taking your humanity, and, freeing you from the
And, not only did I give you liberty, but, you examine, you will see that man has become God, and God has become man, through the This is the union of the divine with the human nature. that is to say, the treasure debt which they have incurred of the Blood, by which they have been procreated to grace. See, therefore, how much more they owe after the redemp For they are now obliged to render Me tion than before. and glory praise by following in the steps of My Incarnate
service of the devil,
I

made you

free.

if

My only-begotten Son, for then they repay Me the debt of love both of Myself and of their neighbour, with true and genuine virtue, as I have said to thee above, and
Word,
they do not do it, the greater their debt, the greater will be the offence they fall into, and therefore, by divine justice,
if

the greater their suffering in eternal damnation. "A false Christian is punished more than a pagan, and the
afflicts fire of divine justice consumes him more, that is, him more, and, in his affliction, he feels himself being consumed by the worm of conscience, though, in truth, he is not consumed, because the damned do not lose their being through any torment which they receive. Wherefore I say to thee, that they ask for death and cannot have it, for they

deathless

54

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

cannot lose their being ; the existence of grace they lose, through their fault, but not their natural existence. There
fore guilt is more gravely punished after the Redemption ol the Blood than before, because man received more ; but sinners neither seem to perceive this, nor to pay any atten

own sins, and so become My enemies, though have reconciled them, by means of the Blood of My Son. But there is a remedy with which I appease My wrath
tion to their
I

that is to say, by means of servants, if they are jealous to constrain Me by their desire. Thou seest, therefore, that

My

thou hast bound Me with this bond which I have given thee, because I wished to do mercy to the world.
"

Therefore
I

I

give

honour, and the salvation of
their tears,

may

servants hunger and desire for My souls, so that, constrained by mitigate the fury of My divine justice.

My

Take, therefore, thy tears and thy sweat, drawn from the fountain of My divine love, and, with them, wash the face of

My
"

spouse.
I

means, her beauty will be restored to her, not by the knife nor by cruelty, but peace fully, by humble and continued prayer, by the sweat and the tears shed by the fiery desire of My servants, and thus will I fulfil thy desire if thou, on thy part, endure much, casting the light of thy patience into the darkness of per verse man, not fearing the world s persecutions, for I will protect thee, and My Providence shall never fail thee in the

promise thee,

that,

by

this

slightest

need."

CHAPTER
How this

XVI.

soul, knowing the Divine Goodness, did not remain content to pray only for Christians, but prayed in general for the whole world.

THEN that soul (rising on the wings of greater knowledge, and standing before the Divine Majesty with very great joy and comfort, both through the hope which she had received of the Divine Mercy, and the ineffable love which she had

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

55

tasted, seeing that God, on account of His love and desire to do mercy to men, in spite of their being His enemies, had given the means and the way to His servants to con

strain

His own goodness, and appease His anger), rejoiced,
all

losing

God was on her
greatly,

fear of the persecutions of the world, seeing that side, and the fire of her holy desire grew

so that she could
for

not remain content, but, with

holy confidence, begged mercy for the whole world. And in her second this, although prayer, she asked for the good and profit of Christians and of the faithful, that is to say
of Holy Church, nevertheless, in her she her hunger, spread prayer over the whole world, as if the world itself caused her to pray, crying Oh, Eternal
for the reformation
"

God
that

!

Give mercy

Thou
it
it,

because
without

Thy lambs, like the Good Shepherd not delay Thy mercy to the world, seems to be hardly able to exist any longer
to
art.

Do

but to be entirely deprived of the union of love Thee, the Eternal Truth, and men seem equally deprived of love towards each other, for they do not love

with

each other with a love founded in

Thee."

CHAPTER
How God laments over

XVII.

His rational creatures, principally on account of the self-love which reigns in them; strengthening the above mentioned soul for greater efforts of prayer and tears.
all

THEN God,
means
soul,

to light

inflamed with love for our salvation, took up a greater love and a greater grief in that

showing, in the following way, with what love He had created man, of which something has been said above. And He said Dost thou not see how every man
"

:

persecutes Me, and yet I have created him with such a fire of love, and given him grace and mercy, infinite gifts, See then, through My free grace and not of his own due.

with how many and diverse sins they persecute and Me, especially with their miserable self-love, from which

My daughter,

56

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

proceeds every evil. With this self-love, they have poisoned the whole world, for, just as the love of Me contains in itself

every virtue brought forth upon their neighbour, as I have shown thee, so sensual self-love, since it proceeds from pride (and love of Me proceeds from charity), contains in itself every evil ; and these evils they perform by means of creatures, being separated and divided from love of their neighbour, since, not loving Me, they do not love him either;
to thee above, that of the neighbour.

two loves are joined together, and therefore I said all good and all evil was done by means I have therefore much to grieve over in man, who from Me has received nothing but good, and yet renders Me hatred, working every sort of iniquity. This I have said to thee, in order that, through the tears of My servants, I might mitigate My wrath. Therefore do
for these

you,

My

servants, prepare yourselves before

Me

with

many

prayers and anxious desires, and with grief for the sin which is done against Me and for the damnation of souls.

And

so will you mitigate the wrath of Divine

Justice."

CHAPTER
How

XVIII.
for

no man can escape from the hands of God, him either in Mercy or in Justice.

God

visits

dearest daughter, that no one can escape hands, for I Am, and you are not in in but so far as yourselves, only you act through Me,

AND know, My

from

My

Am Who

Who

am

the Creator of

all

except sin which

is
it

things which share the gift of being, nothing, and therefore not made by Me,
is

and, inasmuch as being loved. For

not found in Me,

it is

not worthy of

this reason the creature sins

and

offends,

because she loves that which she ought not to love, namely sin, and hates Me, whom she is obliged and bound to love, because I am the Supreme Good, and have given her being with such fire of love. Outside of Me souls cannot go, because
they are either in

Me

through justice for their

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
sins,

57

or

through
I

mercy.

Open thou

the

eye

of thine

intellect to

gaze into My have said to thee." Then she, lifting her eyes, in obedience to the Supreme Father, saw, clenched in the hollow of His hand, the whole
truth is as
"

hand, and thou wilt see that the

universe, and God said to her daughter, see and learn that no one can be taken from Me ; for all
:

My

now who

are here, are here through justice, or through mercy, as I have said, for they are Mine, and created by Me, and I love

them ineffably and yet, in spite of their iniquity, I will do them mercy, by means of My servants, and will grant the petition which, with such grief and love, thou hast asked of
;

Me."

CHAPTER
How this
soul,

XIX.
;

and, accusing herself, father of her soul.

growing in amorous heat, yearned to sweat blood made a particular prayer for the spiritual

THEN

that soul, as
fire

if

dumb and

beside herself through the

increasing sorrowful.

of her holy desire, remained both blessed and

the union which she had with and God, tasting joy goodness, being wholly immersed in His mercy. And she was sorrowful, seeing such goodness offended and she rendered thanks to the Divine Majesty, that God had manifested to her the defects of His knowing in order that she should be constrained to exert creatures, herself with greater desire and anxiety for their salvation, and this feeling for souls was so renewed in her, and this holy and amorous fire grew to such a pitch, that she desired that the sweat of water, cast out of her, by the violence done to her body by her soul, should be a sweat of blood. She thus sweated, through the force and heat of love, because the union which her soul had with God was more but she perfect than the union of her soul with her body despised it through the great desire which she had to see a
;

She was blessed through

;

58

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

of blood issue from her body, saying to herself: Oh, my soul ! thou hast lost all the time of thy life, and yet so many evils and troubles have come upon the world,

sweat
"

and the Holy Church, both in general and and I will, therefore, that thou bear remedy
with a sweat of
blood."

in

particular ; to these evils

In truth this soul had well taken to heart the doctrine

which the Truth had taught her, namely, ever to know her self and the goodness of God in her, and the remedy with which she should try and heal the whole world, and appease the wrath of God and His divine justice, that is, humble, continuous and holy prayer.
Then, this soul, cast prone by holy desire, arose, opening wider the eye of the intellect, gazing on herself in the divine love, when she saw and tasted how we~are bound
far

by love

to seek the glory

and the praise of God

in

the

salvation of souls.

God to be called to this, and Truth particularly called and elected the This spiritual father she spiritual father of her soul. carried before the Divine Goodness, praying that It would shed on him a ray of grace, so that he might truly follow the Truth Itself.
she saw the servants of
that the Eternal

And

CHAPTER XX.
How, without enduring
;

tribulations with patience, it is impossible to please God and how God comforts her and her spiritual father to endure with true patience.

THEN God,

replying to her third petition (namely, the prayer of her hunger for the salvation of the spiritual father of her soul), said :
to please Me, the Truth, in the hunger the salvation of souls with all solicitude.

wish him to seek, namely, which he has for But this he could not have, neither he, nor thou, nor any one else, without
"

Daughter,

this

is

what

I

many

troubles, as

I

said to thee above, according to the

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
measure
in

59

which

I

desire to see

My honour,
in

Wherefore, if thou give them you. in the Holy Church, thou oughtest

so to love as to wish to endure with true patience ; and, by other servants this, I shall see that he and thou and My

seek

My

honour

truth.

Then he

will

become

My

dearest son, and will repose himself and others upon the breast of My only-begotten Son, whom I have made the

Bridge by which you
receive the
fruit

endured for
fully."

all arrive at your end, and your labours which you have Bear yourselves then man the love of Me.

may

of

all

CHAPTER XXL
How the road to Heaven being broken through
Adam, God made
of his

the disobedience ot
pass.

Son a Bridge by which man could

of

WHEREFORE My Word,
I

truth.

I have made a Bridge only-begotten Son, and this is the wish that you, My children, should know that I

have told thee that

of

My

in such a

sin and disobedience of Adam, way, that no one could arrive at Eternal Life. Wherefore men did not render Me glory in the way in which they ought to have, as they did not participate in that Good for which I had created them, and My truth was not This truth is that I have created man to My fulfilled. own image and similitude, in order that he might have Eternal Life, and might partake of Me, and taste My But, after supreme and eternal sweetness and goodness. sin had closed Heaven and bolted the doors of mercy, the soul of man produced thorns and prickly brambles, and My creature found in himself rebellion against himself.

the road

was broken by the

the flesh immediately began to war against the the state of innocency, became a foul animal, and all created things rebelled against man, whereas they would have been obedient to him, had he remained in
"

And

Spirit, and, losing

the state in which
therein,

I

had placed him.

He, not remaining
eternal

transgressed

My

obedience, and merited

6o

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

death in soul and body. And, as soon as he had sinned, a flood which ever buffets him with its tempestuous arose, him weariness and trouble from himself, waves, bringing

Every one was drowned in the because no one, with his own justice alone, could arrive at Eternal Life. And so, wishing to remedy your I have great evils, given you the Bridge of My Son, in
the devil, and the world.
flood,

order that, passing

across
is

the

flood,

you may not

be

drowned, which flood

the tempestuous sea of this dark life. See, therefore, under what obligations the creature is to Me, and how ignorant he is, not to take the remedy

which

I

have

offered, but to

be willing to

drown."

CHAPTER
How God
"

XXII.

inasmuch as

induces the soul to look at the greatness of this Bridge, it reaches from earth to Heaven.

OPEN, my daughter, the eye of thy intellect, and thou wilt see the accepted and the ignorant, the imperfect, and also the perfect who follow Me in truth, so that thou mayest
grieve over the damnation of the ignorant, and rejoice over the perfection of My beloved servants.
"

Thou

wilt see further

how

those bear themselves
in

who
I

walk

in the light,

and those who walk
at

the darkness.

also wish thee to look

the Bridge of

My
it

Son, and see the greatness thereof, for

only begotten reaches from

to earth, that is, that the earth of your ioined to the greatness of the Deity thereby.

Heaven

humanity
I

is

say then that this Bridge reaches from Heaven to earth, and con stitutes the union which I have made with man.

This was necessary, in order to reform was broken, as I said to thee, in order

the
that

road which

man

should

pass through the bitterness of the world, and arrive at life ; but the Bridge could not be made of earth sufficiently large
to

span the flood and give you Eternal

Life,

because the
guilt,

earth of

human

nature was not sufficient to satisfy for

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
to

61

the whole

Adam s sin. Which stain corrupted race and gave out a stench, as I have It was, therefore, necessary to join said to thee above. human nature with the height of My nature, the Eternal
remove the
stain of

human

Deity, so that

it

might be

sufficient to satisfy for the

whole
the

human

race,

so that

human

nature should

sustain

punishment, and that the Divine nature, united with the human, should make acceptable the sacrifice of My only Son, offered to Me to take death from you and to give you life. So the height of the Divinity, humbled to the earth, and joined with your humanity, made the Bridge and reformed the road. Why was this done ? In order that
"

man might come And observe, that
have
life,

to
it is

his true happiness with the angels. not enough, in order that you should
this Bridge,

that

My

Son should have made you

unless you walk

thereon."

CHAPTER
How we
;

XXIII.

are all labourers of God in the vineyard of the Holy Church and how each man has his own vine and how we all must be united in the Son of God, the True Vine.
;

AT

Truth proceeded to show her that, us had created without ourselves, He would not though save us without ourselves. Wherefore He wishes us to use our free will by our own unfettered choice, passing our time in the exercise of true virtues, and so continuing from point The Eternal Truth added, "You must all walk to point. across this Bridge, seeking the glory and praise of My
this point the Eternal

He

Name

in

the

salvation

of

souls,

enduring with patient

suffering your

many

fatigues, following the footsteps of this
;

Word for in no other way can you and Me, you are My labourers, set to work in the of the vineyard Holy Church. You labour in the universal of the Christian body religion, placed there by My Grace, received the light of Holy Baptism, which from Me having
sweet and amorous
arrive at

62

THE DIALOGUE OF
incorporated

ST.

CATHERINE
body of Holy

has

you

into

the

mystical

Church, at the hands of to labour at your side.

I have placed are placed in the universal body of the Church, and they are placed in her mystical body to feed your souls, ministering to you the Blood in the Sacraments which you receive from the Church, their

My

ministers,

whom

You

task being to extract the thorns of mortal sin, and to plant in you the seed of grace. They are my labourers in the

vine

of your

soul,

grafted

upon the vine of the Holy

Church.
that is

every rational creature has her own vine, the vine of her soul she labours this vine by means
;

And

of her will and free choice in time, that is to say, while she lives, but when the time is past she can do no more work,
neither good nor evil, but only while she lives can she
till

have placed her. And she has received such strength for this labour of her soul that neither the devil nor any other creature can take for she was strengthened it from her without her consent in the reception of Holy Baptism, and there was given her
I
"

the vine in which

;

then a pruning-knife with the blades of love of virtue and hatred of sin, through which very same love, and hatred of
sin, My only-begotten Son died, giving you His Blood by So you have the which you have life in Holy Baptism. knife which you should use, by your own free choice, while you have the time, to cut out the thorns of mortal sins and plant the virtues, because in no other way could you receive the fruit of the Blood from the ministers labouring at My orders in the Holy Church, of whom I say that they remove mortal sin from the vine of the soul and give her grace, showing forth the Blood in the Sacraments which are

ordained in the Church.

It

is

you should first wash yourselves with true heart, and hatred of sin, and love of virtue
;

necessary, therefore, that contrition of
then, indeed,

you
will for

will receive the fruit of the Blood, but in

no other way

you be able to receive it, unless you dispose yourselves your part, as good branches united to the vine of My
(
:

I am the true vine, and My only-begotten Son Who said Father is the husbandman, and you are the branches" And this, indeed, is the truth, that I am the Husbandman, for

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

63

everything that has being has proceeded and proceeds from

Me. power is inestimable, for by it, I govern the whole universe, and nothing was ever made or governed without I am the Husbandman who planted the true Vine of Me.

My

My

only-begotten

Son

in the earth of

your humanity, so

that you, being branches joined to the Vine, may bring forth But he who does not bring forth the fruit of holy fruit.

actions will be cut off from the Vine, and will wither away. For, being separated from the Vine, he loses the life of grace

and

is

cast into eternal

fire,

even as the branch which

brings forth no fruit is cut off from the Vine and burnt, Such as these, who are cut being good for nothing else.
off for their offences,

and die

in the guilt of mortal sin, the

Divine Justice casts into the eternal fire, since they are These have not laboured their own good for nothing else.
vine, but, on the contrary, have destroyed it, and not only their own but that of their neighbour ; and yet it seems to

them
but

good strong plant of virtue, has not sprung from the seed of grace, which they received with the light of Holy Baptism, sharing the Blood of My Son which was the wine produced by this true Vine. But they have taken that seed and have cast it as food to
it

that they have planted a

and many sinners, and so they have own disordinate lust, and trampled have ruined themselves and their neighbours but My servants do not so, and you should imitate them, that is, you should remain calmly united to the true Vine, and then you
beasts, that is to divers
it

under the

feet of their

;

will bring forth

because you will participate in And, remaining thus in My Word, you will remain in Me, because He and I are together one thing.
fruit,

much

the sap thereof.

Remaining in Him, you will follow His teaching, and follow ing His teachihg, you will participate in the very substance of His Divine Word, that is, you will participate in My Eternal Deity, joined to your humanity, leading you on by a Divine love which intoxicates the soul, and therefore
I

said that

you share the substance of the Vine.

64

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER XXIV.
How God farms
and prunes His vine
;

and how each man

s

vine

is

so closely united with his neighbour s, that he cannot either cultivate or ruin the one without the other.
"

DOST thou know how

I

act in order that

My servants may

be united in following the doctrine of My sweet and amor I prune them in order that they ous Word ? may bring forth much fruit, and that their fruit may be fit for My table, In the same way a husbandman and may not remain wild.

prunes and sets in order a good branch of a vine so that it may make better and more wine; and the branch that brings forth no fruit, he cuts away and casts into the fire. So I,
the true

Husbandman, prune

My

servants

Me, with

many

tribulations, so that they

more and better fruit, and that their and those that do not bring forth fruit are cut
into the
fire.

who remain in may bring forth virtfce may be proved
;

off

and

cast

These, then, are true labourers

who

cultivate

well their soul, rooting out all self-love, and turning over the earth of their affection on Me. They nourish and increase
the seed of grace which they received in Holy Baptism, arid labouring their own vine, labour their neighbour s, for they

Thou rememberest and all evil were good accomplished by means of the do Thus, then, neighbour. you become My husbandmen, from the Me, Superior and Eternal Husbandman proceeding Who have joined you together, grafting you on the true Vine by the union which I have made with you. Remember, then, that all rational creatures have their own vine indeed,
cannot labour one without the other.
that
all

but
that

it is

joined directly to their neighbour s vine, so closely

no one can do good or harm to his neighbour without doing it to himself, and all of you together make up the universal vine which is the whole congregation of Christians

who

are united in the vine of the mystical body of

Holy

In which vine Church, from which you draw your life. Vine of is the yard planted My only-begotten Son, on Which you should be grafted ; for, if you are not

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

65

grafted on Him, you become rebels to the Holy Church, and, as limbs, cut from the body, which immediately corrupt. It is true that, while you have time, you can free your
"

selves from the stench of sin

by true repentance, turning to the My ministers, husbandmen, who hold the key of the that of the Blood that issued from His Vine. Wine, is,
is

Which Blood

so perfectly

made

that,

through no defect of

the minister, can its effect be hindered. The branches are bound up with the bonds of love, and he who binds them must do so with true humility, acquired by a true knowledge
of himself and Me. See, then, that I have placed you all as husbandmen, and now again, I invite you to your labour, because the world is reaching an evil pass and the thorns are so multiplied in the vineyard that they have crushed out
;

the seed, so that
I

My vines will bring forth no fruit of grace. wish you, then, to be true husbandmen, and with great
to

zeal

cultivate

souls in the mystical body of the
I

Holy

Church, and this, I say, because world, for which thou prayest to

wish to do mercy to the
so
ardently."

Me

CHAPTER XXV.
How
THEN
this soul prays

God

to

aforesaid Bridge,

show her those who cross by the and those who do not.
with
ardent
"

this

soul

exclaimed

love,
!

Oh,

Charity, sweet above all sweetness would not be inflamed by such great love ? What heart can

inestimable

Who

help breaking at such tenderness ? It seems, oh, Abyss of Charity, as if thou wert mad with love of Thy creature, as if

Thou couldest not live without him, and yet Thou art our God who hast no need of us, Thy greatness does not increase through our good, for Thou art unchangeable, and our evil causes Thee no harm, for Thou art the Supreme and Eternal Goodness. What moves Thee to do us such
mercy through pure
love,

and on account of no debt that
that

Thou owedst

us, or need

Thou

hadst

of us ? E

We

66

THE DIALOGUE OF
I

ST.

CATHERINE

are rather
if

am
see

Thy guilty and malignant debtors. Wherefore, understand aright, Oh, Supreme and Eternal Truth, I For I the thief and Thou hast been punished for me.
Thy Word, Thy
made me a
Son, fastened and nailed to the Cross, Bridge, as Thou hast shown

of which thou hast

Thy miserable servant, for which reason, my heart is bursting, and yet cannot burst, through the hunger and the I remember, desire which it has conceived towards Thee.
me,

my Lord, that Thou wast willing to show me who are those who go by the Bridge and those who do not should it please Thy goodness to manifest this to me, willingly would
;

I

see and hear

it."

CHAPTER XXVI.
How this
I

Bridge has three steps, which signify the three states of the soul and how, being lifted on high, yet it is not separated from the earth and how these words are to be understood //
;
"

;

:

am

lifted

up from

the earth, I will

draw

all things

unto

Me"

THEN
still
"

more

the Eternal God, to enamour and excite that soul for the salvation of souls, replied to her, and said
:

First, as

I

have shown thee that for which thou didst
I

wish, and ask Me,
this Bridge.
I

will

now

have told thee,

explain to thee the nature of My daughter, that the Bridge
;

reaches from Heaven to earth

this

is
I

which

I

have made with man,

whom

through the union formed of the clay of

the earth.

Now learn that this Bridge, My only-begotton has three steps, of which two were made with the Son, wood of the most Holy Cross, and the third still retains the
tasted, when He was given gall and In these three steps you will recognise three states of the soul, which I will explain to thee below. The feet of the soul, signifying her affection, are the

great bitterness

He

vinegar to drink.

first step, for

the soul.

the feet carry the body as the affection carries Wherefore these pierced Feet are steps by which thou canst arrive at His Side, Which manifests to thee the secret of His Heart, because the soul, rising on the steps of

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
her
affection,

67

gazing into that open Heart of

His Heart, Son, with the eye of the I say intellect, and finds It consumed with ineffable love. consumed, because He does not love you for His own
to taste the love of

commences

My

profit,

because you can be of no profit to Him, He being Then the soul is filled one and the same thing with Me. with love, seeing herself so much loved. Having passed the second step, the soul reaches out to the third that is to the Mouth, where she finds peace from the terrible war On the first step, then, she has been waging with her sin. lifting her feet from the affections of the earth, the soul on the second she fills herself with strips herself of vice and on the third she tastes peace. love and virtue So the Bridge has three steps, in order that, climbing past the first and the second, you may reach the last, which is lifted on high, so that the water, running beneath, may not touch it This Bridge is for, in My Son, was no venom of sin. lifted on high, and yet, at the same time, joined to the earth. Dost thou know when it was lifted on high ? When My Son was lifted up on the wood of the most Holy Cross,
; ; ;

the Divine nature remaining joined to the lowliness of the earth of your humanity.
this reason I said to thee that, being lifted on high, not lifted out of the earth, for the Divine nature is united and kneaded into one thing with it. And there was no
"

For

He was

one who could go on the Bridge
high, wherefore

until It

had been

lifted

on

Si exaltatus fuero a terra omnia traham ad me ipsum? that is, If I am lifted on high I will draw all things to Me. My Goodness, seeing that in no other way could you be drawn to Me, I sent Him in order that He
said,
1

He

l

should be
it

lifted on high on the wood of the Cross, making of an anvil on which My Son, born of human generation, should be re-made, in order to free you from death, and to re store you to the life of grace wherefore He drew everything to Himself by this means, namely, by showing the ineffable love, with which I love you, the heart of man being always
;

attracted

by

love.

Greater

love, then, I
life

could not
perforce,
in

show
then,

you,

than to lay

down My
in

for

you;
love,

My

Son was

treated

this

way by

order that

68

THE DIALOGUE OF
man
should
be

ST.

CATHERINE
to

ignorant
to

unable

resist

being drawn
lifted

Me.
"In

very truth, then,
all

My

Son

said, that,

being

on
be

high,
is

He would draw

things to

Him.
I

And

this is to

understood in two ways. Firstly,

that,

when
have

the heart of man
said,
it is is,

drawn by the
all

affection of love, as

drawn

together with Memory, the
three

the powers of his soul, that Intellect, and the Will ; now,

with the

when these

harmoniously joined together in My powers Name, all the other operations which the man performs, whether in deed or thought, are pleasing, and joined together by the effect of love, because love is lifted on high, follow so My Truth said Well, ing the Sorrowful Crucified One If I am lifted on high, etc., meaning, that if the heart and
are
;

the powers of the soul are

drawn

to

Him,

all

the actions

are also drawn to Him.

Secondly, everything has been created for the service of man, to serve the necessities of
rational creatures, and the rational creature has not been made for them, but for Me, in order to serve Me with all
his heart,

and with

all

his affection.

See, then, that

man

being drawn, everything else is drawn with him, because It was therefore everything else has been made for him.

necessary that the Bridge should be lifted on high, and have steps, in order that it might be climbed with greater
facility."

CHAPTER
How

XXVII.
;

this Bridge is built of stones which signify virtues and how on the Bridge is a hostelry where food is given to the travellers and how he who goes over the Bridge goes to life, while he who goes under It goes to perdition and death.
;

THIS Bridge is built of stones, so that, if the rain come, it may not impede the traveller. Dost thou know what these stones are ? They are the stones of true and sincere virtues. These stones were not built into the walls before the Passion of My Son, and therefore even those who attempted to walk

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

69

by the road of virtue were prevented from arriving at their journey s end, because Heaven was not yet unlocked with the key of the Blood, and the rain of Justice did not let them pass ; but, after the stones were made, and built up on the Body of My sweet Son, My Word, of Whom I have spoken to thee, He, Who was Himself the Bridge, moistened
That is, His its building with His Blood. Blood was united with the mortar of divinity, and with the fortitude, and the fire of love ; and, by My power, these stones of the virtues were built into a wall, upon Him as the foundation, for there is no virtue which has not been proved in Him, and from Him all virtues have their life.
the mortar for

Wherefore no one can have the virtue given by a life of grace, but from Him, that is, without following the footsteps of His doctrine. He has built a wall of the virtues, planting them as living stones, and cementing them with His Blood, so that every believer may walk speedily, and without any
servile fear of the rain of Divine justice, for

he

is

sheltered

by the mercy which descended from Heaven in the Incar How was Heaven opened ? With nation of this My Son. so thou seest that the Bridge is the key of His Blood His also is the Hostelry walled and roofed with Mercy. in the Garden of the Holy Church, which keeps and ministers the Bread of Life, and gives to drink of the Blood, so that My creatures, journeying on their pilgrimage, may and for this not, through weariness, faint by the way reason My love has ordained that the Blood and the Body of My only begotten Son, wholly God and wholly man,
; ;

may

The pilgrim, having passed the be ministered to you. is part of the Bridge, at arrives at the door which Bridge, / am the Way, which all must enter, wherefore He says the Truth and the Life, he who follows Me does not walk in
,

darkness,
says,

but in

light.

And

in
to

another place
if not by

My

Truth

That no
it is.

man

can come

Me

indeed

Therefore

He

says of

Him] and so Himself that He is the

and I have already shewn thee And He that He is a Road in the form of the Bridge. He is because that He He is and so the is, Truth, says united with Me Who am the Truth, and he who follows
Road, and
this is the truth,

70

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Him, walks in the Truth, and in Life, because he who follows this Truth receives the life of grace, and cannot
faint

from

food, nor

fall

hunger, because the Truth in the darkness, because

has become your

And, with that Truth, destroyed the lie that the Devil told to Eve, with which he broke up the road to Heaven, and the Truth brought the

any falsehood.

He is light without He confounded and

pieces together again, and cemented them with His Blood. Wherefore, those who follow this road are the sons of
the Truth, because they follow the Truth, and pass through the door of Truth and find themselves united to Me,

Who

am

the

Door and the Road and
he,

at the

same time

Infinite

Peace.

not on this road, goes under the where there are no stones, only water, and since there are no supports in the water, no one can travel that way without drowning thus have come Where to pass the sins, and the condition of the world. fore, if the affection is not placed on the stones, but is placed, with disordinate love, on creatures, loving them, and being kept by them far from Me, the soul drowns, for creatures are like water that continually runs past, and man also passes continually like the river, although it seems ta him that he stands still and the creatures that he loves pass by, and yet he is passing himself continually to the And he would fain retain end of his journey death himself, (that is his life, and the things that he loves,) but he does not succeed, either, through death, by which he has to leave them, or, through my disposition, by which these Bridge,
in

But

who walks
the
river

;

!

created things are taken from the sight of My creatures. Such as these follow a lie, walking on the road of falsehood, and are sons of the Devil, who is the Father of Lies ; and,
eternal damnation.

because they pass by the door of falsehood, they receive So then thou seest, that I have shown

thee both Truth and Falsehood, that is, My road which is Truth, and the Devil s which is Falsehood."

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

71

CHAPTER
How travelling
River,
is

XXVIII.

fatiguing

on both of these roads, that is the Bridge and the and of the delight which the soul feels in
;

travelling
"

by the Bridge.

THESE

Wonder,

are the two roads, and both are hard to travel. then, at the ignorance and blindness of man,

who, having a Road made for
delight to those

him, which

causes

such

sweet, and water. For those

that every bitterness becomes burden every light, yet prefers to walk over the

who

use

It,

who cross by the Bridge, being still in the darkness of the body, find light, and, being mortal, find immortal life, tasting, through love, the light of Eternal Truth Which promises refreshment to him who wearies him
self for

man

grateful and just, and render to every he deserves. Wherefore every good deed is rewarded, and every fault is punished. The tongue would not be sufficient to relate the delight felt by him who goes on this road, for, even in this life, he tastes and participates in that good which has been prepared for him

Me,

Who am

according as

life. He, therefore, is a fool indeed, who despises so great a good, and chooses rather to receive in this life, the earnest money of Hell, walking by the lower road with

in eternal

great

toil,

and without

any refreshment

or

Wherefore, through

their sins, they are deprived

advantage. of Me,

Who am

the

Supreme and Eternal Good.
grief,

thou reason for

and

I

will

that thou

Truly then hast and My other

servants remain in continual bitterness of soul at the offence

done to Me, and in compassion for the ignorant, and the loss of those who, in their ignorance, thus offend Me. thou hast seen and heard about this Bridge, how it is, and

Now

this I

have told thee

in order to explain

My words,

that

My

And thus, thou seest only-begotten Son was a Bridge. that He is the Truth, made in the way that I have shown thee, that is by the union of height and lowliness,"

72

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER XXIX.
How
"

this Bridge,

having reached to Heaven on the day of the Ascension, did not for that reason leave the earth.

WHEN My

after the resurrection, this

only-begotten Son returned to Me, forty days Bridge, namely Himself, arose

from the earth, that is, from among the conversation of men, and ascended into Heaven by virtue of the Divine Nature and sat at the right hand of Me, the Eternal Father, as the angels said, on the day of the Ascension, to the disciples, standing like dead men, their hearts lifted on high, and ascended into Heaven with the wisdom of My Son

hand of

He is seated at the right When He, then, had thus ascended on high, and returned to Me the Father, I sent the Master, that is the Holy Spirit, Who came to you with My power
f

Do

not stand here any longer, for
the

Father /

and the wisdom of My Son, and with His own clemency, He is one thing which is the essence of the Holy Spirit. And He built up with Me, the Father, and with My Son. the road of the doctrine which My Truth had left in
the

world.
left

Thus, though

the

bodily

presence

of

My

you, His doctrine remained, and the virtue of the stones founded upon this doctrine, which is the way made for you by this Bridge. For first, He practised this doctrine and made the road by His actions, giving you His doctrine by example rather than by words for He practised, first Himself, what He afterwards taught you, then the
;

Son

clemency

Holy Spirit made you certain of the doctrine, fortifying the minds of the disciples to confess the truth, and to announce this road, that is, the doctrine of
of

the

Christ crucified, reproving, by this means, the world of its injustice and false judgment, of which injustice and false

judgment,
length.
"

I

will

in

time

discourse

to

you

at

greater

This much I have said to thee in order that there might be no cloud of darkness in the mind of your hearers, that
is,

that they

may know

that of this

Body of

Christ

I

made

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
a Bridge by the union of the divine with the
for this is the truth.
"This

73

human

nature,

into Heaven,

by
I

Bridge, taking its point of departure in you, rose and was the one road which was taught you What has now the example and life of the Truth.
all

remained of
fall

this,

and where
I

is

the road to be found ?

who might I tell thee that this way on this point. of His doctrine, of which I have spoken to thee, confirmed by the Apostles, declared by the blood of the martyrs, illuminated by the light of doctors, confessed by the con fessors, narrated in all its love by the Evangelists, all of
will tell thee, that is, will rather tell those

into ignorance

whom

stand as witnesses to confess the Truth, is found in These witnesses are the mystical body of the Holy Church. like the light placed on a candlestick, to show forth the way
life with a perfect light, as I as thee, and, they themselves say to thee, with have since they proved in their own cases, that every proof, if he will, be illuminated to know the Truth, person may,

of the Truth which leads to

have said to

unless he choose to deprive his reason of light by his It inordinate self-love. indeed, the truth that His is, has like a lifeboat to draw is and remained doctrine true,
the soul out of the tempestuous sea and to conduct her to the port of salvation.

Wherefore, first I gave you the Bridge of My Son living and conversing in very deed amongst men, and when He, the living Bridge, left you, there remained the Bridge and the road of His doctrine, as has been said, His doctrine being joined with My power and with His wisdom, and
"

with the clemency of the Holy Spirit.

This power of Mine

gives the virtue of fortitude to whoever follows this road, wisdom gives him light, so that, in this road, he may recognise

and the Holy Spirit gives him love, which consumes and takes away all sensitive love out of the soul, Thus, in both ways, leaving there only the love of virtue. both actually and through His doctrine, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that is, the Bridge which leads you to the height of Heaven. This is what He meant when He said, / came from the Father, and I return to the Father ,
the truth,
;

74

THE DIALOGUE OF
shall return to
;

ST.

CATHERINE

you* that is to say, My Father sent and made Me your Bridge, so that you might be saved from the river and attain to life. Then He says,

and

Me
/

to you,

1

will

return

to

you,

I

will not leave

send you

the Paraclete

as

if
;

My

you orphans, but Truth should say, I
is,

will

will

go

to the

Father and return

that

that

when

the

Holy

the Paraclete, He will show more and will confirm you clearly, you in the way of truth, that I have given you. He said that He would return, and
Spirit shall come,
is called

who

He did return, because the Holy Spirit came not alone, but with the power of the Father, and the wisdom of the Son, and the clemency of His own Essence. See then how He returns, not in actual flesh and blood, but, as I have said, building the road of His doctrine,
"

with His power, which road cannot be destroyed or taken away from him who wishes to follow it, because it is firm and stable, and proceeds from Me, Who am immoveable.
Manfully, then, should you follow this road, without any cloud of doubt, but with the light of faith which has been given you as a principle in Holy Baptism. Now I have fully shown to you the Bridge as it actually
"

"

is,
it.

and the doctrine, which is one and the same thing with And I have shown it to the ignorant, in order that they may see where this road of Truth is, and where stand those who teach it and I have explained that they are the Martyrs, Confessors, Evangelists, and Apostles, Holy
;

Doctors, placed like lanterns in the
"And

Holy Church.

the
as

My Son, returning to Me, none returned to in His bodily presence, but by not less, you, His power, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples,
I I

have shown how

have

said.

return until the last

again with
to render

My

his bodily presence He will not of Day Judgment, when He will come and Divine Power to judge the world, Majesty

For

in

to the virtuous, and reward them for their in both labours, body and soul, and to dispense the evil of eternal death to those who have lived wickedly in the world. "And now I wish to tell thee that which I, the Truth,

good

promised

thee,

that

is,

to

show thee the
;

perfect,

the

and the wicked, who, imperfect, and the supremely perfect their in drown the through river, attaining to iniquities,

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

75

punishment and torment; wherefore I say to you, My dearest sons, walk over the Bridge, and not underneath it, because underneath is not the way of truth, but the way of falsehood, by which walk the wicked, of whom I will
presently speak to you.
I

These are those sinners

for

whom

beg you to pray to Me, and for whom I ask in addition your tears and sweat, in order that they may receive mercy from Me."

CHAPTER XXX.
How
THEN
this soul

wondering at the mercy of God, relates many and graces given to the human race.

gifts

this soul, as it were, like one intoxicated, could not contain herself, but, standing before the face of God, ex How great is the Eternal Mercy with which thou claimed,
"

coverest the sins of

Thy

creatures

!

I

do not wonder that
1

Thou

sayest of those who abandon mortal sin and return to Thee, / do not remember that you have ever offended Me. Oh, ineffable Mercy I do not wonder that Thou sayest this
!

to those

who

are converted,
I

when Thou

sayest of those

who

wish you to pray for such, in order that persecute Thee, I may do them mercy. Oh, Mercy, who proceedest from Eternal the Father, Divinity Who governest with thy thy the whole world, by Thee were we created, in Thee power were we re-created in the Blood of Thy Son. Thy Mercy preserves us, Thy Mercy caused Thy Son to do battle for us, hanging by His arms on the wood of the Cross, life and death battling together ; then life confounded the death of our sin, and the death of our sin destroyed the bodily life of the Immaculate Lamb. Which was finally conquered ? what means Death ? By Mercy Thy Mercy gives light and life, by which Thy clemency is known in all Thy crea tures, both the just and the unjust. In the height of Heaven
!

!

If I turn to the Mercy, shines that is, in Thy saints. it In abounds with Thy Mercy. the darkness of Hell earth, not receive the pains Thy Mercy shines, for the damned do they deserve ; with Thy Mercy Thou temperest Justice. By

Thy

76

THE DIALOGUE OF
in

ST.

CATHERINE
Mercy
creatures.

Mercy Thou hast washed us

the Blood, and by

Thou wishest
!

to converse with
it

Thy

Madman Was
that

not enough for

Oh, Loving Thee to become Incarnate,

Thou must also die ? Was not death enough, that Thou must also descend into Limbo, taking thence the holy fathers to fulfil Thy Mercy and Thy Truth in them ? Because Thy goodness promises a reward to them that serve Thee in truth, didst Thou descend to Limbo, to with draw from their pain Thy servants, and give them the fruit of their labours. Thy Mercy constrains Thee to give even
more
to

that we,

man, namely, to leave Thyself to him in food, so weak ones, should have comfort, and the ignorant

commemorating Thee, should not lose the memory of Thy benefits. Wherefore every day Thou givest Thyself to man, representing Thyself in the Sacrament of the Altar, in the body of Thy Holy Church. What has done this ? Thy
Mercy. Oh, Divine Mercy My heart suffocates in thinking of thee, for on every side to which I turn my thought, I find nothing but mercy. Oh, Eternal Father Forgive my igno
! !

rance, that

presume thus to chatter to Thee, but the love of Thy Mercy will be my excuse before the Face of Thy
I

loving-kindness."

CHAPTER XXXI.
Of the baseness and how the
pass by the river under the Bridge underneath, is called by God the tree of death, whose roots are held in four vices.
of those
;

who

soul, that passes

AFTER

this

soul had refreshed

a

little

her heart in the

mercy of God, by these words, she humbly waited for the fulfilment of the promise made to her, and God continuing
before

daughter, thou hast spoken I gave it thee to taste because My mercy, and to see in the word which I spoke to thee when I said these are those for whom I pray you to intercede with Me/ but know, that My mercy is without any comparison, far

His discourse said:

"Dearest

Me

of

:

more than thou canst

see,

because thy sight

is

imperfect,

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

77

and My mercy perfect and infinite, so that there can be no comparison between the two, except what may be between But I have wished that thou a finite and an infinite thing. shouldest taste this mercy, and also the dignity of man, which I have shown thee above, so that thou mightest know better the cruelty of those wicked men who travel below the Bridge. Open the eye of thy intellect, and wonder at those who voluntarily drown themselves, and at
the baseness to which they are fallen by their fault, from

which cause, they have
then bring
it

first

become weak, and
sin in their minds,
life

this

was

when they conceived mortal
forth,

for they

and lose the

of grace.

And, as a

corpse which can have no feeling or movement of itself, but only when it is moved and lifted by others, so those, who
are

drowned in the stream of disordinate love of the world, Wherefore because they are dead their are dead to grace. memory takes no heed of My mercy. The eye of their
intellect

sees not and
is

knows not
is,

My

feeling

dead,

that

their

intellect

Truth, because their has no object

before

it

but themselves, with the dead love of their

own

will because it sensuality, and so their will is dead to These three powers then loves nothing but dead things. being dead, all the soul s operations both in deed and

My

For the thought are dead as far as grace is concerned. soul cannot defend herself against her enemies, nor help herself through her own power, but only so far as she is
helped by Me.
corpse, in
It is

true indeed, that every time that this

whom

only free-will has remained,

(which remains

as long as the mortal body lives,) asks My help, he can have it, but never can he help himself; he has become in

supportable to himself, and, wishing to govern the world, is

[

which is not, that is by sin, for sin in governed by itself is nothing, and such men have become the servants I had made them trees of love with the and slaves of sin. life of grace which they received in Holy Baptism ; and they have become trees of death, because they are dead, as I have already said to thee. Dost thou know how this In the height of pride, which is tree finds such roots ?
that

nourished by their

own

sensitive self-love.

Its

branch

is

78
their

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
:

own impatience, and its off-shoot indiscretion these are the four principal vices which destroy the soul of him

who

is

grace.

a tree of death, because he has not drawn life from Inside the tree is nourished the worm of conscience,

which, while

man

lives in mortal sin, is blinded

by

self-love,

and therefore

felt

but

little

;

the fruits of this tree are

mortal, for they have

drawn their nourishment, which should have been humility, from the roots of pride, and the miser
able soul
is full

of ingratitude,

whence proceeds every

evil.

But if she were grateful for the benefits she has received, she would know Me, and knowing Me would know herself, and so would remain in My love but she, as if blind, goes groping down the river, and she does not see that the water does not support her."
:

CHAPTER
How

XXXII.
;

the fruits of this tree are as diverse as are the sins of the sin of sensuality.
fruits

and

first,

"THE

of

this death-giving tree,

are as diverse as
fruits are the

sins are diverse.

See that some of these

food

of beasts
like a

who

live impurely,

swine who way in the mire of sensuality. wallow Oh, ugly soul, they where hast thou left thy dignity ? Thou wast made sister To to the angels, and now thou art become a brute beast. such misery come sinners, notwithstanding that they are
sustained by Me, who am Supreme Purity, notwithstanding that the very devils, whose friends and servants they have

using their body and their wallows in mud, for in the same

mind

become, cannot endure the sight of such filthy actions. Neither does any sin, abominable as it may be, take away the light of the intellect from man, so much as does this This the philosophers knew, not by the light of grace, one. because they had it not, but because nature gave them the light to know that this sin obscured the intellect, and for
that reason

they preserved themselves in continence the

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

79

Thus also they flung away their riches in better to study. order that the thought of them should not occupy their Not so does the ignorant and false Christian, who heart.
has
lost grace

by

sin."

CHAPTER
How the
"

XXXIII.
;

fruit of

others

is

avarice

and of the

evils that

proceed

from

it.

A FRUIT of the earth belongs to some others, who are covetous misers, acting like the mole, who always feeds on earth till death, and when they arrive at death they find no Such as these, with their meanness, despise My remedy.
generosity, selling time to their neighbour. cruel usurers, and robbers of their neighbour
their

They
;

are

because in

remembrance of My if had it would not be cruel to for they they mercy, themselves or to their neighbour ; on the contrary, they would be compassionate and merciful to themselves, practising the virtues on their neighbour and succouring him charitably. Oh, how many are the evils that come of this cursed sin of avarice, how many homicides and thefts, and how much pillage with unlawful gain, and It kills the soul and makes cruelty of heart and injustice
not
the
!

memory they have

her the slave of riches, so that she cares not to observe

commandments. A miser loves no one except for his own profit. Avarice proceeds from and feeds pride, the one follows from the other, because the miser always carries with him the thought of his own reputation, and thus avarice, which is immediately combined with pride, full of its own opinions, goes on from It is a fire which always germinates the bad to worse. of smoke vainglory and vanity of heart, and boasting in that does which not belong to it. It is a root which has many branches, and the principal one is that which makes a man care for his own reputation, from whence proceeds his desire

My

"

80

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
It

to be greater than his neighbour.
deceitful heart that is neither pure

also brings forth the

nor liberal, but is double, making a man show one thing with his tongue, while he has another in his heart, and making him conceal the truth and
tell lies for
is

his

own

profit.

And

it

produces envy, which

that is always gnawing, and does not let the miser have any happiness out of his own or others good.

a

worm

How

will these

wicked ones in so wretched a state give of

their substance to the poor, when they rob others ? out of the mire, will they draw their foul soul

How
when

Sometimes even do they they themselves put it there ? become so brutish, that they do not consider their children and relations, and cause them to fall with them into great
the earth to swallow them up, that they may repent of their sins. Would they then give their life for the salvation of souls, when they will not give their sub
misery. do not

And, nevertheless,

in

My

mercy

I

sustain them,

I

command

stance ?

Would

gnawed with envy
heaven of the
so
I

they give their affections when they are ? Oh, miserable vices that destroy the

soul.

Heaven

I call

her (the soul) because

by grace, and hiding and making of her a mansion through affection of love. Now she has separated herself from Me, like an adulteress, loving herself, and creatures more than Me, and has made a god of herself, persecuting Me with many and diverse sins. And this she does because she does not consider the benefit of the Blood that was shed
her, living in

made

her at

first

Myself within

her,

with so great Fire of

Love."

CHAPTER XXXIV.
How some
"

others hold positions of authority, and bring forth fruits of injustice.

THERE

are others

who

position of authority, and

who

hold their heads high by their bear the banner of injustice

using injustice against Me, God, and against their neigh-

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

Si

to themselves by not pay hour, and against themselves ing the debt of virtue, and towards Me by not paying

which
their

the debt of honour in glorifying and praising My Name, But they, like debt they are bound to pay. thieves, steal what is Mine, and give it to the service of

own sensuality. So that they commit injustice towards and towards themselves, like blind and ignorant men who do not recognise Me in themselves on account of selflove, like the Jews and the ministers of the Law who, with envy and self-love, blinded themselves so that they did not recognise the Truth, My only-begotten Son, and rendered not His due to the Eternal Truth, who was amongst them, The Kingdom of God is among you? as said My Truth But they knew it not, because, in the aforesaid way, they had lost the light of reason, and so they did not pay their debt of honour and glory to Me, and to Him, who was one thing with Me, and like blind ones committed injustice, per secuting Him with much ignominy, even to the death of the

Me

:

Cross.
"Thus are such as these unjust to themselves, to Me, and to their neighbour, unjustly selling the flesh of their dependants, and of any person who falls into their hands."

CHAPTER XXXV.
How
"

through these and through other defects, one falls into false judgment and of the indignity to which one comes.
;

BY
I

as

these and by other sins will explain to you below.

men fall into false judgment, They are continually being

scandalised by My works, which are all just, and all per With this false formed in truth through love and mercy. and pride, the works judgment, and with the poison of envy

of
lies

My

Son were slandered and unjustly judged, and with
His
1

did

enemies

say

:

This

man

works
in

by virtue
self-love,

of Beelzebub.

Thus wicked men, standing

impurity, pride, and avarice, and founded in envy, and in F

82

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

at

perverse rashness with impatience, are for ever scandalised Me and at My servants, whom they judge to be feignedly
practising the virtues, because their heart
is

rotten, and,

having spoilt their taste, good things seem evil to them, and bad things, that is to say disorderly living, seem good to them. Oh, how blind is the human generation in that
it considers not its own dignity From being great thou hast become small, from a ruler thou hast become a slave, and that in the vilest service that can be had, because
1

thou art the servant and slave of
"

sin,

and

art

become

like

unto that which thou dost serve. Sin is nothing. Thou, then, hast become nothing; it has This life and deprived thee of life, and given thee death.

power were given you by the Word, My only-begotten Son, the glorious Bridge, He drawing you from out of your servitude when you were servants of the devil, Himself becoming as a servant to take you out of servitude, imposing on Himself obedience to do away the disobedience of Adam, and humbling Himself to the shameful death of the Cross to confound pride. By His death He destroyed every vice, so that no one could say that any vice remained that was not punished and beaten out with pains, as I said to thee above, when I said that of His Body He had made an anvil.
All the remedies are ready to save men from eternal death, and they despise the Blood, and have trampled It under the
feet of their disordinate affection
;

and

it is

and

false

judgment

that the world is reproved,

for this injustice and will be

reproved on the Last
"This

Day

of Judgment.
4

was meant by My Truth when He said: / will send the Paraclete, who will reprove the world for injustice and And it was reproved when I sent the Holy false judgment^
Spirit

on the

Apostles."

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

83

CHAPTER XXXVI.
Of the words
that Christ said
:

"/

will send the

Holy

Spirit,
"

reprove the world of injustice and of false judgment of these reproofs is continuous.
"

;

who will and how one

One was given when the reproofs. came upon the disciples, who, as it is said, being fortified by My power, and illuminated by the wisdom
THERE
are three

Holy

Spirit

of

My

Holy
with

Spirit.

beloved Son, received all in the plenitude of the Then the Holy Spirit, who is one thing

Me and with My Son, reproved the world by the mouth of the Apostles, with the doctrine of My Truth. They and all others, who are descended from them, following the truth
which they understand through the same means, reprove the world.
"

This

is

that continuous reproof that

I

make

to the

world

by means of the Holy Scriptures, and My servants, putting the Holy Spirit on their tongues to announce My truth,
even as the Devil puts himself on the tongues of his is to say, of those who pass through the river This is that sweet reproof that I have fixed in iniquity.
servants, that
for ever, in the aforesaid

way, out of

My most

great affection

they cannot say I had no one who reproved me, because the truth is revealed And I have made to them showing them vice and virtue. them see the fruit of virtue, and the hurtfulness of vice, to give them love and holy fear with hatred of vice and love of virtue, and this truth has not been shown them by an
of love for the salvation of souls.
angel, so that they cannot say,

And

who cannot offend, and feels not as we do, neither the heaviness
Incarnate

the angel is a blessed spirit the vexations of the flesh

Word

of

My

of our body, because the Truth has been given to them with
this

your mortal flesh. 11 Who were the others who followed

Word

?

Mortal

creatures, susceptible of pain like you, having the same opposition of the flesh to the Spirit, as had the glorious Paul, My standard bearer, and many other saints who, by

84

THE DIALOGUE OF
or
another,

ST.

CATHERINE
tormented.

one thing
torments
I

have

been

Which

permitted for the increase of grace and virtue in

their souls.

Thus, they were born in sin like you, and nourished with a like food, and I am God now as then. My power is not weakened and cannot become weak. So that I can and will succour him who wishes to be succoured Man wants My succour when he comes out of the by Me. and walks by the Bridge, following the doctrine of river, Thus no one has any excuse, because both Truth. My
reproof and truth are constantly given to them. Wherefore, if they do not amend while they have time, they will be condemned by the second condemnation which will take
place at the extremity of death,
to them,
*

when

My

Justice will
!

cry

That is to Rise, ye dead and come to judgment reached the and hast dead to who art grace, Thou, say, moment of thy corporal death, arise and come before the Supreme Judge with thy injustice and false judgment, and with the extinguished light of faith which thou didst receive burning in Holy Baptism (and which thou hast blown out with the wind of pride), and with the vanity of thy heart, with which thou didst set thy sails to winds which were
contrary to thy salvation, for with the wind of self-esteem, Thus didst thou hasten didst thou fill the sail of self-love.

down

the stream of the delights and dignities of the world at thy own will, following thy fragile flesh and the tempta
tions of the devil, who, with the sail of thy own will set, has led thee along the underway which is a running stream,

and so has brought thee with himself

to eternal damnation."

CHAPTER XXXVII.
Of the second reproof
of injustice,

and of false judgment,

in

general and in particular.
11

is indeed a con has at the arrived demnation, end, where there can be no remedy, for she is at the extremity of death,

THIS second reproof, dearest daughter,
for the soul

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
where
is

85

the

worm

blinded self-love.
get out of

Now at

of conscience, which I told thee was the time of death, since she cannot

My hands, she begins to see, and therefore is with remorse, seeing that her own sin has brought gnawed But if the soul have light to know her into so great evil.
on account of the pain of Hell but on of pain at her offence account upon it, Who am and Eternal against Me, Supreme Good, still she can find mercy. But if she pass the Bridge of death

and grieve

for her fault, not

that follows

without light, and alone, with the worm of conscience, without the hope of the Blood, and bewailing herself more on account of her first condemnation than on account of

My

displeasure, she
is

arrives

at

eternal

damnation.

And

reproved cruelly by My of false judgment, and not so much of general injustice and false judgment which she has practised generally in all her
then she

Justice of injustice and

works, but

much more on account of

the particular injustice

judgment which she practises at the end, in judging her misery greater than My mercy. This is that sin which is neither pardoned here nor there, because the soul would not be pardoned, depreciating My mercy. Therefore is this

and

false

last sin graver to

Me

than

all

the other sins that the soul

Wherefore the despair of Judas dis pleased Me more, and was more grave to My Son than was his betrayal of Him. So that they are reproved of this false judgment, which is to have held their sin to be greater than My mercy, and, on that account, are they punished with the devils, and eternally tortured with them. And they are reproved of injustice because they grieve more over their condemnation than over My displeasure, and do not render to Me that which is Mine, and to themselves that which is theirs. For to Me, they ought to render love and to themselves, bitterness, with contrition of heart, and offer it to Me, for the offence they have done Me. And they do the contrary because they give to themselves love, pitying themselves, and grieving on account of the pain they
has
committed.
so thou seest that they are guilty of ; judgment, and are punished for the one and the other together. Wherefore, they, having depre-

expect for their sin
injustice

and

false

86
ciated

THE DIALOGUE OF
My
mercy,
I

ST.

CATHERINE

with justice send them, with their cruel servant, sensuality, and the cruel tyrant the Devil, whose servants they made themselves through their own sensuality,
so that, together, they are punished and tormented, as together they have offended Me. Tormented, I say, by My
ministering devils whom My judgment torment those who have done evil."

has appointed to

CHAPTER
Of the
all

XXXVIII.

four principal torments of the damned, from which follow the others ; and particularly of the foulness of the Devil.

MY daughter, the tongue is not sufficient to narrate the As there are three principal vices, pain of these poor souls. namely self-love, whence proceeds the second, that is
"

:

whence proceeds the third, that is pride, with injustice and cruelty, and with other filthiness and
love of reputation,

So I say to thee, iniquitous sins, that follow upon these. that in Hell, the souls have four principal torments, out of which proceed all the other torments. The first is, that
is

they see themselves deprived of the vision of Me, which such pain to them, that, were it possible, they would rather choose the fire, and the tortures and torments,

Me, than to be without the torments and not Me. This first pain revives in them, then, the second, the worm of Conscience, which gnaws unceasingly, seeing that the soul is deprived of Me, and of the conversation of the
to see

and

to see
"

made worthy of the conversation which vision of the Devil is the third pain and redoubles to them their every toil. As the saints exult in the sight of Me, refreshing themselves with joyousness in the fruit of their toils borne for Me with such abundance of love, and displeasure of themselves, so does the sight of the Devil revive these wretched ones to tor ments, because in seeing him they know themselves more,
angels, through her sin, and sight of the devils,

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

87

that is to say, they know that, by their own sin, they have made themselves worthy of him. And so the worm of Conscience gnaws more and more, and the fire of this

Conscience never ceases to burn. And the sight is more painful to them, because they see him in his own form,

man could not imagine thou remember well, thou knowest that I showed him to thee in his own form for a little space of time, hardly
which
is

so horrible that the heart of
if

it.

And

a moment, and thou didst choose (after thou hadst returned to thyself) rather to walk on a road of fire, even until the

Day

of Judgment, than to see him again. With all this that thou hast seen, even thou dost not know well how horrible he is, because, by Divine justice, he appears more horrible

Me, and more or less accord fourth torment that they have is the fire. This fire burns and does not consume, for the being of the soul cannot be consumed, because it is not a material thing that fire can consume. But I, by Divine justice, have permitted the fire to burn them with torments, so that it torments them, without consuming them, with the
to the soul that is deprived of ing to the gravity of her sin.

The

greatest pains in diverse

ways according to the diversity of their sins, to some more, and to some less, according to the Out of these four torments issue all gravity of their fault.

others, such as cold and heat and gnashing of the teeth and many others. Now because they did not amend them

the first reproof that they had of injustice judgment, neither in the second, which was that, in death, they would not hope in Me, nor grieve for the offence done to Me, but only for their own pain, have they thus so miserably received Eternal Punishment."
selves after
false

and

CHAPTER XXXIX.
Of the
"

third reproof

which
to

is

made on the Day

of Judgment.

Now

it

remains

tell

on the Last

Day

of Judgment.

of the third reproof which is Already I have told thee

88

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

of two, and now, so that thou mayest see how greatly man of the deceives himself, I will tell thee of the third

General Judgment, when the pain of the miserable soul is renewed and increased by the union that the soul will make with the body, with an intolerable reproof, which will Know that, in the generate in it confusion and shame. Last Day of Judgment, when will come the Word My
Son, with My Divine Majesty to reprove the world with Divine Power, He will not come like a poor one, as when

He was born, coming in the womb of the Virgin, and being born in a stable amongst the animals, and then dying between two thieves. Then I concealed My power in Him,
letting

Him
let

suffer pain

and torment

like

man, not that

My
He

divine nature

was

therefore separated from

human
will

nature,

but

I

come, with power, to reprove in His Own Person, and will render to every one his due, and there will be no one in that Day

will not

him suffer like man to satisfy for your come thus in that last moment, but He

guilt.

To the miserable ones who are tremble. His will cause such torment and terror that damned, aspect the tongue cannot describe it. To the just it will cause the fear of reverence with great joy not that His face changes, because He is unchangeable, being one thing with Me
who
will not
;

according to the divine nature, and, according to the human nature, His face was unchangeable, after it took the glory of
the Resurrection.

appear such, on

account

But, to the eye of the damned, it will of their terrible and darkened

vision, that, as the sun which is so bright, appears all darkness to the infirm eye, but to the healthy eye light, (and it is not the defect of the light that makes it appear other to the blind than to the illuminated one, but the defect of the eye which is infirm), so will the condemned ones see His countenance in darkness, in confusion and in hatred, not through defect of My Divine Majesty, with which He will come to judge the world, but through their

own

defect."

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

89

CHAPTER
How
the

XL.
desire

damned cannot

any good.

"AND their hatred is so great that they cannot will or desire any good, but they continually blaspheme Me. And dost thou know why they cannot desire good ? Because

the life of man ended, free-will is bound. Wherefore they cannot merit, having lost, as they have, the time to do so. If they finish their life, dying in hatred with the guilt of

mortal sin, their souls, by divine justice, remain for ever bound with the bonds of hatred, and for ever obstinate in
that evil, in which, therefore, being gnawed by themselves, their pains always increase, especially the pains of those who have been the cause of damnation to others, as that rich man, who was damned, demonstrated to you when he

begged the favour that Lazarus might go to his brothers, in the world, to tell them of his pains. This, certainly, he did not do out of love or compassion for his brothers, for he was deprived of love and could not desire good, either for My honour or their salvation, because, as I have already told thee, the damned souls cannot do any good to their neighbour, and they blaspheme Me, because their life ended in hatred of Me and of virtue. But why then did he do it ? He did it because he was the eldest, and had nourished them up in the same miseries in which he had lived, so that he was the cause of their damnation, and he saw pain increased to himself, on account of their damnation when they should arrive in torment

who were

together with him, to be

gnawed

for ever

by hatred, because

in hatred they finished their

lives."

CHAPTER
Of the
"

XLI.

glory of the Blessed.

SIMILARLY, the just soul, for

whom

life

finishes in the affec
in virtue,

tion of charity

and the bonds of love, cannot increase

go

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

that affection with

time having come to nought, but she can always love with which she comes to Me, and that measure

She always desires Me, and loves and her desire in vain is not Me, being hungry, she is and she has satisfied, being satisfied, hunger, but the tediousness of satiety and the pain of hunger are far from
that is measured to her.
her.

In love, the Blessed rejoice in
in

My eternal vision, parti
in Myself,

cipating
love, with

that

good

that

I

have

according to his measure, that is that, with that

which they have come to Me, is it Because they have lived in love of Me and of the neighbour, united together with the general love, and the particular, And which, moreover both proceed from the same love. and in each other s with exult, participating they rejoice good

every one measure of measured to them.

the affection of love, besides the universal good that they And they rejoice and exult with the enjoy altogether.

angels with whom they are placed, according to their diverse and various virtues in the world, being all bound in the bonds of love. And they have a special participation

with those
in

whom

they closely loved with particular affection

which affection they grew in grace, and the one was the occasion to the other increasing virtue, of manifesting the glory and praise of My name, in them selves and in their neighbour ; and, in the life everlasting, they have not lost their love, but have it still, participating closely, with more abundance, the one with the other, their love being added to the universal good, and I would not that thou shouldest think that they have this particular good, of which I have told thee, for themselves alone, for it
the world, with
is

not so, but

it

is

shared by
all

beloved

sons, and

the

the proved citizens, My the soul for, when angels
all

arrives at eternal
soul,

life, all

and the soul

in

participate in the good of that their good. Not that her vessel or

theirs can increase, nor that there be
it

need to

fill it,

because

full, but they have an exultation, a mirth fulness, a jubilee, a joyousness in themselves, which is refreshed by

is

the knowledge that they have found in that soul. They see that, by My mercy, she is raised from the earth with

the plenitude of grace, and therefore they exult in

Me

in

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

91

the good of that soul, which good she has received through

My
"

goodness.

And

that soul rejoices in Me,

and

in the souls,

and

in

the blessed spirits, seeing and tasting in them the beauty And their desires for ever and the sweetness of My love.

And cry out to Me, for the salvation of the whole world. because their life ended in the love of the neighbour, they have not left it behind, but, with it, they will pass through
the Door,
in

My

relate to thee.

only-begotten Son in the way that I will So thou seest that in those bonds of love
are

eternally.

their life, they go on and remain conformed so entirely to My will, that they cannot desire except what I desire, because their free-will is bound in the bond of love, in such a way that, time failing them, and, dying in a state of grace, they cannot

which they finished

They

sin

any more.

And

their will is so united with Mine,

that

a father or a mother seeing their son, or a son seeing his father or his mother in Hell, do not trouble themselves, and even are contented to see them punished as My enemies.

Wherefore
see

desires are

My

nothing do they disagree with Me, and their satisfied. The desire of the blessed is to honour in you wayfarers, who are pilgrims, for ever
in
all

In their desire for running on towards the term of death. desire and honour, they your salvation, always pray to My Me for you, which desire is fulfilled by Me, when you ignorant ones do not resist My mercy. They have a desire the of their to but this desire does regain gifts too, body,
not
afflict

rejoice in

them, as they do not actually feel it, but they tasting the desire, from the certainty they feel of
fulfilled.

Their desire does not afflict them, because, though they have it not yet fulfilled, no bliss is Wherefore they feel not the pain thereby lacking to them.
having
it

of desire.

And

think not, that the bliss of the body after

the resurrection gives more bliss to the soul, for, if this were so, it would follow that, until they had the body, they

had imperfect
is

bliss,

which cannot

be,

because no perfection

not the body that gives bliss to the soul, but the soul will give bliss to the body, because the soul will give of her abundance, and will re-clothe herit is

lacking to them.

So

92
self

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

own

on the Last Day of Judgment, in the garments of her flesh which she had quitted. For, as the soul is made in and stablished immortal, stayed Me, so the body in that union becomes immortal, and, having lost heaviness, is made fine and light. Wherefore, know that the glorified body can pass through a wall, and that neither water nor fire can injure it, not by virtue of itself, but by virtue of the soul, which virtue is of Me, given to her by grace, and by the ineffable love with which I created her in My image and likeness.

The eye

of thy intellect

is

to hear, nor thy tongue to tell of the

not sufficient to see, nor thy ear good of the Blessed.

Oh, how much delight they have in seeing Me, Who am every good Oh, how much delight they will have in being with
!

the glorified body, though, not having that delight from now to the general Judgment, they have not, on that account, pain, because no bliss is lacking to them, the soul

being satisfied in herself, and, as
will participate in this bliss.
"

I

have told

thee, the

body

I told thee of the happiness which the glorified body would take in the glorified humanity of My only-begotten Son, which gives you assurance of your resurrection. There, they exult in His wounds, which have remained fresh, and the Scars in His Body are preserved, and continually cry for mercy for you, to Me, the Supreme and Eternal Father. And they are all conformed with Him, in joyousness and mirth, and you will all be conformed with Him, eye with eye, and hand with hand, and with the whole Body of the sweet

Word My Son, and, dwelling in Me, you will dwell in Him, But their bodily eye, because He is one thing with Me.
as
I

told thee, will delight itself in

of the

Word,

My

only-begotten
for

Son.

the glorified humanity so ? Because

Why

their life finished in the affection of
will this delight

My

love,

endure

them

eternally.

and therefore Not that they

can work any good, but they rejoice and delight in that good which they have brought with them, that is, they cannot do any meritorious act, by which they could merit
anything, because in this life alone can they merit and sin, according as they please, with free-will.
"

These then do not

await, with fear, the Divine judgment,

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

93

but with joy, and the Face of My Son will not seem to them terrible, or full of hatred, because they finished their lives in love and affection for Me, and good-will

towards their neighbour. So thou seest then, that the transformation is not in His Face, when He comes to judge
with

My

judged by Him. and with justice.

Divine Majesty, but in the vision of those who will be To the damned He will appear with hatred

And

to the saved with love

and

mercy."

CHAPTER
How,
after the

XLII.

General Judgment, the pain of the
will increase.

damned
"

Righteous, so that thou mayest the better know the misery of the damned. For this is another of their pains, namely, the vision of the bliss of the righteous, which is to them an increase of pain, as,
I

HAVE

told thee of the dignity of the

to the righteous, the

damnation of the damned
in

is

an

in

crease of exultation

As light is seen goodness. better near darkness, and darkness near light, so the sight With pain they await of the Blessed increases their pain. the Last Day of Judgment, because they see, following it, an

My

increase of pain to themselves. And so will it be, because when that terrible voice shall say to them, Arise, ye dead,

and come

to judgment/ the soul will return with the body, in the just to be glorified, and in the damned to be And the aspect of My Truth, and of tortured eternally. all the blessed ones will reproach them greatly, and make

them ashamed, and the worm of conscience will gnaw the pith of the tree, that is the soul, and also the bark out side, which is the body. They will be reproached by the Blood that was shed for them, and by the works of mercy, spiritual and temporal, which I did for them by means of My Son, and which they should have done for their neigh
bour, as
is contained in the Holy Gospel. They will be reproved for their cruelty towards their neighbour, for their

pride and self-love, for their filthiness

and avarice

;

and

94

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

when they

see the mercy that they have received from Me, their reproof will seem to be intensified in harshness.

At the time of death, the soul only is reproved, but, at the General Judgment, the soul is reproved together with the body, because the body has been the companion and to do good and evil according as instrument of the soul

by means of

the free-will pleased. the body.

Every work, good or bad, is done And, therefore, justly, My daughter,

glory and infinite good are rendered to
their glorified body, rewarding for Me, together with the soul.
will

My

elect

ones with

them

for the toils they bore And to the perverse ones

be rendered eternal pains by means of their bod}-, because their body was the instrument of evil. Wherefore,
being their body,
increase
at

restored,

their

pains

will

revive

and

the

aspect

of

My

Son,

their

miserable

(that

sensuality with its filthiness, in the vision of their nature, is, the humanity of Christ) united with the purity of My Deity, and of this mass of their Adam nature raised
all

above

own
see

fault,

the choirs of Angels, and themselves, by their sunk into the depths of Hell. And they will

who

generosity and mercy shining in the blessed ones, receive the fruit of the Blood of the Lamb, the pains that

they have borne remaining as ornaments on their bodies, like the dye upon the cloth, not by virtue of the body but
only out of the fulness of the soul, representing in the body the fruit of its labour, because it was the companion

As in the mirror is of the soul in the working of virtue. represented the face of the man, so in the body is repre sented the fruit of bodily toils, in the way that I have told
thee.
"The pain and confusion of the darkened ones, on seeing so great a dignity (of which they are deprived), will increase, and in their bodies will appear the sign of the wickedness

they have committed, with pain and torture. Go cursed ones, hear that terrible speech,
t

And when
to

the

they Eternal

Fire] the soul and the body will go to be with the Devil each one being wrapped up without any remedy or hope in diverse filth of earth, according to his evil works. The miser with the filth of avarice, wrapping himself up with

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

95

the worldly substance which he loved disordinately, and burning in the fire ; the cruel one with cruelty ; the foul man with foulness and miserable concupiscence ; the un

and just with his injustice ; the envious with envy ; And inordinate the hater of his neighbour with hatred.
self-love,

whence were born

all

their

ills,

will

be

burnt

with intolerable pain, as the head and principle of every in company with pride. So that body and soul evil,

Thus miserably together will be punished in diverse ways. arrive do they at their end who go by the lower way, that
turning back to see their sins and My they arrive at the Gate of the Lie, because they follow the doctrine of the Devil, who is the Father of Lies ; and this Devil is their Door, through which they go
is,

by the

river, not

Mercy.

And

to

My

Eternal Damnation, as has been said, as the elect and sons, keeping by the way above, that is by the Bridge,

follow the

therefore said

Way of Truth, and My Truth, No
is

by Me.

1

He

this Truth is the Door, and one can go to the Father but the Door and the Way through Which

It is the contrary they pass to enter the Sea Pacific. for those who have kept the Way of the Lie, which leads them to the water of death. And it is to this that the

Devil calls them, and they are as blind and mad, and do not perceive it, because they have lost the light of faith. The Devil says, as it were, to them Whosoever thirsts for
:

the water of death,

let

him come and

I

will give

it

to him.

"

CHAPTER
Of

XLIII.

the use of temptations, and how every soul in her extremity sees her final place either of pain or of glory, before she is sepa
rated from the body.

"

Justice to

dearest daughter, is the instrument of My torment the souls who have miserably offended Me. And I have set him in this life to tempt and molest My creatures, not for My creatures to be conquered, but
Devil,

THE

g6

THE DIALOGUE OF
Me

ST.

CATHERINE

that they

from

may conquer, proving their virtue, and receive And no one should fear any the glory of victory. battle or temptation of the Devil that may come to him,

because I have made My creatures strong, and have given them strength of will, fortified in the Blood of my Son, which will, neither Devil nor creature can move, because it
is

can hold

yours, given by Me. You therefore, with free arbitration, It is an it or leave it, according as you please. arm, which, if you place it in the hands of the Devil,

straightway becomes a knife, with which he strikes you and But if man do not give this knife of his will slays you. into the hands of the Devil, that is, if he do not consent
to his temptations and molestations, he will never be in jured by the guilt of sin in any temptation, but will even be fortified by it, when the eye of his intellect is opened to

see

My

at virtue,

love which allowed him to be tempted, so as to arrive For one does not arrive at by being proved.
self,

virtue except through knowledge of

and knowledge of

perfectly acquired in the time of temptation, because then man knows himself to be nothing,being unable to lift off himself the pains and vexations

Me, which

knowledge

is

more

which he would
is fortified

flee

;

and he knows

Me

in his will,

which

goodness, so that it does not yield to And he has seen that My love permits these thoughts. these temptations, for the devil is weak, and by himself And I let him tempt, can do nothing, unless I allow him.

by

My

through love, and not through hatred, that you may con quer, and not that you may be conquered, and that you

may come to a perfect knowledge of yourself, and of Me, and that virtue may be proved, for it is not proved except Thou seest, then, that he is My minister by its contrary. to torture the damned in Hell, and in this life, to exercise Not that it is the intention and prove virtue in the soul.
of the Devil to prove virtue in you (for he has not love), but rather to deprive you of it, and this he cannot do, if

you do not wish
foolishness of

it.

Now thou
in

seest, then,

how great
feeble,

is

the
I

men

making themselves

when

have made them strong, and in putting themselves into the hands of the Devil. Wherefore, know, that at the moment

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

97

of death, they, having passed their life under the lordship of the Devil (not that they were forced to do so, for as I told you they cannot be forced, but they voluntarily put

themselves into his hands), and, arriving at the extremity of their death under this perverse lordship, they await no other

judgment than that of despairingly, come to

their

own
to

conscience, and desperately,

eternal damnation.

Wherefore

Hell,

the extremity of through up and before take hold of it, by death, they get there, they means of their lord the Devil. As the righteous, who have
their hate, surges
in

them

lived

in

fectly in

charity and died in love, if they have lived per virtue, illuminated with the light of faith, with

perfect

hope in the Blood of the Lamb, when the extremity of death comes, see the good which I have prepared for them, and embrace it with the arms of love, holding fast with pressure of love to Me, the Supreme and Eternal Good.

And

so they taste eternal life before they have left the mortal body, that is, before the soul be separated from the

body.

and have an ordinary charity, (not in that great perfection), embrace My mercy with the same light of faith and hope that had those perfect ones, but, in them, it is imperfect, for, because they were
their
lives,

Others
at

who have passed

arrived

the last extremity of death with

imperfect, they constrained

My

greater than their sins.
trary, for,

The wicked

mercy, counting My mercy sinners do the con they

seeing, with desperation, their destination,

embrace it with hatred, as I told thee. So that neither the one nor the other waits for judgment, but, in departing this life, they receive every one their place, as I have told thee, and they taste it and possess it before they depart from the
the damned with hatred body, at the extremity of death and with despair, and the perfect ones with love and the
light

of faith and with the hope of the Blood.

And

the

imperfect arrive at the place of Purgatory, with mercy and the same faith."

98

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How
how

XLIV.
:

the Devil gets hold of souls, under pretence of some good and, those are deceived who keep by the river, and not by the aforesaid Bridge, for, wishing to fly pains, they fall into them and of the vision of a tree, that this soul once had.
;

41

I

HAVE

told thee that the Devil invites
to that

men

to the

water of

death, that

has, and, blinding them with is, and of conditions the world, he catches them the pleasures of under hook the pretence of good, the with pleasure, could he no other catch in because them, for they would way to be if themselves allow not caught they saw that no good or to be obtained thereby. For the to themselves were pleasure
soul,

which he

from her nature, always relishes good, though it is true that the soul, blinded by self-love, does not know and dis cern what is true good, and of profit to the soul and to the
body.

And,

therefore, the Devil, seeing

them blinded by

self-love, iniquitously places before them diverse and various delights, coloured so as to have the appearance of some bene

and he gives to every one according to his con and those dition principal vices to which he sees him to be one kind to the secular, of another to of most disposed others to prelates and noblemen, accord and the religious, I have told thee this, different to their conditions. ing to thee of I those now who drown themselves because speak care for and who in the river, nothing but themselves, to love themselves to My injury, and I will relate to thee their end. 41 Now I want to show thee how they deceive themselves, and how, wishing to flee troubles, they fall into them. For, because it seems to them that following Me, that is, walking
fit

or good

;

by the way of the Bridge, the Word, My Son, is great toil, they draw back, fearing the thorn. This is because they are
blinded and do not
I

know

or see the Truth, as, thou knowest,

thy life, when thou didst have mercy on the world, and draw it out of the darkness of mortal sin. Thou knowest that I then showed thee Myself under the figure of a Tree, of

showed

thee in the beginning of

pray

Me

to

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

99

which thou sawest neither the beginning nor the end, so that thou didst not see that the roots were united with the

At the foot of the Tree, if thou earth of your humanity. rememberest well, there was a certain thorn, from which
thorn
all

those

who
to a

love

their

own

sensuality
in

away,
didst

and
figure

ran
to

mountain of Lolla,
all

which

kept thou

thyself

the

delights

of

the world.

That Lolla seemed

not, and, there souls thereon died of hunger, many and many, recognising the deceits of the world, returned to the Tree and passed the thorn, which is the deliberation of
fore, as thou didst see,

to be of corn

and was

the will.

Which
to

which appears
the Truth.

deliberation, before it is made, is a thorn man to stand in the way of following

And

sensuality on the other

conscience always fights on one side, and but as soon as he, with hatred and
;

displeasure of himself, manfully makes up his mind, saying, 1 1 wish to follow Christ crucified, he breaks at once the
thorn,
then,

and finds inestimable sweetness, as I showed thee some finding more and some less, according to their
I

And thou knowest that then I said to am thee, your God, unmoving and unchangeable/ and I do not draw away from any creature who wants to come to Me.
disposition and desire.

have shown them the Truth, making Myself visible to them, and I have shown them what it is to love anything without Me. But they, as if blinded by the fog of disordinate love, know neither Me nor themselves. Thou seest
I

how

than to pass a

deceived they are, choosing rather to die of hunger little thorn. And they cannot escape endur

ing pain, for no one can pass through this life without a Not cross, far less those who travel by the lower way.
that
ated.

My

And

servants pass without pain, but their pain is allevi because by sin, as I said to thee above the

world germinates thorns and tribulations, and because this river flows with tempestuous waters, I gave you the Bridge, so that you might not be drowned. 1 have shown thee how they are deceived by a dis"

ordinate fear, and how I am your God, immovable, am not an Acceptor of persons but of holy desire. And this I

Who

have shown thee under the figure of the Tree, as

I

told

thee."

ioo

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER XLV.
How, the world having germinated thorns, who those are whom although no one passes .this life without they do not harm
;

pain.

to whom the thorns and tribula world germinated through sin, do harm, and to whom they do not. And as, so far, I have shown thee the damnation of sinners, together with My goodness, and have
"

Now

I

want to show thee

tions, that the

told thee

how

now

I

wish to

tell

they are deceived by their own sensuality, thee how it is only they themselves who

No one born passes this life are injured by the thorns. without pain, bodily or mental. Bodily pain My servants
bear, but their

minds are
;

free, that is,

they do not

feel the

weariness of the pain

and it and of body have those, of whom I have narrated to thee, who, in this life, taste the earnest money of hell, as My
servants taste the earnest

for their will is accorded with Mine, is the will that gives trouble to man. Pain of mind

money

of eternal

life.

Knowest

thou what

It special good of the blessed ones ? is having their desire filled with what they desire ; where fore desiring Me, they have Me, and taste Me without is

the

any was

revolt, for

they have

left

the burden of the body, which

a law that opposed the spirit, and came between it and the perfect knowledge of the Truth, preventing it from seeing Me face to face. But after the soul has left the weight of

the body, her desire

is full, for,

desiring to see Me, she sees
;

and seeing she knows, and and loving she tastes Me, Supreme and Eternal Good, and, in tasting Me, she is satisfied, and her desire is fulfilled, that is, the desire she had to see and know Me; wherefore desiring she has, and having she And as I told thee pain is far from the desire, desires. and weariness from the satisfaction of it. So thou seest that My servants are blessed principally in seeing and in knowing Me, in which vision and knowledge their will is fulfilled, for they have that which they desired to have, and Me,
in

which vision
loves,

is

her bliss

knowing she

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

101

Wherefore I told thee that the so are they satisfied. tasting of eternal life consisted especially in having that
which the
told thee.
will desires, and thus being satisfied ; but know that the will is satisfied in seeing and knowing Me, as I have

In this
life,

of eternal

life then, they taste the earnest money tasting the above, with which I have told

thee they will be satisfied. But how have they the earnest
"

life ?

money in this present reply to thee, they have it in seeing My goodness in themselves, and in the knowledge of My Truth, which knowledge, the intellect (which is the eye of the soul) illu
I

This eye has the pupil of the minated in Me, possesses. most holy faith, which light of faith enables the soul to
discern, to

know, and to follow the way and the doctrine of Truth the Word Incarnate ; and without this pupil of faith she would not see, except as a man who has the form

My

of the eye, but who has covered the pupil (which causes the So the pupil of the intellect is eye to see) with a cloth.
faith,

and if the soul has covered it with the cloth of infi delity, drawn over it by self-love, she does not see, but only has the form of the eye without the light, because she has Thus thou seest, that in seeing they know, and hidden it. in knowing they love, and in loving they deny and lose Their own will lost, they clothe themselves their self-will. in Mine, and I will nothing but your sanctification. At once they set to, turning their back to the way below, and begin to ascend by the Bridge, and pass over the thorns, which do not hurt them, their feet being shod with the affection of My love. For I told thee that My seivants
suffered corporally but not mentally, because the sensitive
will, is

which gives pain and afflicts the mind of the creature, Wherefore, the will not being there, neither is there any pain. They bear everything with reverence, themselves favoured in having tribulation for My deeming and desire If I allow sake, they nothing but what I desire.
dead.
the Devil to trouble them, permitting temptations to prove them in virtue, as I told thee above, they resist with
their will fortified in

Me, humiliating themselves, and deem themselves ing unworthy of peace and quiet of mind and

102

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

deserving of pain, and so they proceed with cheerfulness and And if tribula self-knowledge, without painful affliction.

on man s account, or infirmity, or poverty, or change of worldly condition, or loss of children, or of other much loved creatures (all of which are thorns that the earth pro
tions

duced after sin) come upon them, they endure them all with the light of reason and holy faith, looking to Me, am cannot desire other than good, the Supreme Good, and

Who

Who

for

which

I

permit these tribulations through love, and not

Me recognise this, and, see their examining themselves, they sins, and understand of that must the be rewarded and evil faith, light good by
through hatred.

And they

that love

And they see that every little sin merits infinite punished. because it is against Me, Who am Infinite Good, pain,
wherefore they deem themselves favoured because I wish to punish them in this life, and in this finite time ; they drive

away
good.

sin with contrition of heart,
merit,

do they

and

their labours are

and with perfect patience rewarded with infinite

Hereafter they know that all labour in this life is account of the shortness of time. Time is as the on small, more needle and no when of a time has passed and, point
;

labour
small.

is

ended, therefore thou seest that the labour is They endure with patience, and the thorns they

is

pass through do not touch their heart, because their heart drawn out of them and united to Me by the affection of
a good truth then that these do taste eternal receiving the earnest money of it in this life, and that,
It is

love.
life,

though they walk on thorns, they are not pricked, because as I told thee, they have known My Supreme Goodness, and sought for it where it was to be found, that is in the Word,

My

only begotten

Son."

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

105

CHAPTER
Of the
evils

XLVI.
;

how good works
for eternal
"

which proceed from the blindness of the intellect and not done in a state of grace are not profitable
life.

I

HAVE

told thee this, so that thou shouldest

know

well

how

these, of

whose delusion

I

have been speaking to thee,

taste the earnest

proceeds their delusion,

money. eye of

Hell. Now I will tell thee whence and how they receive that earnest They are deluded in that they have blinded the

money of

their intellect with
is

infidelity, arising

from

self-love,

because, as every truth

acquired by the light of Faith, so kind of lying deceit. I speak is every acquired by infidelity of the infidelity of those who have received holy baptism,

through which the pupil of Faith was placed in the eye of their intellect, and as the result of which, on arriving at the age of discretion, if they have exercised themselves rightly
in virtue, they

have preserved the

light of Faith.

Where

fore they give birth to living virtues, bringing forth fruit by means of their neighbour, like a woman, who, bringing forth
alive, brings it living to her husband ; so should they am the Husband of their virtues living to Me, bring But these wretches do the contrary, for when the soul.

a child

Who

they have arrived at the age of discretion, at which time they should, by the exercise of the light of Faith, bring their virtues living to the birth of grace, they bring them forth still-born.

Their virtues are dead because all their works are dead, having been performed in mortal sin, and without the light of Faith. Such as these have indeed the form of holy baptism, but not the light thereof, of which they have deprived
"

themselves, through the cloud of sins they have committed, through self-love which has covered the pupil of their eye.

To

such as these

are dead.

is it said, Those who have faith without works Wherefore as the dead do not see, neither can

see, because the pupil of his eye has been as I have told thee, nor does he know that he darkened, He does not remains in the sins which he has committed.

such a

man

104

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

recognise in himself My goodness, whence he has received Where being and every other grace that he possesses. fore, not recognising Me in himself, he does not hate his

own

appetite,

sensuality, but rather loves it, seeking to satisfy his and so brings forth the dead offspring of many

mortal sins. He does not love Me, and not loving Me, does not love what I love, that is to say, his neighbour, and

does not delight in doing what pleases Me, wherein consists true and real virtue, which it pleases Me to see in him, not because such virtue profits me, for nothing can profit Me, I being He without whom nothing is done except sin

(which is nothing, inasmuch as it deprives the soul of It is rather on grace and of Me, Who am Every Good.) account of their own profit that the virtues of men please Me, for I have the wherewithal to reward them in ever
lasting
is
life. Thou seest, then, that the faith of these wretches dead, because it is without works, those which they per form not meriting for them eternal life, because they are

deprived of the life of grace. Nevertheless, a man should not leave off doing good, either with or without grace, for,
just as every

punished, so is all good rewarded. done in a state of grace merits eternal life, and the good done out of grace is rewarded in various ways, as I told thee above for sometimes I lend them time
sin is
is

The good which

;

for repentance, or put into the hearts of servants to continue intercessions for them, by means of which they

My

often escape from their sins and miseries. Sometimes, through the disposition of grace, they receive neither prayers nor time, but are rewarded with temporal things,

My

being treated like animals that are fatted for the slaughter. Therefore such as these, who, having always kicked against My goodness, nevertheless do some good, not in a state of grace, but in sin, and have not profited in their works either
time, or by prayers, or any of the other ways in which have called them, being reproved by Me for their sins, (My goodness wishing nevertheless to reward their works, that is, that little service which they have done), they are rewarded by Me with temporal things on which

by
I

they fatten, and, not correcting themselves, they arrive at

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
eternal punishment.

105

So thou seest they are deceived. Who has deceived them ? They themselves, because they have deprived themselves of the light of living Faith, and walk
blind

like

men

groping,

and

attach

themselves

to

that

which they touch.

But, because they do not

see,

except

with a blind eye, they place their affections on transitory things, therefore are they deceived and act like madmen, who look only at the glitter of the gold, and not at the

hidden poison. Wherefore know, that the things of the world and all its delights and pleasures they have seized and
possessed, without Me, but with disordinate love of self, and these things are like the scorpion which I shewed thee in the beginning, after the figure of the tree, telling thee that it

and venom behind, and that the venom was not without the gold, nor the gold without the venom, but that the gold was seen first, and that no one preserved
carries gold in front

himself from the venom, except those by the light of faith."

who were

illuminated

CHAPTER
How
;

XLVII.

the commandments cannot be observed by those who do not observe the counsels and how every state, which a man may choose, if he have a good and holy will, is pleasing to God.

"I

HAVE

told thee of those,

who, with the knife of two

blades (that is hatred of vice and love of virtue), for love of Me, cut out the venom of their own sensuality, and, with the
light of reason, held

and possessed and acquired the gold

contained in those
keep.

mundane things
desires
to

that they desired to

But, he

who

practise great perfection,

These are despises them in deed as well as in thought. they, as I told thee, who observe the counsel actually, which

was given

to

them and

left

by

My

Truth.

And

those

who

retain possession of the things of the world, are those who observe the commandments in action, but the counsels in thought only, and not in deed. For, inasmuch as the

counsels are bound up in the commandments, no one can

106

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

latter who does not observe the former, at least that is to say, that they possess the riches of the world humbly and without pride, as lent to them and

observe the

in thought,

own ; for they are only given to you for your use through My goodness, since you only possess what I give I you, and can only retain what I allow you to retain.
not their
give you as
salvation,

much

of them as

I

and

in this

way should you use

see to be profitable for your them, for a man,

so using them, observes the commandment, loving Me above everything, and his neighbour as himself ; for he lives with a pure divested heart, casting riches away from himself in
desire

and

love,

with
cut

My

will.

and only possessing them in accordance Such a man therefore, though he possess

his riches in deed, observes the counsel in thought, having out of his heart the poison of disordinate love and

affection.

Such as these are

in

common

charity.

But those

who
"

observe the commandments and counsels in deed as

well as in thought are in perfect charity. With true simplicity they observe the counsel which My Truth, the Word Incarnate, gave to that young man who
asked,
life

saying
to

:

What must I
replied
:

?

whom He

do, Master, to inherit Eternal Observe the commandments of

the

Law, and the young man answering,
Jesus then said
:

said

:

I have observed

them.
go,

It is well ; now, ifthou wilt be perfect, And the sell all that thou hast and give to the poor.

too

young man was much love.
"

sad, because

he

still

held his riches with

But these perfect ones observe that counsel, abandoning its pleasures, macerating the body with penance and with watching, with humility and continual The others, dwelling in common charity, who do prayers. not raise themselves above their worldly possessions in deed, do not on that account lose eternal life, inasmuch as they are not fettered by them. But, if they wish to possess the things of the world, they should do so in the way that I have told thee, and they do not offend in so possessing them, because everything is good and perfect, and created
the world with

by Me,
rational

Who am

the
;

Supreme Good,
not
that

for the service of

My
may

creatures

My

rational

creatures

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

107

become the slaves and servants of the delights of the world, but that, if it pleases them to hold worldly possessions (not desiring to go on to the great perfection), they may hold them
not as their servants but as their lords.

And

they should

give their love and desire to Me, possessing every other thing, For not as their own, but as lent to them, as I told thee.

Acceptor of creatures, or of conditions, but rather wherefore, in whatever condition a man may choose to be, he may have a good and holy will and be But who will possess in this way ? pleasing to Me. have Those who destroyed the venom, with hatred of their
I

am no

of holy desires

;

own sensuality and love of virtue. Having destroyed the venom of disordinate desire, and ruled it with love and fear of Me, a man can choose and hold the condition he prefers,
and, in either, he will be capable of receiving eternal life, although the greater perfection and the more pleasing to Me, be to raise himself in deed as well as in thought from every

But he who does not wish to rise to this perfection, his fragility not allowing him to do so, can remain in the ordinary state, according to his vocation, and this My goodness has ordered so that no one may have And excuse for sinning, whatever his condition may be. truly they have no excuse, because I have condescended to their passions and weaknesses in such a way that they, wishing to remain in the world, can do so, possessing
thing of the world.
riches,

retaining

their

dignities,

living

in

the

state

of

matrimony, bringing up their children, and striving for them, and remaining in whatever condition they may choose, provided that they truly cut out the venom of their

which gives eternal death. And rightly is sensuality called venom, because, as a sting gives pain to the body, and finally causes its death unless it is cast out, or some medicine taken, so does the scorpion of

own

sensuality,

their

own

worldly delight to the soul ; not that temporal things, in themselves, contain any venom, for they are good and made by Me, Who am Supreme Good, and therefore can be used
as

man pleases with holy fear and true love, but speaking of the sting of the perverse will of man.
then, that
it

I I

am
say,

envenoms the soul and gives

it

death, unless

io8
it is

THE DIALOGUE OF
for

ST.

CATHERINE
affection,
is

drawn out of the heart and the

and vomited

a medicine which confession by holy confession, cures this sting, though it seems bitter to sensual self-love. Thou seest then how deluded are they who can possess and

have Me, fleeing sadness and obtaining cheerfulness and consolation, and who, nevertheless, desire evil under colour of good, and give themselves up to the acquiring of gold with disordinate love. But, because they are blinded with much infidelity, feeling themselves envenomed, yet not per
ceiving how they are stung, they take not the remedy, and bear the cross of the Devil, tasting the earnest money of
Hell."

CHAPTER
How
"

XLVIII.
with their possessions them even in this
;

worldly

men cannot be

satisfied

and

of the suffering their perverse will causes
I

life.

pain,

TOLD thee, above, that the will alone is the cause of man s and because My servants are deprived of their own will, and clothed with Mine, they do not feel afflicting pain,
but are satisfied, feeling Me by grace in their souls, and if they possessed the whole world without Me they could not be satisfied, because the things created are less than man
for they are

made

for

man, and not man

for

them

and

therefore can he not be satisfied by them, but by Me alone. Wherefore these miserable ones in great blindness are

always striving and are never satisfied, desiring that which they cannot have, because they do not ask of Me, Who alone can satisfy. Wilt thou that I tell thee what their pain is ? Thou knowest that love always gives pain, when that thing to which the soul has become conformed is lost. These have become conformed to the earth, through love, in diverse ways, wherefore earth they have become ; some are con formed to riches, some to worldly rank, some to their
children, some lose Me by serving creatures, some make of their body a brute beast through their great filthiness, and so, in various ways, they desire and feed themselves on earth,

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

109

and they would that things were lasting, but they are not, but for either they fail them at the moment pass like the wind of death, or else they are deprived of what they love by My
;

And, being deprived, they suffer intolerable loss causes them as much grief as they had their and pain,
dispensation.

disordinate love

when they possessed them.

Had

they held

them as things lent to them, and not as their own, they would leave them without pain. They have pain then, because they have not what they desire. Because, as I told thee, the world cannot satisfy them, and, being un

How great is the pain of the prick of they suffer. ! How conscience great is his pain who thirsts for revenge, which pain continually gnaws him and causes him to die,
satisfied,

enemy with the knife of hatred miser How much pain the endures, who through avarice cuts How much torment the envious man down his needs
before he has killed his
!

!

endures, for envy always gnaws his heart, and does not allow him to take delight in the well-being of his neighbour ! From everything, which a man loves sensually, he draws

pain with many disordinate fears. Wherefore, such as these have taken the cross of the Devil, tasting the earnest money of Hell, on which they live in this life, with many and diverse
sicknesses, and if they do not correct themselves they will afterwards receive eternal death.

These are injured by the thorns of many tribulations, torturing themselves with their own disordinate will, who carry the cross in heart and in body, that is, with pain and
"

torment, the soul and the body pass their time without any merit, because they bear not their labours with patience,

but rather with impatience. And, because they have possessed and acquired the gold of the delights of the world with disordinate love, being deprived of the life of grace, and of the affection of charity, they have become trees of death.

works are dead, and with pain they being drowned, and arrive at the water of death, passing with hatred through the gate of the Devil, and receive eternal damnation. Now thou hast seen how
And, therefore, go through the
all

their

river,

they deceive themselves, and with how much pain they go to Hell, making themselves martyrs of the Devil. And thou

no

THE DIALOGUE OF
it

ST.

CATHERINE
namely the cloud of

hast seen what

is

that blinds them,

And thou self-love, hiding the pupil of the light of faith. hast seen how the tribulations of the world, from whatever side they come, injure My servants corporally, but not
mentally, because they, being conformed to My will, are But the servants of the contented to suffer pain for Me.

world are hurt within and without, and particularly within, by fear, that is, fear of losing that which they possess, and by love, that is, the desire for that which they cannot have. All the other suffering which proceeds from these two principal causes, thy tongue is not sufficient to relate. "Thou seest, then, that, even in this life, the righteous have a better bargain than the sinners, and thou hast fully seen how they walk and what is their end."

CHAPTER XLIX.
How
"

servile fear is not sufficient to give eternal life and how, by the exercise of this fear, one arrives at the love of virtue.
;

Now I say to thee that there are some few who, feeling themselves spurred by the tribulations of the world (which I give in order that the soul may know that her end is not
in this
life,

and that things are imperfect and transitory, and

may desire Me Who am her End), begin to lift the cloud off themselves, on account of the suffering that sin causes them, and, which they see, must follow sin. With this servile fear they begin to come out of the river, vomit
that she

ing the poison which was flung to them by the scorpion under the appearance of gold, and which they took without

moderation, receiving thereby poison, and, arising, take the direction of the bank to attach themselves to the Bridge. But it does not suffice to go with servile fear alone, for
"

sweep out the house of mortal sin, without filling it with virtue, founded in love and not in fear, will not give eternal Man must put both feet on the first step of the life. Bridge, that is, affection and desire, which are the feet that
to

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
carry the soul
into

in

the

love of

My

Truth, of

Whom

I

This servile fear is the first have made for you a Bridge. step, which I told thee would have to be ascended, when I told thee how He had made a staircase of His Body, and it is indeed true, that it is almost always the first step that the servants of the world take, arising, first, through the fear of The world begins to displease them, sometimes on pain. account of its tribulations, and sometimes because they

become tedious
virtue.
"But,

to themselves.
faith,

with the light of
there are

If they exercise this fear they will pass on to the love of

some who proceed with such half-heartedness

that oftentimes they turn in again, because, having arrived at the bank, and, contrary winds arising, they are struck by

And the waves of the tempestuous sea of this dark life. if the wind of prosperity arrives, a man, not having, through negligence, mounted, with affection, and the love of virtue,
the first step, great pleasures of the world wind of adversity blows, because he has not hated

turns

his

head

back

to

the

with disordinate delight. If the he turns back through impatience,
his sin

on account of the injury

it

has done to Me, but on account of the fear of pain it causes to him, with which fear alone he had arisen from the vomit.
All practice of virtue requires perseverance, and if a man does not persevere he will not attain his desire, which is
to

end for which he began. Wherefore to he needs perseverance. I have told thee that they turn back on account of the diverse contrary winds that arise against them, or the
arrive at the
his desire
fulfil
"

warring of their own sensuality against the Spirit, or because they turn to creatures, loving them with disordinate love apart from Me, or on account of impatience of injury, or the Devil makes them turn back through many and
diverse battles, and sometimes through contempt, bringing

them
"

to confusion, saying

:

This good which thou hast begun to practise is not worth so much to thee as thy sins and faults, which he says to make them turn back and abandon the little
practice of virtue

which they had begun.

And sometimes

ii2

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

he makes them turn back through love of pleasure, telling them to hope in My Mercy, saying Why harass Enjoy this life, and, in the extremity of death, thyself?
:

And so, recognising thy sins, thou shalt receive mercy. them to lose fear Devil causes the with in this way, the
For these, and many other things, which they had begun. and are back not constant or persevering, and they turn befalls them because the roots of self-love are by all this in means no them, and they take hold of the ploughed up
Mercy, not as they ought, but with great I presumption, seizing that which they continually offend. have not given, and do not give, My mercy in order that men may offend in the hope of it, but in order that they may defend themselves, with it, from the malice of the Devil, But they who and from disordinate confusion of mind. offend with the arm of mercy do quite the contrary, and it is because they have not persevered in the first change they made, arising, through the fear of pain and the pricks of the thorns of many tribulations, from the misery of mortal

hope of

My

sin.

not attain to the love of virtue,
persevere. "The soul that does not
if

Wherefore, not having made the first change, they do and therefore do they not

change her course does not she proceeds not, she turns back, so that proceed, and, I have been speaking to of whom as such these, thee, not with nor virtue, arising from the imperfections of proceeding
fear

and attaining

to love,

must needs turn

back."

CHAPTER
How
11

L.

this soul

was

in great bitterness,

of those

who

on account of the blindness are drowned below in the river.

THEN that soul, tormented by desire, considering her own imperfections and those of others, was saddened to hear of and to see the great blindness of creatures, notwithstanding the great goodness of GOD, in having placed nothing in this

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
life,

113

no matter in what condition, that could be an impedi ment to the salvation of creatures, but rather arranged for the exercising and proving of virtue in them. And, not self-love and she saw all them, through this, withstanding river and arrive at under the disordinate affection, go by in river and who were the and eternal damnation, many had begun to come out, turn back again, scandalised at her, because they had heard of the sweet goodness of GOD, Who had deigned to manifest Himself to her. And, for this, she was in bitterness, and fixing the eye of her intellect on the
Eternal Father, she said Oh, Inestimable Love, great is I would that, when it is the delusion of Thy creatures.
"

:

pleasing

to

three steps figured in the Body of Thy only Son, and what method should be used so as to come entirely out of the depths and to keep the way of Thy

explain to

Thy me the

Goodness,

Thou wouldst more

clearly

Truth, and

who

are those

who ascend

the

staircase."

CHAPTER
How the
THEN

LI.

three steps figured in the Bridge, that is, in the Son of GOD, signify the three powers of the soul.

the Divine Goodness, regarding with the eye of His mercy, the hunger and desire of that soul, said Oh, most delightful daughter, I am not a Despiser, but the
"

:

My

Fulfiller

of

holy desire, and therefore

I

will

declare to thee that which thou askest Me.

show and Thou askest

Me

to explain to thee the figure of the three steps, and to thee what method they, who want to come out of the river must use, to be able to ascend the Bridge. And, although
tell

above,

in

relating to thee the

delusion and blindness of

men, earnest-money of Hell, and, as of the martyrs Devil, receiving damnation, I showed thee the methods they should use; nevertheless, now I will
declare
it

tasting in this life the

to thee

more
evil

fully, satisfying
is

thy desire.
self-love,

Thou

knowest that every

founded in

and that

H

H4

THE DIALOGUE OF
that takes
in
itself the

ST.

CATHERINE
the light of reason, of faith, and one is
I

self-love is a cloud

away
light

which reason holds image and
will. is

not lost without the other.
similitude,

The

soul

created in

My

The intellect is moved by the affection, and nourishes
that
is,

giving her memory, intellect, and the most noble part of the soul, and
it,

and the hand
the

of love

the affection

fills

the

memory with

and of the benefits received, which it does with care and gratitude, and so one power spurs on another, and the soul is nourished in the life of grace.
of
"

remembrance

Me

The

soul cannot live without love, but always wants to

love something, because she is made of love, and, by love, I created her. And therefore I told thee that the affection

moved
the

the intellect, saying, as
is love

it

were,

/

will love, because

food on which I feed itself awakened by the
wilt love, I at once it
soul,
sin.

the intellect, feeling If thou affection, says, as it were, will give thee that which thou canst love. And arises, considering carefully the dignity of the
fallen

Then

and the indignity into which she has

through

In the dignity of her being it tastes My inestimable goodness, and the increate charity with which I created
her, and, in contemplating her misery,
it

discovers and tastes

mercy, and sees how, through mercy, I have lent her time and drawn her out of darkness. Then the affection

My

nourishes

itself in
it

love,

with

which

eats

hatred

opening the mouth of holy desire, and displeasure of its own

sensuality, united with true humility and perfect patience, which it drew from holy hatred. The virtues conceived,

they give birth to themselves perfectly and according as the soul exercises perfection in will tell thee below. So, on the contrary, if affection wants to love sensual things, the
intellect

imperfectly,
herself, as I

the sensual

eye of the
transitory

sets

before

itself

for

its

sole

object

with self-love, displeasure of virtue, and love of vice, whence she draws pride and impatience, and the memory is filled with nothing but that which the affection
things,

that

This love so dazzles the eye of the intellect presents to it. it can discern and see nothing but such glittering
It is

objects.

the very brightness of the things that causes

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

115

the intellect to perceive them and the affection to love them for had worldly things no such brightness there would be no sin, for man, by his nature, cannot desire anything but good, and vice, appearing to him thus, under colour of the soul s good, causes him to sin. But, because the eye, on account of its blindness, does not discern, and knows not the truth, it errs, seeking good and delights there where they are not.
;

I have already told thee that the delights of the world, without Me, are venomous thorns, and, that the vision of the intellect is deluded by them, and the affection of the will
"

is

deluded into loving them, and the

remembrance of them.
soul
all

is so great that I the others offending Me at the same time, because the one presents to the other, as I told thee, good or evil,

memory into retaining unity of these powers of the cannot be offended by one without
The

according to
will is

the

pleasure

of

the free will.

This

free

bound

to the affection,

is

either with the light attached to Me when
it

moves as it pleases, of reason or without it. Your reason
it

and

your

will

love, cut

off

from

Me

;

you have

does not, by disordinate also in you the law of

You perversity, that continually fights against the Spirit. and reason. have, then, two parts in you sensuality Sensuality is appointed to be the servant, so that, with the
instrument of the body, you
virtues.

may prove and

exercise the

soul is free, liberated from sin by the Blood of My Son, and she cannot be dominated unless she consent with her will, which is controlled by her free choice, and

The

when

this free choice agrees with the will, it becomes one with And I tell thee truly, that, when the soul it. thing undertakes to gather together, with the hand of free choice, her powers in My Name, then are assembled all the actions,

both spiritual and temporal, that the creature can do, and free choice gets rid of sensuality and binds itself with reason. I, then, by grace, rest in the midst of them ; and
this is

what
:

My

He

said

When

And

together in this is the truth.

My

Truth, the Word Incarnate, meant, when there are two or three or more gathered name, there am I in the midst of them?
I

have already

told thee that

no

Ii6

THE DIALOGUE OF
to

ST.

CATHERINE

one could come

make

Me except by Him, and therefore did I And those Bridge with three steps. three steps figure, as I will narrate to thee below, the
of

Him

a

three states of the

soul."

CHAPTER
How if
"

LII.

the three aforesaid powers are not united, there cannot be perseverance, without which no man arrives at his end.
to thee the figure of the three steps, in

I

HAVE explained

general, as the three powers of the soul, and no one who wishes to pass by the Bridge and doctrine of My Truth

can mount one without the other, and the soul cannot Of persevere except by the union of her three powers. I told thee above, when thou askedst Me, how which

There are two the voyagers could come out of the river. goals, and, for the attainment of either, perseverance is If thou desire to arrive needful they are vice and virtue.
life, thou must persevere in virtue, and if thou would have eternal death, thou must persevere in vice. Thus it is with perseverance that they who want life arrive at Me Who am Life, and with perseverance that they who taste the water of death arrive at the Devil."

at

CHAPTER
An
exposition on Christ s words
"

LIII.
Whosoever
drink."

:

thirtieth, let

him

come
"

to

Me and

You were

all invited,

generally and in particular, by
:

My

Truth,

Whosoever Temple, saying thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink, for I am the Foun He did not say Go to the tain of the Water of Life! Father and drink? but He said Come to Me. He spoke thus, because in Me, the Father, there can be no pain, but
cried in the

when He

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
in

117

And you, while you are pain. in mortal and this life, cannot be without wayfarers pilgrims because the earth, sin, brought forth thorns. pain, through And why did He say Let him come to Me and drink ? Because whoever follows His doctrine, whether in the most

My

Son there can be

perfect way or by dwelling in the life of common charity, finds to drink, tasting the fruit of the Blood, through

the union of the Divine nature with

the

human
find
I

nature.

And

you,

finding

yourselves
the

in

Him,

yourselves

also in Me,

Who am

Sea

Pacific,

because

am one

So that you are invited thing with Him, and He with Me. to the Fountain of Living Water of Grace, and it is right for you, with perseverance, to keep by Him Who is made
you a Bridge, not being turned back by any contrary wind that may arise, either of prosperity or adversity, and
for

you find Me, who am the Giver of the by means of this sweet and amorous Word, My Only-Begotten Son. And why did He say: I am the Fountain of Living Water ? Because He was the Foun tain which contained Me, the Giver of the Living Water, by means of the union of the Divine with the human nature. Why did He say Come to Me and drink ? Because you cannot pass this mortal life without pain, and in Me, the Father, there can be no pain, but in Him there can be pain, and therefore of Him did I make for you a No one can come to Me except by Him, as He Bridge. told you in the words No one can come to the Father Me. except by Now thou hast seen to what way thou shouldest keep, and how, namely with perseverance, otherwise thou shalt not drink, for perseverance receives the crown of glory and
to persevere
till

Water

of Life,

:

"

victory in the

life everlasting."

u8

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
The
of the sea of the world,
"I

LIV.

general method by which every rational creature can come out and go by the aforesaid holy Bridge.
to

WILL now return

the three steps, which you must

climb in order to issue from the river without drowning,

Water, to which you are invited, in For in this Presence the midst of you. My in which should I am in follow, you way, your midst, In order to have desire reposing, by grace, in your souls.

and and

attain to the Living

to desire

to

mount the

those

who
to

steps, you must have thirst, because thirst are invited : Whosoever thirsteth, let drink.
1

only

him
not

come

Me and

He who

has no

thirst will

persevere, for either fatigue causes him to stop, or pleasure, and he does not care to carry the vessel with which he

may

get the water, and neither does he care for the company, and alone he cannot go, and he turns back at the smallest He is afraid prick of persecution, for he loves it not. because he is alone were he accompanied he would not fear, and had he ascended the three steps he would not have been alone, and would, therefore, have been secure. You must then have thirst and gather yourselves together,
;

as

it
"

is said,

? Because two without three, nor three without two, The number one is neither three nor two without more.
is

Why

two or three or more. it said two or three or more

1

there are not

excluded, the midst

for,
;

unless a

man

has a companion,
trifle,

I

cannot be in
is

this is

no

indifferent

for

he who

wrapped

up

in self-love is solitary.
"

he solitary ? Because he is separated from My the love of his neighbour, and being, by sin, and grace of Me, he turns to that which is nought, because deprived I am He that is. So that he who is solitary, that is, who is alone in self-love, is not mentioned by My Truth and is not He says then If there be two or three acceptable to Me. or more gathered together in My name, I will be in the midst I said to thee that two were not without three, of them
:

Why is

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
nor three without two, and so
the
it

119

is.

Thou knowest

that

commandments of
if

are to love Me above which two are as and thyself, thy neighbour everything, These the beginning, the middle and the end of the Law. two cannot be gathered together in My Name, without

two, and observed.

are completely contained in these two are not observed the Law is not the

Law

The two commandments

three, that is without the congregation of the powers of the soul, the memory, the intellect and the will ; the memory

to retain the

remembrance of

My

benefits

and

My goodness,

the intellect to gaze into the ineffable love, which I have I shown thee by means of My only- begotten Son, have placed as the object of the vision of your intellect, so

Whom

that, in

Him, you behold the
love and desire

will

to

Me,

fire of My charity, Who am your End.

and the

When

these

virtues

and

together in and a man,

My
who

are congregated powers them by grace, of I in the midst am Name,

of the

soul

is

full

of

My

love and that of his neigh

bour, suddenly finds himself the companion of many and Then the appetite of the soul is disposed royal virtues.
to
thirst.

My Name and
is

Thirst, I say, for virtue, and the honour of salvation of souls, and his every other thirst

spent and dead, and he then proceeds securely without any servile fear, having ascended the first step of the affection, for the affection, stripped of self-love, mounts

above

itself

and above transitory things,

or, if

he will
is,

still

hold them, he does so according to My will a holy and true fear, and love of virtue.
that

that

with
the

He

then finds
is,

that he has attained to the second step Christ which the of is, through intellect, light

to

crucified,

mirrored in cordial love of Me, for through

Him

have

I

shown
the

My

love to man.
is

He

memory
full.

filled

with

My

finds peace and quiet, because Thou knowest that love.

an empty thing, when touched, resounds, but not so when
it

So memory, being filled with the light of the and the affection with love, on being moved by intellect, the tribulations or delights of the world, will not resound with disordinate merriment or with impatience, because
is
full

they are

of Me,

Who am

every good.

120

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Having climbed the three steps, he finds that the three powers of the soul have been gathered together by his reason in My Name. And his soul, having gathered to gether the two commandments, that is love of Me and of
the

neighbour, finds

herself accompanied

by Me,

Who

am her I am in

strength and security, and walks safely because the midst of her. Wherefore then he follows on

with anxious desire, thirsting after the way of Truth, in which way he finds the Fountain of the Water of Life,

through his thirst for My honour and his own salvation and that of his neighbour, without which thirst he would not be able to arrive at the Fountain. He walks on,
carrying the vessel of the heart, emptied of every affection

and disordinate love of the world, but
is

filled immediately it emptied with other things, for nothing can remain empty, and, being without disordinate love for transitory things, it is filled with love of celestial things, and sweet Divine love, with which he arrives at the Fountain of the Water of Life,

and passes through
tastes the
Pacific.

the

Door of Christ

crucified,

and

Water of

Life,

finding himself in Me, the Sea

CHAPTER
A
"

LV.
said.

brief repetition of

some things already

HAVE now shown thee the general method that every rational creature should follow, in order to come out of the
I

sea of the world, without being drowned, and escape eternal damnation. I have also shown thee the three general steps, that is the three powers of the soul, and how one cannot

ascend one without ascending them all. And I have spoken Where two or three to thee of those words of My Truth
{
:

or more

are gathered together in

My

name!

telling thee that

this means the gathering together of the three steps, that is of the three powers of the soul, which three powers,

being united, have with them the two principal command ments of the Law, that is, love of Me and of the neighbour.

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

121

Then, the staircase being mounted, that is, gathered together in My Name, as I have said, man immediately thirsts for the Living Water, and sets off and passes over the Bridge,
following the doctrine of

My

Truth,

Who

is

this

Bridge,

and
told

runs, in reply to His Voice, which called you, as I thee, above, in the Temple inviting you all, saying :
thirsteth, let

him come to Me and drink, for I am I have explained to Water the Fountain of the of Life are to be under words these thee what He meant, and how see the abundance better the stood, in order that thou mayest of of My love, and the confusion those, who, deceived by the run what appears to be pleasure, way of the Devil, who invites them to the water of death. Now thou hast seen and heard what thou askedst of Me, and I have told thee what method should be held, so as not to drown in the river, namely to mount by the Bridge, carrying the heart and the affection like a vessel to Me, Who will give to drink to him who asks of Me, and to keep
Whosoever
"

the

way
is

This

of Christ crucified, with perseverance, until death. that method which every man should follow, no
I

No man can draw back, have such and such a position, or children, or other worldly reasons, for which I draw back from following this way, for I have already told thee that every condition is pleasing and acceptable to Me, provided it be held with a holy and good will, for everything is good and perfect and made by Me, Who am Supreme Good, and I did not create nor give anything by which man could be brought
matter what be his condition. saying
:

I to death, but everything was made to lead him to life. ask an easy thing of you, for nothing is so easy and de lightful as love, and what I require of you is none other This you can fulfil than love of Me and of the neighbour.

and in every place and in every condition, be held to the praise and glory of My Name. Thou knowest that I told thee, that it was through their delusion, and walking without the Light, being clothed in self-love, and possessing and loving things and creatures without Me, that some pass through this life in torture,
in every time

provided

it

being insupportable to themselves,

and,

unless they rise

122

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

above themselves, in the aforesaid way, they will arrive at eternal damnation. Now I have told thee what general method every man
"

should hold to come out of the

river."

CHAPTER
How GOD,

LVI.

wishing to show to this devoted soul that the three steps of the holy Bridge, signify in particular the three states of the soul, tells her that she should rise above herself, to

consider this truth.

live in

have told thee above, how they ought to walk, who common charity, that is, observing the command ments and counsels in thought, now I wish to tell thee of those who have begun to mount the staircase, and want to follow the perfect way, that is, to observe the commandments and counsels in act, in three states, which states I will show
"

As

I

There are three thee now, explaining them in particular. and states of the as there three steps, soul are degrees
which steps
the soul
fect,
I

explained to thee in general as the powers of
state is
perfect.

which one and the other most
of

imperfect, one more per The first state is to Me

as that of a mercenary servant, the second as of a faithful servant, and the other as of a son who loves Me, without

any consideration. These are the three states of the soul, which can and do belong to many creatures, and sometimes all to one creature. They can and do belong to one creature with when, perfect solicitude, he runs by the aforesaid way, in such a way that, from the servile state he his time using arrives at the free state, and, from the free state, at the Arise above thyself and open the eye of thy intellect filial. and behold these travelling pilgrims as they pass, some im perfectly and others perfectly, on the way of the command ments, and some most perfectly keeping the way of the Thou wilt see, then, whence comes imperfection, counsels. and whence comes perfection, and how greatly the soul who

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
has
not rooted out of
herself

123

the

roots of self-love, is
be,
it is

deceived.

For

in every state in

which man may

necessary to destroy this

self-love."

CHAPTER
How this devoted
THEN
their

LVII.
saw the

soul looking in the Divine mirror creatures going in diverse ways.

that soul, tormented with intense desire, gazing into the sweet Divine mirror, saw creatures setting out to attain

end

in diverse

ways and with diverse
to

considerations.

She saw

that

many began

mount, feeling themselves

pricked by servile fear, that is, fearing their own personal pain, and she saw others, practising this first state, arriving at the second state, but few she saw who arrived at the
greatest perfection.

CHAPTER
How
servile fear is not
life
;

LVIII.
without the love of virtue, to
fear

sufficient,

give eternal united.

and how the law of

and that of love are

THEN

the goodness of God, wishing to satisfy the desire of that soul, said, Dost thou see those? They have arisen with servile fear from the vomit of mortal sin, but, if they do not arise with love of virtue, servile fear alone is not sufficient
to give eternal
life.

because the law

is

But love with holy fear is founded in love and holy fear.

sufficient,

The

old

law was the law of fear, that was given by Me to Moses, by which law they who committed sin suffered the penalty of it. The new law is the law of love, given by the Word of My only-begotten Son, and is founded in love alone. The new law does not break the old law, but rather fulfils said My Truth, come not to destroy the law, but it, as to fulfil it: And He united the law of fear with that of
"/

124
love.

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Through love was taken away the imperfection of the fear of the penalty, and the perfection of holy fear remained, that is, the fear of offending, not on account of am Supreme one s own damnation, but of offending Me,

Who

Good. So that the imperfect law was made perfect with the law of love. Wherefore, after the car of the fire of My Son came and brought the fire of My charity only-begotten into yx)ur humanity with abundance of mercy, the penalty of the sins committed by humanity was taken away, that is, he who offended was no longer punished suddenly, as was of old given and ordained in the law of Moses. "There is, therefore, no need for servile fear; and this does
not
is

mean

reserved, unless, that
is

that sin is not punished, but that the punishment is to say, the person punish himself

in this life with perfect contrition.

For, in the other

life,

the

soul
is

separated from the body, wherefore while man lives his time for mercy, but when he is dead comes the time

of justice.

He

arrive at love

and holy

ought, then, to arise from servile fear, and fear of Me, otherwise there is no
river,

remedy against

his falling back again into the

and

reaching the waters of tribulation, and seeking the thorns of consolation, for all consolations are thorns that pierce the
soul

who

loves

them

disordinately."

CHAPTER
How, by

LIX.

exercising oneself in servile fear, which is the state of imperfection, by which is meant the first step of the holy Bridge, one arrives at the second step, which is the state of perfection.

"

I

TOLD thee that no one could

go

by the Bridge or

come out of
is

the river without climbing the three steps, which There are some who climb imperfectly, and the truth.
perfectly,
first

some

The

are those

and some climb with the greatest perfection. who are moved by servile fear, and have

climbed so far being imperfectly gathered together ; that is to say, the soul, having seen the punishment which follows

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

125

her sin, climbs ; and gathers together her memory to recol lect her vice, her intellect to see the punishment which she expects to receive for her fault, and her will to move her to
hate that
fault.

And

let

us consider this to be the

first

step

and the first gathering together of the powers of the soul, which should be exercised by the light of the intellect with the pupil of the eye of holy faith, which looks, not only at the punishment of sin, but at the fruit of virtue, and the love which I bear to the soul, so that she may climb with And doing love and affection, and stripped of servile fear. and not unfaithful faithful ser become will souls such so, and and not love Me if, through fear, vants, serving through with hatred of sin, they employ their minds to dig out the root of their self-love with prudence, constancy, and But there perseverance they will succeed in doing so.
are

many who

render their debt to

begin their course climbing so slowly, and, Me by such small degrees, and with such

negligence and ignorance, that they suddenly faint, and every little breeze catches their sails, and turns their prow back

wards.
first

Wherefore, because they imperfectly climb to the

Step of the Bridge of Christ crucified, they do not arrive at the second step of His Heart."

CHAPTER
Of the imperfection
of those

LX.
love

who

GOD for their own

profit, delight
"

and consolation.

faithful servants, serving fear of punishment, but servile without fidelity This very love, however, if they serve rather with love.

SOME

there are

who have become

Me

with

Me

own profit, or the delight and Dost thou find in which Me, is imperfect. pleasure they know what proves the imperfection of this love ? The withdrawal of the consolations which they found in Me, and the insufficiency and short duration of their love for their neighbour, which grows weak by degrees, and ofttimes
with a view to their

126

THE DIALOGUE OF
Towards Me

ST.

CATHERINE

grows weak when, on and raise them above their imperfection, I withdraw from their minds My consolation and allow them to fall into battles and per This I do so that, coming to perfect selfplexities.
disappears.
their love

occasion, in order to exercise

them

in virtue

knowledge, they may know that of themselves they are nothing and have no grace, and, accordingly in time of battle fly to Me, as their Benefactor, seeking Me alone, with
true humility, for which purpose I treat them thus, with At drawing from them consolation indeed, but not grace. such a time these weak ones, of whom I speak, relax their

impatiently turning backwards, and sometimes abandon, under colour of virtue, many of their exercises, All saying to themselves, This labour does not profit me. this they do, because they feel themselves deprived of mental consolation. Such a soul acts imperfectly, for she

energy,

has not yet unwound the bandage of spiritual self-love, for, had she unwound it she would see that, in truth, everything
proceeds from Me, that no leaf of a tree falls to the ground without My providence, and that what I give and promise
to

My

creatures,

I

sanctification,

which

is

give and promise to them for their the good and the end for which I

created them. My creatures should see and know that I wish nothing but their good, through the Blood of My onlybegotten Son, in Which they are washed from their iniqui ties. By this Blood they are enabled to know My Truth, how, in order to give them eternal life, I created them in My image and likeness and re-created them to grace with the Blood of My Son, making them sons of adoption. But,
since they are imperfect, they make use of Me only for their own profit, relaxing their love for their neighbour. Thus,

those in the

first

state

come

to

nought through the fear

of enduring pain, and those in the second, because they slacken their pace, ceasing to render service to their neigh bour, and withdrawing their charity if they see their own
this happens profit or consolation withdrawn from them because their love was originally impure, for they gave to their neighbour the same imperfect love which they gave to Me, that is to say, a love based only on desire of their
:

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
own
advantage.
If,

127

through a desire for perfection, they
it

do not recognise
that they should

this imperfection of theirs,

is

impossible

not

turn

Eternal Life, a

pure love,

For those who desire prescinding from themselves, is
back.

necessary, for it is not enough for eternal life to fly sin from fear of punishment, or to embrace virtue from the

motive of one s
because
it

own

advantage.

Sin should be abandoned

displeasing to Me, and virtue should be loved It is true that, generally speaking, every for sake. is called in this way, but this is because the first person soul herself is at first imperfect, from which imperfection
is

My

she must advance to perfection, either while she lives, by a generous love to Me with a pure and virtuous heart that
takes no thought for herself, or, at least, in the moment of death, recognising her own imperfection, with the purpose,

had she but time, of serving Me, irrespectively of herself. It was with this imperfect love that S. Peter loved the sweet and good Jesus, My only- begotten Son, enjoying most pleasantly His sweet conversation, but, when the time of trouble came, he failed, and so disgraceful was his fall, that, not only could he not bear any pain himself, but his terror of the very approach of pain caused him to fall, and deny the Lord, with the words, I have never known

Him.
fear

The soul who has climbed this step with servile and mercenary love alone, falls into many troubles. Such souls should arise and become sons, and serve Me,

am the Rewarder of irrespective of themselves, for I, every labour, render to each man according to his state and his labour ; wherefore, if these souls do not abandon the
exercise of holy prayer and their other good works, but

Who

go

on, with perseverance, to increase their virtues, they will arrive at the state of filial love, because I respond to them

with the same love, with which they love Me, so that, if they love Me, as a servant does his master, I pay them their wages according to their deserts, but I do not reveal

who has become one
the virtuous
love,

Myself to them, because secrets are revealed to a friend, thing with his friend, and not to a servant. Yet it is true, that a servant may so advance by

which he bears to his master, as to

128

THE DIALOGUE OF
friend,

ST.

CATHERINE
state of
If they,

become a very dear
I

and so do some of these of whom

spoken, but while they remain in the mercenary love, I do not manifest Myself to them.

have

through

displeasure at their imperfection,

dig up, with hatred, the root of spiritual to the throne of conscience, reasoning with themselves, so as to quell the motions of servile fear in their heart, and to
will

and love of virtue, self-love, and mount

correct mercenary love by the light of the holy faith, they be so pleasing to Me, that they will attain to the love

of the friend.
thing with
to

And

I

will manifest
:

myself to them, as
loves

My

Truth said in these words

He who
and I
1

Me

shall be one

Me and I

with him,

will manifest
is

Myself

will dwell together. dear friends, for though they are

him and we

This

the state of two

two in body, yet they are one in soul through the affection of love, because love trans forms the lover into the object loved, and where, two friends have one soul, there can be no secret between them, where / will come and we will dwell together, fore My Truth said and this is the truth."
:

CHAPTER
Of the way
in

LXI.

which

GOD
who

manifests Himself to the soul loves Him.

"

KNOWEST thou how

loves

Me

in truth,

I manifest Myself to the soul who and follows the doctrine of My sweet

and amorous
the soul in
special

Word

?

In

many

is

My

virtue manifested in

proportion manifestations.
is

to

her desire, but I make three The first manifestation of My

virtue, that
is

to

say of
the
spilled

My

made through

Word

of

love and charity in the soul, My Son, and shown in the
fire

Blood, which
is

He

with such

of love.

Now

manifested in two ways ; first, in general, this charity to ordinary people, that is to those who live in the ordinary
It is manifested to them by the many and grace of God. diverse benefits which they receive from Me. The second

mode

of manifestation, which

is

developed from the

first, is

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
peculiar to those

129

who have become My friends in the way mentioned above, and is known through a sentiment of the This soul, by which they taste, know, prove and feel it. second manifestation, however, is in men themselves ; they For manifesting Me, through the affection of their love. I I am an am of no creatures, Acceptor of though Acceptor
holy desires, and Myself in the soul in that precise degree Sometimes I mani of perfection which she seeks in Me.

Myself (and this is also a part of the second manifesta tion) by endowing men with the spirit of prophecy, showing them the things of the future. This I do in many and diverse ways, according as I see need in the soul herself and in other creatures. At other times the third manifesta tion takes place. I then form in the mind the presence of
fest

the Truth, My only-begotten Son, in many ways, accord Sometimes ing to the will and the desire of the soul.

she seeks Me in prayer, wishing to know My power, and I satisfy her by causing her to taste and see My virtue. Sometimes she seeks Me in the wisdom of My Son, and I satisfy her by placing His wisdom before the eye of her intellect, sometimes in the clemency of the Holy Spirit and then My Goodness causes her to taste the fire of Divine charity, and to conceive the true and royal virtues, which are founded on the pure love of her neighbour."

CHAPTER
Why
11

LXII.

Christ did not say / will manifest
manifest Myself.

My

Father, but I will

THOU
:

seest

now how
loves

said

He who

Me

Word spoke, when He truly shall be one thing with Me!

My

Because, by following His doctrine with the affection of love, you are united with Him, and, being united with

Him, you are united with Me, because
together.

We

are one thing

And

so

it

is

that

I

manifest

Myself
thing
i

to you,

because

We

are

one

and

the

same

together.

130

THE DIALOGUE OF
if

ST.

CATHERINE
Myself to you,

Wherefore

My

Truth

said,

I

will manifest

manifesting Himself, He manifested Me, and, in manifesting Me, He manifested Him self. But why did He not say, / will manifest My Father For three reasons in particular. to you ? First, because

He

said the truth,

because, in

1

He wished to show that He and I are not separate from each other, on which account He also made the following reply to S. Philip, when he said to Him, Show us the Father,
and
sees
1

it

is

enough for

us.

My Word

said,

Who

sees
1

Me

This and who sees the Father sees Me. He said because He was one thing with Me, and that which He had, He had from Me, I having nothing from
the Father,

Him ; wherefore, again, He said to Judas, My doctrine is not Mine, but My Father s who sent Me, because My Son
proceeds from Me, not I from Him, though I with Him and He with Me are but one thing. For this reason He did not

say

/

will manifest the Father, but

I will manifest Myself]

The second reason was being one thing with the Father. Himself to in manifesting because, you, He did not present to you anything He had not received from Me, the Father. These words, then, mean, the Father has manifested Him self to Me, because I am one thing with Him, and I will The manifest to you, by means of Myself, Me and Him. third reason was, because I, being invisible, could not be seen by you, until you should be separated from your bodies. Then, indeed, will you see Me, your GOD, and My
Son, the Word, face to
face.

From now

until

after

the

general Resurrection, when your humanity will be conformed with the humanity of the Eternal Word, according to what
I told thee in the treatise of the Resurrection, you can see Me, with the eye of the intellect alone, for, as I am, you Wherefore I veiled the Divine nature cannot see Me now.

with your humanity, so that you might see
that

Me

through

the Invisible, made Myself, as it were, visible by sending you the Word, My Son, veiled in the He manifested Me to you. There flesh of your humanity.

medium.

I,

fore
to

that He did not say / will manifest the Father but rather, I will manifest myself to you," as if He you! should say, According as My Father manifests Himself
it

was

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
to

131

Me,

will

I manifest Myself to yoit, for,

in this manifestation

Now therefore thou underof Himself^ He manifests Me. standest why He did not say / will manifest the Father to
you!
Both, because such a vision is impossible for you, while yet in the mortal body, and because He is one thing with Me."

CHAPTER
How
"

LXIII.

the soul, after having mounted the first step of the Bridge, should proceed to mount the second.

THOU hast now seen how who has attained to the love

excellent

is

the state of

him

; climbing with the the secret of the Heart, foot of affection, he has reached which is the second of the three steps figured in the Body

of a friend

have told thee what was meant by the three powers of the soul, and now I will show thee how they signify the three states, through which the soul passes. Before treating of the third state, I wish to show thee how a man becomes a friend and how, from a friend, he grows into a son, attaining to filial love, and how a man may
of

My

Son.

I

know

if

he has become a friend.

And

first

of

how

a

man

In the beginning, a man serves Me imperfectly through servile fear, but, by exercise and perseverance, he arrives at the love of delight, finding his
arrives at being a friend.

own

delight and profit in

Me.

This

is

a necessary stage,
to perfect love,
call
filial

pass, who to the love that is of friend

by which he must

would attain I and son.

love

perfect,

because thereby, a

man

receives his inheritance from

Me, the Eternal Father, and because a son s love includes friend, which is why I told thee that a friend What means does he take to arrive /grows into a son. I will tell thee. thereat ? Every perfection and every virtue proceeds from charity, and charity is nourished by humility, which results from the knowledge and holy hatred
that of a

of

self,

that

is,

sensuality.

To

arrive thereat, a

man must

persevere, and remain in the cellar of self-knowledge in which

132

THE DIALOGUE OF
My

ST.

CATHERINE

he will learn

mercy, in the Blood of My only-bego tten Son, drawing to Himself, with this love, My divine charity, exercising himself in the extirpation of his perverse selfwill, both spiritual and temporal, hiding himself in his own
house, as did Peter,

Son, began to weep. and remained so, until after the forty days, that is until But when My Truth returned to Me, after the Ascension. in His humanity, Peter and the others concealed themselves
in the house, awaiting the

who, after the sin of denying My Yet his lamentations were imperfect

coming of the Holy Spirit, which Truth had them. My promised They remained barred in from fear, because the soul always fears until she arrives at But when they had persevered in fasting and in true love. humble and continual prayer, until they had received the abundance of the Holy Spirit, they lost their fear, and So also the soul, followed and preached Christ crucified. who wishes to arrive at this perfection, after she has risen from the guilt of mortal sin, recognising it for what it is, begins to weep from fear of the penalty, whence she rises to the consideration of My mercy, in which contemplation, This is an imperfect she finds her own pleasure and profit. in order to and state, I, develop perfection in the soul, after the forty days, that is after these two states, withdraw My Myself from time to time, not in grace but in feeling. Truth showed you this when He said to the disciples I will go and will return to you. Everything that He said, was said primarily, and in
f
"

particular, to the disciples, but referred in general to the whole present and future, to those, that is to say, who He said / will go and will return to should come after.

you; and so the disciples,

1

it

was,

for,

when

the

Holy
I

He

also returned, as

told

Spirit returned upon you above, for the

Holy

Spirit did not return alone, but

and the

wisdom

of the Son,

Who
which

is

with His

own

clemency,

came with My power, one thing with Me, and proceeds from Me the
I

Father, and from the Son.

Now, as
I

told thee, in order to

raise the soul from imperfection,

withdraw Myself from

When her sentiment, depriving her of former consolations. she was in the guilt of mortal sin, she had separated herself

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION

133

from Me, and I deprived her of grace through her own guilt, because that guilt had barred the door of her desires. Wherefore the sun of grace did not shine, not through its own defect, but through the defect of the creature, who bars When she knows herself and her the door of desire.
darkness, she opens the

window and vomits her

filth,

by

I, having returned to the soul by from her by sentiment, which I do withdraw Myself grace, in order to humiliate her, and cause her to seek Me in truth,

holy confession.

Then

and

prove her in the light of faith, so that she come to Then, if she love Me without thought of self, prudence. and with lively faith and with hatred of her own sensuality,
to

she rejoices in the time of trouble, deeming herself un Now comes the worthy of peace and quietness of mind.

second of the three things of which
say
:

I

told thee, that is to

when

the soul arrives at perfection, and what she does This is what she does. she is perfect. Though she

how

perceives that I have withdrawn Myself, she does not, on that account, look back, but perseveres with humility in her
exercises, remaining barred in the house of self-knowledge, and, continuing to dwell therein, awaits, with lively faith, am the the coming of the Holy Spirit, that is of Me,

Who

fire

of charity.

How does

she await

me ?

but in watching and continued prayer, physical, but also with intellectual watching, that
the eye of her mind

Not in idleness, and not only with
is,

with

alert, and, watching with the light of she faith, extirpates, with hatred, the wandering thoughts of her heart, looking for the affection of My charity, and
I desire nothing but her sanctification, which her in the Blood of My Son. As long as her eye thus watches, illumined by the knowledge of Me and of herself, she continues to pray with the prayer of holy desire, which is a continued prayer, and also with actual prayer,

knowing

that

is certified to

at the appointed times, according to the orders of Holy Church. This is what the soul does in order to rise from imperfection and arrive at perfection, and

which she practises

it

that

this end, namely that she may arrive at perfection, withdraw from her, not by grace but by sentiment. Once more do I leave her, so that she may see and know
is to
I

i

34

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

her defects, so that, feeling herself deprived of consolation and afflicted by pain, she may recognise her own weakness,

and learn how incapable she is of stability or perseverance, thus cutting down to the very root of spiritual self-love, for this should be the end and purpose of all her self-knowledge,
to rise above herself, mounting the throne of conscience, and not permitting the sentiment of imperfect love to turn again in its death-struggle, but, with correction and reproof,

digging up the root of self-love, with the knife of self-hatred

and the love of

virtue."

CHAPTER
How
"

LXIV.

imperfectly,

an imperfect lover of GOD loves his neighbour also and of the signs of this imperfect love.

AND I would have thee know that just as every imperfection and perfection is acquired from Me, so is it manifested by means of the neighbour. And simple souls, who often love
received
creatures with spiritual love, know this well, for, if they have My love sincerely without any self-regarding
considerations, they satisfy the thirst of their love for their If a man carry away the neighbour equally sincerely.
vessel which he has
filled

at

the fountain and then drink

if he keep his vessel it, the vessel becomes empty, but in the he while fountain, standing drinks, it always remains

of

love of the neighbour, whether spiritual or should be drunk in Me, without any self-regarding temporal, I considerations. require that you should love Me with
full.
I love you. This indeed you loved you without being loved. All the love which you have for Me you owe to Me, so that it is not of grace that you love Me, but because you ought to do so. While I love you of grace, and not because I owe

So the

the

same love with which
I

cannot do, because

Therefore to Me, in person, you cannot repay I require of you, and I have placed you in the midst of your fellows, that you may do to them

you

My

love.

the love which

A TREATISE OF DISCRETION
that

135

which you cannot do to Me, that is to say, that you love may your neighbour of free grace, without expecting return from him, and what you do to him, I count as any done to Me, which Truth showed forth when He said to

My

Paul, Me ?

My

persecutor,

This

He

His
the

faithful.

Saul, Saul, why persecutes} thou said, judging that Paul persecuted Him in This love must be sincere, because it is with

same love with which you love Me, that you must love Dost thou know how the imperfection of your neighbour. love for the creature is shown ? It is shown when spiritual the lover feels pain if it appear to him that the object of his
love does not satisfy or return his love, or when he sees the beloved one s conversation turned aside from him, or himself deprived of consolation, or another loved more than
he.

In these and in

many

other

ways can

it

be seen that

his neighbourly love is still imperfect, and that, though his love was originally drawn from Me, the Fountain of all love,

he took the vessel out of the water, in order to drink from It is because his love for Me is still imperfect, that his it. neighbourly love is so weak, and because the root of selflove has not been properly dug out. Wherefore I often such a love to so that the soul may in this permit exist,

way come
for the

to the knowledge of her own imperfection, and same reason do I withdraw myself from the soul by

sentiment, that she may be thus led to enclose herself in the house of self-knowledge, where is acquired every perfection. After which I return into her with more light and with
in

more knowledge of which she refers

My

to grace the

Truth, in proportion to the degree power of slaying her own

And she never ceases to cultivate the vine of her and to root out the thorns of evil thoughts, replacing them with the stones of virtues, cemented together in the Blood of Christ crucified, Which she has found on her journey across the Bridge of Christ, My only-begotten Son. For I told thee, if thou remember, that upon the Bridge, that is, upon the doctrine of My Truth, were built up the stones, based upon the virtue of His Blood, for it is in virtue of this Blood that the virtues give
will.

soul,

life."

136

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER LXV.
A TREATISE OF PRAYER
Of the means which the
love
11
;

soul takes to arrive at pure and generous and here begins the Treatise of Prayer.

WHEN

crucified,

the soul has passed through the doctrine of Christ with true love of virtue and hatred of vice, and
of self-knowledge and entered

has

arrived at the house

therein, she remains, with her

door barred, in watching and

constant prayer, separated entirely from the consolations of does she thus shut herself in ? She does the world.

Why

so from

knowing her own imperfections, and also from the desire, which she has, of arriving at pure and generous And because she sees and knows well that in no love.
fear,

other

way can she

faith for
is

My arrival, through

arrive thereat, she waits, with a increase of grace in her.

lively

How

perseverance in virtue, and by the fact that the soul never turns back for anything, whatever it be, nor rises from holy prayer, for any

a lively faith to be recognised ?

By

reason except (note well) for obedience or charity s sake. For no other reason ought she to leave off prayer, for,

during the time ordained for prayer, the Devil is wont to arrive in the soul, causing much more conflict and trouble This he than when the soul is not occupied in prayer.
soul,

does in order that holy prayer may become tedious to the This prayer tempting her often with these words
:

avails thee nothing,

for thou needest attend to nothing
acts

except thy

vocal prayers?

He

thus

in

order

that,

becoming

wearied and confused in mind, she may abandon the exercise of prayer, which is a weapon with which the soul can

hand of

defend herself from every adversary, if grasped with the love, by the arm of free choice in the light of the
Faith."

Holy

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

137

CHAPTER

LXVI.

Here, touching something concerning the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, the complete doctrine is given and how the soul proceeds from vocal to mental prayer, and a vision is related which this devout soul once received.
;

11

KNOW,

dearest daughter,

faithful prayer, the soul acquires,

every virtue.
her

how, by humble, continual and with time and perseverance, Wherefore should she persevere and never
illusion of the Devil or

abandon prayer, either through the

own

fragility, that is to say, either

on account of any

thought or movement coming from her own body, or of The Devil often places himself the words of any creature.
creatures, causing them to chatter with the nonsensically, purpose of preventing the prayer of All of this she should pass by, by means of the the soul.

upon the tongues of

virtue of perseverance. Oh, how sweet and pleasant to that soul and to Me is holy prayer, made in the house of know ledge of self and of Me, opening the eye of the intellect to

the light of faith, and the affections to the abundance of
charity,

My
!

which was made

visible to you,
it

only-begotten Son,

who showed

through My visible to you with His Blood

Which Blood
fire

inebriates the soul

of divine charity, [which is placed in the tavern of the mystical body of the Holy Church] that is to say, the food of the Body and Blood

and clothes her with the her the food of the Sacrament giving

of

Son, wholly God and wholly man, administered to you by the hand of My vicar, who holds the key of the This is that tavern, which I mentioned to thee, Blood.

My

standing on the Bridge, to provide food and comfort for the travellers and the pilgrims, who pass by the way of the doctrine of My Truth, lest they should faint through weak

This food strengthens little or much, according to ness. the desire of the recipient, whether he receives sacramentally or virtually. He receives sacramentally when he actually

communicates with the Blessed Sacrament. He receives virtually when he communicates, both by desire of com-

138

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

munion, and by contemplation of the Blood of Christ cruci the fied, communicating, as it were, sacramentally, with affection of love, which is to be tasted in the Blood Which,
as the soul sees, was shed through love. On seeing this the soul becomes inebriated, and blazes with holy desire and satisfies herself, becoming full of love for Me and for her

Where can this be acquired ? In the house neighbour. of self-knowledge with holy prayer, where imperfections are lost, even as Peter and the disciples, while they remained
watching and prayer, lost their imperfection and acquired perfection. By what means is this acquired ? By perse verance seasoned with the most holy faith. But do not think that the soul receives such ardour and nourishment from prayer, if she pray only vocally, as do
in
"

many

souls whose prayers are rather words than love. Such as these give heed to nothing except to completing

Psalms and saying many paternosters. And when they have once completed their appointed tale, they do not appear to think of anything further, but seem to place devout attention and love in merely vocal recitation, which the soul is not required to do, for, in doing only this, she But if bears but little fruit, which pleases Me but little. thou askest Me, whether the soul should abandon vocal prayer, since it does not seem to all that they are called to mental prayer, I should reply No. The soul should advance by degrees, and I know well that, just as the soul is at first imperfect and afterwards perfect, so also is
it.

with her prayer. prayer, while she
idleness.

She should nevertheless continue
is

in vocal
fall

yet imperfect, so as not

to

into

But she should not say her vocal prayers with out joining them to mental prayer, that is to say, that, while she is reciting, she should endeavour to elevate her mind in My love, with the consideration of her own defects and of the Blood of My only-begotten Son, wherein she finds the breadth of My charity and the remission of her sins. And this she should do, so that self-knowledge and
the consideration
of

her

own

defects

should make her

recognise My goodness in herself and continue her exer cises with true humility. I do not wish defects to be con-

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

139

sidered in particular, but in general, so that the mind may not be contaminated by the remembrance of particular and

hideous sins.

But, as I said, I do not wish the soul to consider her sins, either in general or in particular, without also remembering the Blood and the broadness of My

confusion.
Devil,

mercy, for fear that otherwise she should be brought to And together with confusion would come the

colour of contrition and it, under and so she would arrive at eternal sin, displeasure not on account of her confusion, but also damnation, only would come to her, because she the which through despair did not seize the arm of My mercy. This is one of the subtle devices with which the Devil deludes My servants, and, in order to escape from his deceit, and to be pleasing to Me, you must enlarge your hearts and affections in My boundless mercy, with true humility. Thou knowest that the pride of the Devil cannot resist the humble mind, nor can any confusion of spirit be greater than the broadness

who has caused
of

My good mercy, if the soul will only truly hope therein. Wherefore it was, if thou remember rightly, that, once, when the Devil wished to overthrow thee, by confusion, wishing to prove to thee that thy life had been deluded, and that thou hadst not followed My will, thou didst that which was thy duty, which My goodness (which is never withheld from him who will receive it) gave thee strength
of
to

do,

that

is

thou
:

didst rise,

humbly
,

trusting

in

My
His

/ confess to my Creator that my life mercy, and saying has indeed been passed in darkness but I will hide myself in
the

Wounds of
I
rejoice in

Christ crucified,

and

bathe myself in

Blood and so shall
will

my

my iniquities be consumed, and with desire Thou rememberest that then Creator!
:

the Devil fled, and, turning round to the opposite side, he endeavoured to inflate thee with pride, saying Thou art
perfect

and pleasing

to

thee to afflict thyself or to
I

God, and there is no more need for lament thy sins. And once more

gave thee the light to see thy true path, namely, humi of thyself, and thou didst answer the Devil with * these words Wretch that I am, John the Baptist never sinned and was sanctified in his mother s womb. And I
liation
:

140

THE DIALOGUE OF
many
sins,

ST.

CATHERINE

and have hardly begun to know contrition, seeing Who God is. Who is offended by me, and who I am, who offend Him. Then, the Devil, not being able to resist thy humble hope in My Cursed that thou art, for I can goodness, said to thee take no to thee. If I put thee down through confusion way find thou risest to Heaven on the wings of mercy, and if I raise thee on high, thou humblest thyself down to Hell, and when I go into Hell thou persecutes^ me, so that I will return to thee no
have committed so

them with grief and true

:

,

The more, because thou strikest me with the stick of charity. should of season the herself with soul, therefore, knowledge
the knowledge of My goodness, and then vocal prayer will be of use to the soul who makes it, and pleasing to Me, and she will arrive, from the vocal imperfect prayer, exer but if perfect mental prayer she simply aims at completing her tale, and, for vocal, abandons mental prayer, she will never arrive at it. Some times the soul will be so ignorant that, having resolved to
cised with perseverance, at
;

say so many prayers vocally, and I, visiting her mind, sometimes in one way, and sometimes in another, in a flash of self-knowledge or of contrition for sin, sometimes in the broad ness of My charity, and sometimes by placing before her mind, in diverse ways, according to My pleasure and the desire of the soul, the presence of My Truth, she (the soul), in order to complete her tale, will abandon My visitation, that she feels, as it were, by conscience, rather than abandon that She should not do so, for, in so which she had begun.
doing, she yields to a deception of the Devil.

The moment

she

her mind disposed by My visitation, in the many I have told thee, she should abandon vocal prayer ; ways visitation then, My past, if there be time, she can resume
feels

the vocal prayers which she had resolved to say, but if she has not time to complete them, she ought not on that account to be troubled or suffer annoyance and confusion of

mind of course provided that it were not the Divine office which clerics and religious are bound and obliged to say
;

under penalty of offending Me, for, they must, until death, But if they, at the hour appointed for say their office. feel their minds drawn and raised by should saying it,
desire, they should so arrange as to

say

it

before or after

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

i4p

My

visitation, so that

not omitted.

But, in

the debt of rendering the office be any other case, vocal prayer should be
I

immediately abandoned for the said cause.

Vocal prayer, told will have enable the thee, way soul to arrive at perfection, and therefore she should not abandon it, but use it in the way that I have told thee.

made

in

the

that

And

so,

with exercise in perseverance, she will taste prayer

and the food of the Blood of My only-begotten and therefore I told thee that some communicated Son, with the Body and Blood of Christ, although not virtually sacramentally that is, they communicate in the affection of charity, which they taste by means of holy prayer, little or much, according to the affection with which they pray. They who proceed with little prudence and without method, taste little, and they who proceed with much, taste much. For the more the soul tries to loosen her affection from her self, and fasten it in Me with the light of the intellect, the more she knows and the more she knows, the more she Thou seest then, loves, and, loving much, she tastes much.
in truth,
; ;

that perfect prayer is not attained to through many words, but through affection of desire, the soul raising herself to Me,

with knowledge of herself and of My mercy, seasoned the one with the other. Thus she will exercise together mental and vocal prayer, for, even as the active and contemplative life is one, so are they. Although vocal or mental prayer can be understood in many and diverse ways, for I have
thee that a holy desire is a continual prayer, in thissense that a good and holy will disposes itself with desire to the occasion actually appointed for prayer in addition
told

to

the

continual
will

prayer remains firm in a habitual holy will, and will sometimes be continued beyond the appointed time, according as charity

prayer of holy desire, wherefore vocal be made at the appointed time by the soul who

commands
him
to

for the salvation of the neighbour, if the soul see be in need, and also her own necessities according to the state in which I have placed her. Each one, according

to his condition, ought to exert himself for the salvation of
souls, for this exercise lies at the root of a holy will, and whatever he may contribute, by words or deeds, towards the

salvation of his neighbour,

is virtually

a prayer, although

it

M2

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

does not replace a prayer which one should make oneself at the appointed season, as My glorious standard-bearer Paul said, in the words, He who ceases not to work ceases
not
to

pray?

It

was

for this reason that I told

thee that

prayer was made in many ways, that is, that actual prayer may be united with mental prayer if made with the affection
of charity, which charity is itself continual prayer. I have now told thee how mental prayer is reached by exercise and
I visit

perseverance, and by leaving vocal prayer for mental when I have also spoken to thee of common the soul.

prayer, that is, of vocal prayer in general, made outside of ordained times, and of the prayers of good-will, and how

every exercise, whether performed, in oneself or in one s The enclosed soul neighbour, with good- will, is prayer. should therefore spur herself on with prayer, and when she

has arrived at friendly and

filial

love she does so.

Unless

the soul keep to this path, she will always remain tepid and and her neighbour in pro imperfect, and will only love which she finds in service." portion to the pleasure

Me

My

CHAPTER

LXVII.
to serve

Of the mistake which worldly men make who desire for their own consolation and delight.
"

God

I

WISH

to tell thee

somewhat of imperfect

love,

and not

.conceal from thee one snare, which those

who

love

Me

for

I would have their own consolation alone, may fall into. know that who loves Me thee My servant, imperfectly, seeks

rather the consolation, on account of which he loves Me, than Myself, and it is to be observed that, when he fails to obtain either spiritual or temporal consolation, he is troubled. This often shows itself in regard to temporal consolation in

men

of the world,

as they live

practise every act of virtue as long But when tribulation comes prosperously.

who

upon them, which I send them for their good, they are disturbed, and do no longer that little good which they and if one should ask them, once did Why are you have received tribulaBecause we disturbed ? they reply,
"

;

"

"

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
tion,
lost,

143

good which we did seems to be almost we no longer do it with that heart and courage which we used to possess, on account of the tribulations which we have received, for it seems to us that we exerted ourselves more when our hearts were Such as these are deceived at rest than we do now." it for own is not true that tribulation their delight, by The works which causes them to love and work less. in the time of do tribulation are worth as much they and that
little

because

in

consolation

themselves as those which they did before in the time of they might indeed be worth more if the
;

murmurers had

Me they with but slight virtue, in order to pacify their conscience.
to

But this comes to them because patience. in their own delighted prosperity, while they loved

Being deprived of that on which they really rested, it seems them that the repose, in which they exerted themselves, is taken away from them, but it is not so, for it happens to them as to a man in a garden who, because he takes pleasure in the garden, finds peace of mind and repose in that is to say, that it seems to him that he working in it finds repose in his labours, but he is really all the time He reposing in the delight caused him by the garden.
;

takes

more delight in the garden than in his labours, because when the garden is taken away from him he feels himself deprived of the pleasure, for had his principal

pleasure been placed in his labours he would not have lost For the exercise of it, but would have it still with him. well cannot be lost unless a man be willing to lose working as these the delight of prosperity, the as it were, in which they worked, has been taken garden, so that Therefore away, they have deceived themselves.
it.

From such

they deceive themselves in working for their
"

own

pleasure,

and acquire the habit of saying, I know that I did better and had more consolation before I was troubled than now, and I rejoiced in doing good, but now I take no delight therein." Their sight and their speech is false, because, if had had they delight in doing good for love of virtue, they would not have lost it, neither would it have failed, but rather increased. But it fails because their good works

144

THE DIALOGUE OF
their

ST.

CATHERINE
consolation.

were founded upon love of

own

In this

way

are people in general deceived in all their good works, that is, through love of their own consolation and of the
delight

which they

find in

Me.

CHAPTER
How
"

LXVIII.
who go on
loving

the servants of

God

are deceived

God

in the aforesaid way.

who are still in the imperfect love, seek because of the affection they have towards the consolation and delight they find in Me, and because I am the Rewarder of every good which is done, great or small,
BUT

My

servants,

and love

Me

according to the measure of the love of him who receives the For this reason I give mental consolation during reward.
another.

the time of prayer, sometimes in one way and sometimes in I do not this in order that the soul ignorantly

receive the consolation, that is, that she regard more the consolation than Me give it, but in order that she may regard the affection of My charity with which I give with which she receives it, more it, and the unworthiness

Who

than the delight of her own consolation. But if, ignorantly, she takes hold of the delight alone, without regarding My
affection,

she will receive damage from
I

it

and
that,

fall

into

snares of which

will tell thee

;

one being

deceived

by her own
therein

consolation,
herself,

she seeks this consolation and

moreover, having at some former time experienced the consolation of My visitation in one way or another, she will endeavour to go back by the way which she has come, in order again to experience
delights

and

But I do not grant the consolation one way alone, which would appear as if I had but one way in which to do so, but I grant it in diverse ways, according as pleases My goodness, and But according to the need and the necessity of the soul. the soul, in her ignorance, will, nevertheless, seek My con solations in that way alone which she has experienced, thereby, as it were, imposing laws on the Holy Spirit.
the of

same

consolation.

My

visitations in

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

145

She should not do so, but should pass on manfully by the doctrine of Christ crucified, receiving what it pleases My Goodness to give her, and in the manner, time and place
that

And if, nevertheless, I give not, it is and not through hatred, and that she may love through seek and love Me in truth, and not for her own delight,
I

choose.

receiving

My
in

delighting
object and in

If she still goes on charity with humility. her own way and not in mine, when the

upon which she has fixed the eye of her intellect which alone she delights is taken from her, she will experience pain and intolerable confusion. Such as these, of whom I have spoken, desire to choose their own consolations in their own way, and so to go through life, and their ignorance is at times so great that, having imagined a particular consolation, and I, visiting them in any way except that of their imagination, they will A soul who would act resist Me and will not receive Me. thus is deceived by her own pleasure and spiritual delight, for it would be impossible to remain always in one state. She must either go forward to the virtues or turn right And neither could the mind remain stationary backwards. in the enjoyment of one delight alone without My Goodness
"

Many are the kinds of delights increasing that delight. that I give to the soul sometimes the delight of a mental
joyousness, sometimes of contrition and displeasure of and, at times, I may be in the soul and she will not feel
or
I

self,

Me

;

may form My

Will, that

is,

My

Incarnate

Word, before

the eye of the intellect, and it will not seem to her that she experiences that heat and delight in the sentiment of her

At other times she will feel without any These various methods mental vision the greatest delight. I use through love to preserve her and to increase, in her, humility and perseverance, and to show her that she need
soul at such a vision.
place no rules for me, nor seek her end in consolation, but only in virtue founded in Me, and to teach her with

humility to receive what I choose to give her in My own time and manner, and to believe, with lively faith, that I give her what I give, either for her own salvation or to

bring her to great perfection.

146
"

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

She should then remain humble, making her beginning and end to be in My charity, and taking delight in this
will and not according to charity alone, according to The only way not to be deceived is to receive hers. everything through love of Me, being rooted and grounded in My sweet Will."

My

CHAPTER
Of

LXIX.

those who, in order not to lose their own peace of mind and consolations, do not succour their neighbour in his necessities.

and receive

who desire to taste own way, and now I wish to tell thee of the second mistake they make, who have placed all their delight in the receiving of mental consolation. They
"

I

HAVE

told thee

how

they are deceived

Me

mentally in their

will ofttimes see their

neighbour in necessity, spiritual or

temporal, and they will not succour him, under pretence of virtue, saying, If I do so I shall lose my peace and quiet of or I shall not be able to say my Hours at the right time mind, For they think that if they receive no consolation, I am

and

thereby offended, but they are deceived by their own mental spiritual delight, for they offend Me more by not relieving their neighbour s necessity, than if they had abandoned all
those things whereby they receive consolation for all vocal and mental exercise is ordained by Me to bring the soul to perfect love of Me, and of the neighbour, and to preserve
;

her in this love.
bour, a

man

Therefore, in failing in love to his neigh offends Me more than if he had abandoned his
;

ordinary exercise and lost his peace of mind

and, moreover,

he would truly
is

in exercising love towards his neigh in bour, whereas, seeking delight in his own consolation, he
find

Me

deprived of Me, for by not succouring his
for,

neighbour

immediately, his love

him diminishes, and

his love for

his neighbour diminishing, affection towards him also So diminishes, and thus is his consolation diminished too.

My

that, thinking to gain,

to lose,

he gains.

he That

loses,
is,

and where he would think

being willing to lose his

own

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
consolation for his

147

neighbour s salvation, he receives and neighbour too, succouring him and gains and tasting each time he does so, him charitably, serving the sweetness of My love. But, not doing so, he suffers that he will be obliged, either sometimes for it happens pain,

Me, and

the

either for

through love or force of circumstances, to help his neighbour some spiritual or corporal infirmity, and, doing it in this way, he does it with mental tedium, being pricked
:

by conscience, and becomes insupportable to himself and to And should any one ask him others. Why dost thou He would / to have lost all seem this ? reply pain feel and that I used to do and mind, many quiet of things peace I have left off, and I think that thereby I have offended God. But he is mistaken. He has placed the vision of the eye of his intellect on his own delight alone, and therefore he dis cerns not, nor knows where his offence truly lies. Because, could he discern, he would see that his offence does not con
:

not having his customary mental consolation, or in having abandoned the exercise of prayer in the time of his neighbour s need, but in having been found without true
sist in

love for

his

neighbour,

whom

he should love and serve

through love of Me. So that thou seest
"

how

spiritual self-love alone is capable

of deceiving the

soul."

CHAPTER LXX.
Of the deception, which those
fall into,

affections in consolations
"

who have placed and mental visions.
this,

all their

SOMETIMES, through such love as

the soul receives even

more damage than if her affection is altogether placed in consolations and visions which I often give to My servants,
for,

when she

feels herself

deprived of them, she

falls into

bitterness and tedium of mind, for it seems to her that she is deprived of grace, though I have only withdrawn Myself

from her mind by sentiment, and not by grace, as
told thee that
I

I

have

often do, in order to bring the soul to per-

148
fection.

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

So she falls into bitterness, and seems to herself to have entered into Hell, feeling no delight, but the molesta
She should not be so ignorant, tion of many temptations. nor allow herself to be so deceived by spiritual self-love ; but she does not know Me truly in herself, Who am her Supreme Good, preserving to her My goodwill in the time of battle, though she does not hasten to the warfare with She should rather humiliate herself, deeming her delight. self unworthy of peace and quiet of mind. For this purpose do I withdraw from her, so that she may humiliate herself

charity in her, seeing the goodwill which I in the time of battle, and also that she may to her preserve

and learn

My

not only receive the milk of sweetness sprinkled by Me on the face of her soul, but that, clinging to the breast of My Truth, she may receive milk together with meat, that is, may draw to herself the milk of My charity, by means of
the Flesh of Christ crucified; which is the Doctrine of which I have made for you a Bridge, by crossing which you arrive
at

Me,

Who

pose. ignorantly receiving the milk alone, I return with more delight and strength, with more light and ardour of charity. But if, on the other hand, they endure with tedium and sad -

have withdrawn Myself from you for this pur Wherefore, to souls who act with prudence, not

ness and confusion of mind, the suffering caused them by the loss of mental sweetness, they gain but little, and remain
in their
tepidity."

CHAPTER
How

LXXI.

it is possible for the aforesaid souls, who take delight in consolations and mental visions, to be deceived by the Devil in a form of light and how to know when a vision is from GOD, and
;

when from the
"

Devil.

ANOTHER
is,

souls

delusion that the Devil often practises upon such that he transforms himself into a form of light.

For, seeing the soul to be disposed to desire and receive such a form, her mind being absorbed, and her desires placed

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
in consolations

149

and mental visions alone, (which should not
should place her desires in virtue alone,

be

so, for the soul

deeming herself unworthy of consolation), he transforms him self into a form of light in diverse ways, sometimes as an angel, and sometimes as My Truth, or as one of My saints, doing so in order to catch that soul with the hook of her own spiritual delight, which consists in visions and mental And if this soul does not rise above herself with pleasure.
true humility, despising every delight, she will remain, caught by the hook, in the hands of the Devil ; but if she, with
humility, disdaining the bait of delight, will bind her affec am the Giver, and not to the gift, she tions fast to Me,

Who

will

be released, for the Devil, on account of his pride, cannot bear a humble mind.
"

If

thou askest
is

Devil, I reply to thee the sign. If it is the Devil who has come into thy mind in a form of light, as has been said, to visit it, thou wilt suddenly feel in his coming great joyousness, but
visitation

from

Me how it is to Me or from the

be known whether a

that this

is

as he stays

mind

will

be

thou wilt gradually lose joyousness, and thy left in tedium or excitement, darkening thee
if

within.

But

the soul

is in

truth visited

by Me, Eternal

Truth, she will, in the first sensation, experience holy fear, and with this fear joy and security, with a sweet prudence, that in doubting does not doubt, the soul, deeming herself

unworthy, saying,

/ am

not worthy to receive

Thy

visita

tion, and, not being worthy, how can such a thing be ? But she will then turn to the broadness of charity, knowing and seeing that it is possible for Me to give, and

My

do not regard her unworthiness, but rather My makes her worthy to receive Me, worthiness, which in sentiment and she will see that I do not through grace, her desire when she calls to Me, and she will despise receive Behold thine handmaid. humbly Me, saying, Thy will be done in Me. And she will arise from her prayer and My visitation with joyousness, and will humbly
that
I
;

rejoice in mind,

deeming herself unworthy, but, recognising with love her joyousness as coming from Me.
"

This, then, that

I

have told thee,

is

the sign by which

150

THE DIALOGUE OF
may know whether
If
it

ST.

CATHERINE

the soul

her visitation is of Me or of be of Me, her first sensation will be one of holy fear, her second, joyousness, and at the end she And if it be of will feel joy and hunger for the virtues.
the Devil. the Devil, the first sensation is joyousness, but the mind left in confusion and darkness.
"

is

I have thus shown thee a means by which the soul, if she will go humbly and with prudence, cannot be deceived, which she will be if she tries to navigate herself by means of her own imperfect love of consolations, rather than by

love of Me, as

I

have told

thee."

CHAPTER
How
"

LXXII.

the soul

who
all

truly knows herself, wisely guards against the aforesaid deceptions.

I

HAVE not wanted

to

conceal from thee the deception

receive through sensitive love, through the small good which they practise, that is to say, through that little virtue which they exercise in times of spiritual
that
folk

common

consolation, or the spiritual self-love which

My

servants

have

consolations, and selves with the self-love of delight,
in their

own

they deceive them which does not let them

how

My affection, nor discern their own and the deception which the Devil practises on them, through their own fault, if they keep not the way which I And all these things I have told thee, so have told thee. that thou and My servants may walk in virtue, through love of Me, and nothing else. But they who love Me with imperfect love, that is, who love Me for My gifts and not for Myself, Who am the Giver, fall into all these perils and But the soul who has in truth entered the deceptions.
the truth of
guilt,

know

of Self-Knowledge, and, by the exercise of perfect has raised herself from the imperfect love of imperfect prayer, by the means of which I speak to thee in
prayer,
this Treatise

House

on Prayer, receives Me, through

affection

of

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
love, seeking to

151

draw

to herself the milk of

My

sweetness

And from the breast of the doctrine of Christ crucified. when these souls have attained to the third state, that is, to friendly and filial love, they have no longer any mercenary For, as the eye love, but they act as do very dear friends. of one, on being given a present by his friend, does not
turn to the
gift

alone but also to the heart of the giver,

receiving and keeping the present for the sake of the affection which gave it, so the soul, who has attained to

the third state of perfect love, when she receives My gifts and graces, looks not only at the gifts, but, with the eye
of her intellect, looks at the affection of charity of Me, the Giver. And, in order that she may have no excuse for

not doing so, in My Providence I have united the Gift with the Giver, that is, the Divine nature with the human
nature,

Son,

Who

by
at

this

I gave you the Word of My only- begotten one thing with Me and I with Him. So that, union, you cannot look at the Gift without looking

when
is

Me, the Giver.

tion

Thou seest then with how great affec thou shouldest love and desire both Gift and Giver.
will

Doing thus your love
is

the love of those

who remain

be pure and not mercenary, as barred up in the House of

Self-Knowledge."

CHAPTER

LXXIII.

Of the method by which the soul separates herself from imperfect love, and attains to perfect love, friendly and filial.

have shown thee in many ways how the soul raises herself from imperfection and attains to perfection, which she does after she has attained to friendly and filial
"

HITHERTO

I

love.

thee that she arrives at perfect love by means of perseverance, barring herself into the House of SelfI

tell

Knowledge, which knowledge of self requires to be seasoned with knowledge of Me, lest it bring the soul to confusion, for it would cause the soul to hate her own sensitive But pleasure and the delight of her own consolations.

iS2

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

from this hatred, founded in humility, she will draw patience, with which she will become strong against the attacks of the Devil, against the persecutions of man, and towards Me, when, for her good, I withdraw delight from her mind.

And

if her sensuality, through malevolence, should lift its head against reason, the judgment of conscience should rise

y

against it, and, with hatred of it, hold out reason against it, not allowing such evil emotions to get by it. Though sometimes the soul who lives in holy hatred corrects and

reproves herself, not only for those things that are against reason, but also for things that in reality come from Me, which is what My sweet servant S. Gregory meant, when

he said that a holy and pure conscience made sin where was no sin, that is, that through purity of conscience, it saw sin where there was no sin. "Now the soul who wishes to rise above imperfection should await My Providence in the House of Self-Know
there
ledge, with

the

light

of

faith,

as did the disciples,

who

remained in

and

the house in perseverance and in watching, in humble and continual prayer, awaiting the coming

of the Holy Spirit. She should remain fasting and watch ing, the eye of her intellect fastened on the doctrine of

My
true

Truth, and she will become humble because she will
herself in

know

humble and continual prayer and holy and

desire."

CHAPTER LXXIV.
Of the
signs

by which the soul knows she has arrived
at perfect love.

IT now remains to be told thee how it can be seen that souls have arrived at perfect love. This is seen by the same sign that was given to the holy disciples after they
"

had received the Holy Spirit, when they came forth from the house, and fearlessly announced the doctrine of My Word,

My only-begotten Son, not fearing pain, but rather glory ing therein. They did not mind going before the tyrants of

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

153

the world, to announce to them the truth, for the glory and So the soul, who has awaited Me in praise of My Name.

self-knowledge as I have told thee, receives Me, on My return to her, with the fire of charity, in which charity, while still remaining in the house with perseverance, she
conceives the virtues by affection of love, participating in My power ; with which power and virtues she overrules and

conquers her own sensitive passions, and through which charity she participates in the wisdom of My Son, in which
she sees and knows, with the eye of her
intellect,

My Truth

and the deceptions of spiritual self-love, that is, the imperfect love of her own consolations, as has been said, and she

knows

and deceit of the devil, which he practises on those souls who are bound by that imperfect love. She therefore arises, with hatred of that imperfection and with love of perfection, and, through this charity, which is of the Holy Spirit, she participates in His will, fortifying
also the malice

own to be willing to suffer pain, and, coming out of the house through My Name, she brings forth the virtues on her neighbour. Not that by coming out to bring forth the virtues, I mean that she issues out of the House of Selfher

Knowledge, but that, in^the time of the neighbour s necessity she loses that fear of being deprived of her own consolations, and so issues forth to give birth to those virtues which she
has conceived through affection of love. The souls, who have thus come forth, have reached the fourth state, that is, from the third state, which is a perfect state, in which they

and give birth to it on their neighbours, they have arrived at the fourth state, which is one of perfect union with Me. The two last-mentioned states are united, that is to say, one cannot be without the other, for there cannot be love of Me, without love of the neighbour, nor love of the neighbour without love of Me."
taste charity

154

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER LXXV.
How
they who are imperfect desire to follow the Father alone, but they who are perfect desire to follow the Son. And of a vision, which this holy soul had, concerning diverse baptisms, and of
other beautiful and useful things.

many
"

told thee, these latter have issued forth from which is a sign that they have arisen from imperfection and arrived at perfection. Open the eye of thy intellect and see them running by the Bridge of the doctrine of Christ crucified, which was their rule, way and doctrine. They place none other before the eye of their intellect than Christ crucified, not the Father, as they do who are in imperfect love and do not wish to suffer pain, But but only to have the delight which they find in Me. they, as if drunken with love and burning with it, have gathered together and ascended the three steps, which I figured to thee as the three powers of the soul, and also the
I

As

have

the house,

three actual steps, figured to thee as in the Body of My only Son, Christ crucified, by which steps the soul, as I told thee, ascended, first climbing to the Feet, with the feet of

the soul s affection, from thence arriving at the Side, where she found the secret of the Heart and knew the baptism
of water, which has virtue through the Blood, and where I dispose the soul to receive grace, uniting and kneading her Where did the soul know of this together in the Blood.

her dignity, in being kneaded and united with the Blood of
the

Lamb, receiving the grace in Holy Baptism, in virtue of the Blood ? In the Side, where she knew the fire of divine

Charity, and so, if thou remember well, fested to thee, when thou askedst, saying

My
:

Immaculate Lamb, Thou
opened. Why Thy heart divided ?
that

then didst

wen dead when Thou want to be struck and have
replied to thee, telling thee for it ; but the principal He said Because thee.
:

Truth mani Sweet and Thy side was

And He

part

was occasion enough of what He said I will tell
there
desire towards the

My

human

generation was ended, and

I

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

155

had finished the actual work of bearing pain and torment, and yet I had not been able to show, by finite things, because My love was infinite, how much more love I had, I wished thee to see the secret of the Heart, showing it to thee open, so that thou mightest see how much more I loved than I could show thee by finite pain. I poured from it Blood and Water, to show thee the baptism of water, which is I also showed the baptism received in virtue of the Blood. of love in two ways, first in those who are baptised in their blood, shed for Me, which has virtue through My Blood, even if they have not been able to have Holy Baptism, and also in those who are baptised in fire, not being able to have Holy Baptism, but desiring it with the affec tion of love. There is no baptism of fire without the Blood, because the Blood is steeped in and kneaded with
the
fire

shed.

There

of Divine charity, because, through love was It is yet another way by which the soul receives

the baptism of Blood, speaking, as it were, under a figure, this way the Divine charity provided, knowing the infirmity and fragility of man, through which he offends,

and

not that he

commit

is obliged, through his fragility and infirmity, to sin unless he wish to do so ; but, falling, as he will,

into the guilt of mortal sin,

by which he loses the grace which he drew from Holy Baptism in virtue of the Blood, it was necessary to leave a continual baptism of Blood. This the Divine charity provided in the Sacrament of Holy
Confession, the soul receiving the Baptism of Blood, with
contrition of heart, confessing,

when

able, to

My

ministers,

who

hold the keys of the Blood, sprinkling It, in absolu tion, upon the face of the soul. But, if the soul be unable to confess, contrition of heart is sufficient for this baptism,
the

hand
so,

of

My
if

precious Blood.
to

do

and

clemency giving you the fruit of this But if you are able to confess, I wish you you are able to, and do not, you will be
of the Blood.
It is

deprived of the
last

fruit

true that, in the

extremity, a man, desiring to confess and not being able to, will receive the fruit of this baptism, of which I

have been speaking.

But

let

arrange his deeds, that, in the

no one be so mad as so to hope of receiving it, he puts

156

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
when he may
:

off confessing until the last extremity of death,

not be able to do so.

In which case, it is not at all certain Thou that I shall not say to him, in My Divine Justice didst not remember Me in the time of thy life, when thou
couldest,
"

now will I not remember thee in thy death. Thou seest then that these Baptisms, which you should
moment, are
continual,

1

all

receive until the last

and though

works, that is the pains of the Cross were finite, the fruit of them which you receive in Baptism, through Me, are infinite. This is in virtue of the infinite Divine nature,

My

united with the finite

human

nature,

which human nature

endures pain in Me, the Word, clothed with your humanity. But because the one nature is steeped in and united with
the other,
the

which

I

suffered with so

Eternal Deity drew to Himself the pain, much fire and love. And therefore

can this operation be called infinite, not that pain, neither the actuality of the body be infinite, nor the pain of the desire that I had to complete your redemption, because

My

was terminated and finished on the Cross, when the Soul was separated from the Body but the fruit, which came out
it
;

of the pain and desire for your salvation, is infinite, and therefore you receive it infinitely. Had it not been infinite,
the whole
to

grace,

This I found the secret of the Heart, showing that I loved more I showed to thee that than I could show, with finite pain.

generation could not have been restored neither the past, the present, nor the future. manifested in the opening of My Side, where is

human

My

love

was

infinite.
fire

How*?
of

By

united with the

My

charity,

the Baptism of Blood, and by the general

baptism, given to Christians, and to whomsoever will receive it, and by the baptism of water, united with the Blood and the fire, wherein the soul is steeped. And, in

order to
out of
to thee)

show

this,

it

My

Side.

Now

was necessary for the Blood to come I have shown thee (said My Truth
Me."

what thou askedst of

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

157

CHAPTER LXXVI.
How the
that

having mounted the third step of the holy Bridge, having arrived at the Mouth, at once makes use of it and how the death of self-will is the true sign that the soul has
soul,
is,

arrived there.
"

Now

I

to thee, as

say to thee, that all this, which I have just narrated thou knowest, in the person of My Truth, was nar

rated to thee, so that thou mightest know the excellence of the state of that soul, who has ascended the second step, where

she learns and acquires so much fire of love, and from whence she immediately runs to the third, that is, to the Mouth, which proves her to have arrived at the perfect state. Through what did she pass ? Through the midst of the Heart, that is the Blood, wherein she was re-baptised,
leaving
fire

imperfect

love,

drew from the
of
"

cordial love, seeing, tasting

through the knowledge that she and proving the

it

My chanty. Such, then, have arrived at the Mouth, and they show by taking the office of the mouth. The mouth speaks by

means of the tongue, which is in the mouth, and tastes by means of the palate, giving to the stomach what the mouth retains and which has been chewed by the teeth to make it
fit

to be

swallowed.

The

soul does likewise.

First she

speaks to me, with the tongue, which is in the mouth of holy desire, that is to say, the tongue of holy and continual
prayer.
offering to

of souls,

This tongue speaks actually and mentally, mentally Me sweet and amorous desires for the salvation and actually announcing the doctrine of My Truth,

admonishing, counselling, confessing without fear of any I say that she eats, pain which the world may cause her. of the food for souls, taking My honour, on the table of the Cross, and on no other table and in no other way She then chews with could she eat perfectly and in truth.
the teeth of hatred and love
;

that

is,

hatred of vice and love

of virtue, which are the two rows of teeth in the mouth of holy desire, for otherwise she would not be able to swallow
the food of souls.

158

THE DIALOGUE OF
She chews,
I

ST.

CATHERINE

say, for the sake of the salvation of souls,

villainies, reproofs and persecutions, enduring and cold and heat, painful desires and tears thirst, hunger and sweat, and she chews them all for My honour, bearing and supporting her neighbour. She then tastes the relish of the fruit of toil and the delight of the food of souls, in fire of My love and that of her neighbour. The food then reaches the stomach, that is, the stomach of the heart, which, by desire and the soul s hunger, is disposed to receive it, with cordial love and delight and affection for the neigh bour. Delighting in the food, the stomach of the heart it heaps up by the aforesaid process, and loses corporal

insults,

doctrine

hunger, becoming able to take the food of the table of the of Christ crucified. The soul fattens on the

royal and true virtues, and swells so greatly through the abundance of her food that her clothing of sensuality, that is to say her body, which covers the soul, bursts, and the body
that bursts is dead; thus is the sensitive will of the soul dead, but the spiritual will is living, clothed in My eternal Will. Now this death of the sensitive will, after the soul had

eaten of the affection of
it is

My

known,
that

in truth, that the soul

charity, is the sign, by which has arrived at the third

peace and

And in the Mouth she found Mouth. and nothing can disturb her peace and quiet, quiet, because her sensitive will is dead. They who have arrived
step,
is

the

at this step, bring forth the virtues upon their neighbour without pain, not because pain is no longer painful to them, but because, their sensitive will being dead, they voluntarily

bear pain for My sake. They run without negligence, by doctrine of Christ the crucified, and slacken not their pace of the account on persecutions, injuries or pleasures of
the world.

They pass by
their

perseverance,
charity,

these things, with fortitude and the affection of affection, clothed in
all

and eating the food of souls with true and perfect patience, which patience is a sign that the soul is in
of self. perfect love, loving without any consideration for and her own her For did she love neighbour profit,

Me

she would, in impatience, slacken her steps, but, loving Me, Who am the Supreme Being and worthy to be loved, she

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

159

loves herself and her neighbour through Me alone, caring only for the glory and praise of My name, which causes

her to be patient and strong to suffer, and

persevering."

CHAPTER
Of the works

LXXVII.

of the soul after she has ascended the

aforesaid holy step.

the soul who, has attained to the faith, summit of this charity, are Patience, Fortitude, and Perse verance, and, in the light of the most holy faith, she now runs the way of the truth without darkness, and is so raised on high by holy desire, that no one can offend her, neither the devil, with his temptations, because he fears the soul burning in the furnace of holy charity, nor men with their injuries and detractions, for, though the world may persecute her, it fears her, and such trials as the devil or the world
"

THE

three glorious virtues which crown

with the light of the most holy

may

permit in My Goodness, and, because she makes herself small through humility, I fortify her and

cause her,

I

make her
in
I

great before the world.

As

thou hast seen well

My saints,

who, for

have made them

sake, made themselves small, and great in eternal life and in the mystic

My

My Holy Church, where mention is always made of them, because their names are written in the Book of Life, and the world holds them in reverence, because they Such as they hide not their virtue through despised it.
body of
fear,

their

but through humility, and, if their neighbour needs not hide themselves for fear of service, they do

trouble or of losing their own consolation, but they serve him manfully not caring what they lose thereby themselves.
in whatever way they use their life and time in My honour, they rejoice, finding for themselves peace and quiet of mind. Why is it thus with them ? Because they do

And

not choose to serve

Me

in their

way, but

in

My

way, and,

for that reason, times of consolation appear to

them as heavy

i6o

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

as times of tribulation, and the time of prosperity as that of The one seems to them the same as the other, adversity.

because in everything they see My will, and they think of nothing except of conforming themselves in every time and They have seen that nothing is made place to My will. without Me, and that all, except sin, is made with mystery

and Divine Providence, therefore, except sin which they Their will is hate, they hold everything in reverence. therefore firm and stable, and they go on by the way of truth, and do not slacken their pace, helping their neighbour, without regarding his ignorance and ingratitude, and caring not for the injuries and reproofs of the vicious, but rather crying before My Face in prayer for them, grieving more for the injury they do Me, and the damnation of their soul, than for their own annoyance. They say with glorious Paul, My standard bearer The world curses us and we bless, it persecutes us and we return thanks, we are swept away as the dirt and refuse of the world and we endure patiently? So, most delightful daughter, thou seest the sweet signs, and above all other signs, the virtue of patience, by which the soul shows herself in truth, to have arisen from imperfection and attained to perfect love, following the sweet and im maculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son, Who, being on the Cross, held by the nails of love, did not draw back on Descend from account of the taunts of the Jews who said the Cross and we will believe Thee} and neither did He draw back for your ingratitude, and not persevere in the obedience which I had imposed upon Him, but He endured with so much patience, that no cry of murmuring was heard from
: ( :

Him.

way do my most delightful sons, and faithful the doctrine and example of follow Truth, and servants, back from the turn not do following plough, because they the world would withdraw them by flattery or threats, but
"

In a like

My

they fix their eyes on My Truth alone. Such as they would not want to leave the field of battle in order to don the garment of peace and remain at home, but would rather

want

to flee creatures will stand

and pleasures than Me,
field

their Creator.

They

with delight in the

of battle, drunk

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
and inebriated with the Blood of Christ
placed
life to

161

crucified,

which

is

in

the tavern of the church of

My

charity, to give

true knights, and fight against and own their sensuality fragile flesh, against the world and the devil, with the knife of hatred of vice and the knife of the love of virtue, which knife of love is a weapon that

those

who would be

parries all sin, and which the enemy cannot take from them, unless they voluntarily take off their armour, surrendering the knife of the said love into the enemy s hand. They who

are inebriated with the Blood would not do thus, but they would rather manfully persevere until death, when all their

enemies
"

will

be discomfited.
!

O

glorious virtues

how

how, in the world, they shine in the darkened ignorant, who cannot participate in the light of
In the hatred of those

pleasing they are to Me, and eyes of the

My servants

!

persecute My servants, shines the clemency which the persecuted ones have for the salvation of their tormentors ; in their envy shines the

who

broadness of charity, and in their cruelty, pity for they are cruel to themselves ; in injury shines Queen Patience, who is supreme over all the virtues, because she is the
mirror of charity.
the soul, and truth or not.

She shows up

in

review the virtues of

shows whether they are founded by Me, in She conquers and is never conquered. She is accompanied by Perseverance and Fortitude, as I have told thee, and when she comes out of the battle-field and

the

returns with victory to the house, to Me, Eternal Father, Rewarder of every toil, she receives the Crown of
Glory."

CHAPTER
Of the
third,

LXXVIII.

fourth state, which is, nevertheless, not separated from the and of the works of the soul who has arrived at this state,
is

and how she

never

left

by

GOD, Who

remains with her in

continual sentiment.
41

Now I have told thee how it is to be seen that souls have arrived at the perfection of love, friendly and filial

162

THE DIALOGUE OF
I

ST.

CATHERINE

do not want to conceal from thee how great is the which they taste Me, though they are still in This is because, having arrived at the the mortal body.
delight with
third state, they acquire the fourth, which, however, is not separated from the third, but is united with it, and the one cannot be without the other, except in the same way as love

Now

of

Me

can be without love of the neighbour.

A

fruit

that

arises from this third condition of the soul s perfect union

with Me, wherein she acquires fortitude, is that, not only does she bear with patience, but she anxiously desires to suffer Such as these pain for the glory and praise of My Name.
glory in the shame of My standard-bearer:

My

only-begotten Son, as said Paul,
tribulations, and in in another place in Christ crucified

shame of Christ
forbid that
again

I glory in and crucified

the

God
and

I

should glory save
in

body the stigmata of Christ crucified} Such as these, I say, as if enamoured of My honour, and famished for the food of souls, run to the table of the Most

/ bear

My

Holy Cross,
service

of

willing to suffer pain and endure much for the the neighbour, and desiring to preserve and

acquire the virtues, bearing in their body the stigmata of Christ crucified, causing the crucified love which is theirs
to shine, being visible through self-contempt

and delighted endurance of the shames and vexations on every side. To these, My most dear sons, trouble is a pleasure, and pleasure and every consolation that the world would offer them, are a toil, and not only the consolation that the ser
vants of the world, by My dispensation, are constrained to give them, in reverence and in compassion of their corporal
necessities,

out

also

the mental
Eternal

consolation which they

Even this they They do not despise through humility and self-hatred. despise consolation itself, which is my gift and grace, but
receive

from

Me, the

Father.

only the pleasure which the soul s appetite finds therein. And this they do through the virtue of true humility,
obtained through holy self- hatred, which is the nurse and nourisher of love, and has been acquired through true knowledge of themselves and of Me. Wherefore, as thou
seest, the virtues

and wounds of Christ

crucified

shine in

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
their bodies

163
feel

and souls.

Such as these do not

any

separation from Me, as happens in the case of others, of whom I have told thee, namely, that I would leave them,

not by grace, but by feeling, afterwards returning to them I do not act thus to these most perfect ones who again. have arrived at the great perfection, and are entirely dead

own will, but I remain continually both by grace and feeling in their souls, so that at any time that they wish they can unite their minds to Me, through love. They can in no way be separated from My love, for, by love, they have arrived at so close a union. Every place is to them their conver an oratory, every moment a time for prayer sation has ascended from earth to heaven that is to say, they have cut off from themselves every form of earthly affection and sensual self-love, and have risen alone them
to their

staircase of the virtues

selves into the very height of heaven, having climbed the and mounted the three Steps which

I figured to thee, in the Body of My Son. On the first step the feet of their affection are divested of the love of vice ; on the second they taste the secret love of the

Heart, where they can see desire of virtue; on the third, the step of purity and peace of mind, they find in them selves the virtues, and, rising above imperfect love, they
attain the great perfection. their souls in the doctrine of

For they have found rest to Truth, having found both Table and Food and Server, which Food they taste, through the doctrine of Christ crucified, My only- begotten Son. I am their Bed and Board, and My sweet and amorous Word is their Food, for they eat the Bread of souls in the

My

is

person of this glorious Word, for I give Him to you, that His Flesh and Blood, wholly GOD and wholly man, in

the Sacrament of the Altar, by My Goodness, while you are still pilgrims and wayfarers, so that you may not slacken

your pace through faintness, or lose the memory of the benefits of the Blood, shed for you with so much fire of love, and may always be able to comfort and delight your selves while on your journey. The Holy Spirit serves
these souls, for
ministers
to

He

is

the affection of
gifts

My

charity

which
sweet

them both

and graces.

This

164

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
to

Servant both fetches and

carries,

Me

their painful but

sweetly amorous desires, and to them the fruit of the Divine Love, and of their labours, so that they feed on the sweetness of My charity, so that, as thou seest, I am the

My Son is the Food, and the Holy Spirit pro ceeding from Me, the Father, and from Him, the Son, is the
Table, and
Server.

Thou

seest,

then,

that

they always

feel
;

Me

in

and the more they have despised trouble, taking pleasure in it and desiring it, the more completely have they passed beyond it and acquired delight, because their ardent souls are enflamed with My love, wherein their will is consumed. The devil fears the rod of their charity, and the world strikes the
their minds,

by sentiment as well as by grace

outside of their bodies to hurt them, but to its own injury, because the arrow, which cannot find a place to enter, returns against him who sent it. For when the world hurls the darts of injuries, persecutions and murmurings against My most
perfect servants, there is no joint in their harness for them to enter by, the garden of their soul being walled up, so that the dart returns against him who hurled it, poisoning

him with the venom of
that the soul can in no

his own sin. Thou seest, then, way be attacked through the body,

but remains both blessed and

sorrowful.

Sorrowful for

the sake of her neighbour s sin, and blessed through the Such union of love with Me which she enjoys in herself.

as these follow the Immaculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son, Who was both blessed and sorrowful on the Cross.

He was

sorrowful in that

He

bore the cross of the Body,

suffering pain and the cross of desire, in order to satisfy for the guilt of the human race, and He was blessed, be cause the Divine nature, though united with the human,

could suffer no pain, but always kept His Soul in a state of blessedness, being revealed without a veil to her, so that He was both blessed and sorrowful, for, while the
flesh endured, neither the

the soul, which
"

is

Deity nor the superior part above the intellect, could suffer.

of

these, My sons of delight, who have arrived at the and fourth states, are sorrowful, for they carry both a that is to say, they bear physical and a mental Cross

So

third

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

165

pain in their bodies according to My permission, and in their mind, the cross of desire, for they are tortured by

sorrow

at the offence

done

to

Me, and the

loss

of their

Yet I say to thee that they are blessed, be neighbour. cause the delight of charity which makes them so, cannot be
taken

away from them.

Their

grief, then,

cannot be called

afflicting

sorrow, but rather fattening, for the soul is fattened by her love, and virtues are augmented and fortified by Their trouble fattens them and does not afflict trouble.

them, because no trouble can draw them out of the fire of My love. These souls, thrown into the furnace of My

no part of their will remaining outside, but the whole of them being enflamed in Me, are like a brand, wholly consumed in the furnace, so that no one can take hold of it In the same to extinguish it, because it has become fire. no one can seize these souls or draw them outside of way, with Me because are made one Me, through they thing grace, and I never withdraw Myself from them by sentiment, as in the case of those who I am leading on to perfection. For, with souls who have arrived at perfection, I play no more the Game of Love, which consists in leaving and returning again to the soul, though thou must understand that it is not, properly speaking, I, the immoveable GOD,
charity,

Who

thus illude them, but rather the sentiment that charity gives them of Me."

My

CHAPTER LXXIX.
How GOD
does not withdraw Himself from the aforesaid perfect ones by sentiment or by grace, but how He withdraws the union of Himself from them.

I HAVE said, that, from these pertect ones, I never with draw by sentiment. But, in another way, I depart from them, for the soul, being bound in the body, is not sufficient continually to receive that union which I make with her. And because she is not sufficient, I withdraw Myself, not by sentiment or by grace, but by that union which I
"

166

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

For souls, arising with anxious desire, her. with run, virtue, by the Bridge of the doctrine of Christ
crucified,

make with

and arrive

Me, and

in the Blood,

Whom the soul has made so great union, no movement except in Me. And, being yet mortal, they taste the good of the immortals, and having yet the weight of the body, they receive the joy of the Wherefore oftentimes, through the perfect union spirit. which the soul has made with Me, she is raised from the earth almost as if the heavy body became light. But this does not mean that the heaviness of the body is taken away, but that the union of the soul with Me is more perfect than the union of the body with the soul ; wherefore the strength of the spirit, united with Me, raises the weight of the body from the earth, leaving it as if immovable and all pulled to pieces in the affection of the soul. Thou rememberest to have heard it said of some creatures, that were it not for My Goodness, in seeking strength for them, they would not be able to live, and I would tellthee, that, in the fact that the souls of some do not
that she has

they taste in Sea Pacific, with

up their minds in and burning with the fire of love Me, the Eternal Deity, Who am to them a
at the gate, lifting

leave their bodies, is to be seen a greater miracle, than in the fact that some have arisen from the dead, so great is
the union which they have with Me.
I,

therefore,

sometimes

for a space, withdraw from the union, making the soul return to the vessel of her body, that is, to the sentiment of the

body, from which she was separated though the affection From the body she did not depart, because that of love.
in death, the bodily powers alone departed, to Me, through affection of love. united The becoming but the is full of nothing Me, memory intellect, elevated,

cannot be, except

gazes upon the object of My Truth ; the affection, which follows the intellect, loves and becomes united with that which the intellect sees. These powers, being united and gathered
its feeling,

together and immersed and inflamed in Me, the body loses so that the seeing eye sees not, and the hearing

ear hears not, and the tongue does not speak, except as the abundance of the heart will sometimes permit it for the

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
alleviation of

167

the heart and the praise and glory of

My

Name.
"The

the
it

members

hand does not touch and the feet walk not, because are bound with the sentiment of love, and as,

were, contrary to all their natural functions, cry to Me the Eternal Father for the separation of the soul from the body, as did My glorious Paul, saying, Oh wretched man that lam,

Me from this body ? for I feel within Me a law which wars against the Spirit. Paul was not perverse to the of senses the referring warring against Spirit, from which he knew he was secured by My words My grace is
who
will separate
:

sufficient for then, did he utter those words ? Because he found himself bound in the vessel of the body,
thee.

Why

which
is to

for a space of time

say, that, until death, his

impeded his vision of Me, that eyes were bound so as not

to be able to see

Me, the Eternal Trinity,

Who am

in

the sight of the Blessed Immortals,

Whereas glory to My name. midst of mortals who always offend

render praise and he found himself in the

who

Me, deprived of the of that is of Me in Essence. Not that he Me, sight My and My other servants see Me not in the virtue of Charity
in diverse

they see

Me

ways, according as pleases My Goodness, but not in Essence. But every vision, which the

soul, while it is in the mortal body, receives of Me is a darkness compared to that sight which the soul has who is separated from the body. So that it seemed to Paul that the bodily vision warred against the vision of the
Spirit,

and that the feeling of the grossness of the human body impeded the intellectual eye, not allowing him to see Me face to face, and it seemed to him that his will was so bound that he could not love as he wanted to love, for
this
life,

every love in

until

it

reaches

its

perfection,

is

Not that the love of Paul and of My other imperfect. servants was imperfect in grace and in charity, because it was perfect, but it was imperfect in that it had not satis faction, which gave him pain, for, had his desire been filled with that which he loved, he would have felt no pain. But the
soul,

who

is

and has therefore no

separated from the body, has her desire filled, She is satisfied, the tedium of pain.

i68

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Her being far from her, and the pain of hunger. firm stable in the and filled, and she is Me, Truth, so that she can desire nothing which she has not. Desiring
satiety,

vessel is

Me, she sees

Me

praise of My Name in angelic as well as in the

face to face, desiring to see the glory and saints, she sees them in the

My

human

nature."

CHAPTER LXXX.
How
"

worldly people render glory and praise to they will or no.

GOD,

whether

AND so perfect is her vision that she sees the glory and Name, not so much in the angelic nature as praise of in the human, for, whether worldly people will or no, they

My

render glory and praise to My Name, not that they do so in the way they should, loving Me above everything, but that My mercy shines in them, in that, in the abundance of My
I give them time, and do not order the earth to I even open and swallow them up on account of their sins. wait for them, and command the earth to give them of her fruits, the sun to give them light and warmth, and the sky And in all things created and made to move above them. for them, I use My charity and mercy, withdrawing neither I even give on account of their sins. equally to the sinner and the righteous man, and often more to the sinner than

charity,

man, because the righteous man is able toendure privation, and I take from him the goods of the world that he may the more abundantly enjoy the goods of So that in worldly men My mercy and charity heaven. shine, and they render praise and glory to My Name, even
to the righteous

when they

persecute My servants ; for they prove in them the virtues of patience and charity, causing them to suffer

humbly and offer to Me their persecutions and turning them into My praise and glory.
"So

injuries,

thus

to

My Name
Me

do

whether they will or no, worldly people render praise and glory, even when they intend to infamy and wrong."
that,

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

169

CHAPTER LXXXI.
How
"

even the devils render glory and praise to

GOD.

SINNERS, such as those of whom I have just spoken, are placed in this life in order to augment virtues in My servants, as the devils are in Hell as My justitiars and augmentors
of

My

Glory

;

that

is,

my

the damned,

and the

instruments of justice towards augmentors of My Glory in My

are wayfarers creatures, who to reach Me, their End. journey

and

pilgrims

on
in

their

They augment

them

ways, exercising them with many and vexations, causing them to injure one temptations and take one another s property, and not for the another them receive injury or be deprived of motive of making
the virtues in diverse

But their property, but only to deprive them of charity. in thinking to deprive servants, they fortify them, prov ing in them the virtues of patience, fortitude, and perse

My

verance.

Thus they render
Truth
is fulfilled in

and

My

praise and glory to Name, them, which Truth created them

My

for the praise

and glory of Me, Eternal Father, and that they
in

might participate

My

beauty.

But, rebelling against

Me

in their pride, they fell

and

lost their vision of

Me, where

Me glory through the affection of Eternal Truth, have placed them as instruments to exercise My servants in virtue in this life and as justitiars
fore they rendered not to
love,

and

I,

to those

So thou

who go, for their sins, to the pains of Purgatory. seest that Truth is fulfilled in them, that is, that

My

they render

glory, not as citizens of they are deprived by their sins, but as
festing justice

Me

life eternal,

of which

My

justitiars,

mani
Purga

upon the damned, and upon those

in

tory."

170

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How

LXXXII.

the soul, after she has passed through this life, sees fully the praise and glory of My Name in everything, and, though, in her the pain of desire is ended, the desire is not.
in all things created, in all rational creatures,
is

41

THUS

and

in

the devils

seen the glory and praise of

My

Name.

Who

can see

it

?

The

soul

who

is

denuded of the body and

it clearly, and, in seeing, the Eternal Seeing Me, Father, she loves, and loving, she is satisfied. Satisfied, she knows the Truth,

has reached Me, her End, sees
truth.

knows the
and her

will is stayed in My Will, bound and made stable, so that in nothing can it suffer pain, because it has that which it desired to have, before the soul saw Me, namely,

the glory and praise of
it

My

Name.

She now,

in truth, sees

completely in

My

saints, in the blessed

spirits,

and

in all

creatures and things, even in the devils, as I told thee. And although she also sees the injury done to Me, which before

caused her sorrow, it no longer now can give her pain, but only compassion, because she loves without pain, and prays to Me continually with affection of love, that I will have

mercy on the world.

Pain in her is ended, but not love, as the tortured desire, which My Word, the Son, had borne from the beginning when I sent Him into the world, termi
nated on the Cross in His painful death, but His love
no.

For had the affection of My charity, which I shewed you by means of Him, been terminated and ended then, you would not be, because by love you are made, and had My love been drawn back, that is, had I not loved your being, you could not be, but My love created you, and My love possesses you, because I am one thing with My Truth, and Thou seest then, that He, the Word Incarnate with Me. the saints and every soul in Eternal Life have desire for the salvation of souls without pain, because pain ended in their
death, but not so the affection of love. Thus, as if drunk with the Blood of the Immaculate
"

Lamb, and clothed

in the love of the neighbour,

they pass

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

171

through the Narrow Gate, bathed in the Blood of Christ crucified, and they find themselves in Me, the Sea Pacific, raised from imperfection, far from satiety, and arrived at per
fection, satisfied

by every

good."

CHAPTER
How

LXXXIII.

after Saint Paul was drawn to the glory of the blessed, he desired to be loosened from the body, as they do, who have reached the aforesaid third and fourth states.

"

PAUL, then, had seen and tasted

this good,

when

I

drew

him up
Trinity,

into the third heaven, that is into the height of the

where he tasted and knew My Truth, receiving fully Holy Spirit, and learning the doctrine of My Truth, the Word Incarnate. The soul of Paul was clothed, through feeling and union, in Me, Eternal Father, like the blessed ones in Eternal Life, except that his soul was not separated from his body, except through this feeling and union. But it being pleasing to My Goodness to make of him a vessel of
the
election in the abyss of Me, Eternal Trinity,
I

dispossessed

him of Myself, because on Me can no pain fall, and I wished him to suffer for My name therefore I placed before him,
;

as an object for the eyes of his intellect, Christ crucified, clothing him with the garment of His doctrine, binding and fettering him with the clemency of the Holy Spirit and

He became a the fire of charity. and reformed vessel, disposed by My Goodness, and, on made no resistance, but said My Lord, what being struck, dost Thou wish me to do ? Show me that which it is thy Which I answered pleasure for me to do, and I will do it} when I placed before him Christ crucified, clothing him with the doctrine of My chanty. I illuminated him perfectly with the light of true contrition, by which he extirpated his defects, and founded him in My charity."
enflaming him with
:

172

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER LXXXIV.
How
the
soul

who

finds

infinitely to leave the

herself in the unitive state desires barren earthly state and unite herself to

GOD.
"AND

when

I

depart from the soul in the aforesaid

way

that the

body may return a little to its corporal sentiment, the soul, on account of the union which she had made with
Me, is impatient in her life, being deprived of union with Me, and the conversation of the Immortals, who render glory to Me, and finding herself, amid the conversation of This mortals, and seeing them so miserably offending Me. vision of My offence is the torture which such souls always have, and which, with the desire to see Me, renders
their
will is not their
to them. Nevertheless, as their own, but becomes one with Mine, they cannot desire other than what I desire, and though they desire to come and be with Me, they are contented to
life

insupportable

remain,
souls.

if I

desire

them

to remain, with their pain, for the

greater praise and glory of

My Name

and the salvation of

Will
in

;

that in nothing are they in discord with but they run their course with ecstatic desire, clothed
crucified,

So

My

Christ

and

keeping by the Bridge of His

Inasmuch doctrine, glorying in His shame and pains. as they appear to be suffering they are rejoicing, because the enduring of many tribulations is to them a relief in the
desire which they have for death, for oftentimes the desire and the will to suffer pain mitigates the pain caused them by their desire to quit the body. These not only endure

with patience, as
state,

I told thee they did, who are in the third but they glory, through My Name, in bearing much In bearing tribulation they find pleasure, and tribulation.

not having it they suffer pain, fearing that I reward not their well-doing or that the sacrifice of their desires is not pleasing to Me ; but when I permit to them many tribula
tions they rejoice, seeing themselves clothed with the suffer

ing and

shame of Christ

crucified.

Wherefore were

it

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
possible for

173
toil

them
it

to

have virtue without

they would

not want
Eternal

it.

They would

Christ, acquiring
Life. in

rather delight in the Cross, with with pain, than in any other way obtain

Why ?

Because
is

they

are

inflamed
blaze of

and

steeped
charity,

the Blood, where they find the

My
Me,

charity proceeding ravishing their heart and mind and making their sacrifices Wherefore, the eye of the intellect is lifted up acceptable.

which

a

fire

from

and gazes into
intellect is

My

Deity,

when

the affection

nourished and united with Me.

behind the This is a sight

which

I grant to the soul, infused with grace, who, in truth, loves and serves Me."

CHAPTER LXXXV.
How
they, who are arrived at the aforesaid unitive state, have the eye of their intellect illuminated by supernatural light infused by grace. And how it is better to go for counsel for the salvation of the soul, to a humble and holy conscience than to a proud
lettered
"

man.
that is given to the eye of the intellect,

WITH

this light

Thomas Aquinas saw Me, wherefore he acquired the light also Augustine, Jerome, and the doctors, of much science and my saints. They were illuminated by My Truth to know and understand My Truth in darkness. By My Truth I mean the Holy Scripture, which seemed dark
;

because

it

was not understood

;

the Scriptures, but of them

who heard

not through any defect of them, and did not

understand them. Wherefore I sent this light to illuminate the blind and coarse understanding, uplifting the eye of the intellect to know the Truth. And I, Fire, Acceptor of
sacrifices,

the light

ravishing away from them their darkness, give not a natural light, but a supernatural, so that, ; in Wherefore though darkness, they know the Truth.
that,

which at first appeared to be dark, now appears with the most perfect light, to the gross or subtle mind ; and every one receives according as he is capable or disposed

174
to

THE DIALOGUE OF
for
I

ST.

CATHERINE

So thou do not despise dispositions. received seest that the eye of the intellect has supernatural light, infused by grace, by which the doctors and saints knew light in darkness, and of darkness made light. The intellect was, before the Scriptures were formed, wherefore, from the intellect came science, because in seeing they dis It was thus that the holy prophets and fathers cerned. understood, who prophesied of the coming and death of My Son, and the Apostles, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, The evangelists, which gave them that supernatural light. and all likewise were martyrs doctors, confessors, virgins And every one illuminated by the aforesaid perfect light. has had the illumination of this light according as he needed it for his salvation or that of others, or for the

know Me,

The doctors of the holy exposition of the Scriptures. doctrine of My Truth, the had science it, expounding the of the preaching Apostles, and the Gospels of
it, declaring in their fruit and the treasure of the Holy Faith, had it in the affec The of Lamb. the the Blood virgins

the

Evangelists. blood the Most

The martyrs had

tion

of charity

and purity.

To

the obedient

ones

is

declared, by it, the perfection of

the obedience of the

Word, showing them
shines
in

obedience, which
I

My

Truth,

Who

imposed upon Him, ran to This light is to be Cross. of the death the opprobrious in the Old, by it, New Testament and seen in the Old ; the of the were seen by intellect, and known the eye In the New Testament prophecies of the holy prophets.
for the obedience that

of the evangelical
faithful ?

life,

how

By

this

same

the Gospel declared to the And because the New light.
is

Testament proceeded from the same light, the new law did not break the old law ; rather are the two laws bound
together, the imperfection of the old law, founded in fear alone, being taken from it, by the coming of the Word of

My

only-begotten Son, with the law of Love, completing the old law by giving it love, and replacing the fear of penalty And, therefore, said My Truth to the by holy fear.
disciples,
*

to
to

show

that

He was

not a breaker of laws
to fulfil it?
It is

:

/ came

not

dissolve the law, but

almost

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
as
if

175,

My
fill

Truth would say

to
I

them
will

imperfect, but with
I will

My

Blood

The Law is now make it perfect, and

it up with what it lacks, taking away the fear of How was and founding it in love and holy fear. this declared to be the Truth ? By this same supernatural light, which was and is given by grace to all, who will receive it ? Every light that comes from Holy Scripture comes and came from this supernatural light. Ignorant and proud men of science were blind notwithstanding this light, because their pride and the cloud of self-love had Wherefore they under covered up and put out the light. stood the Holy Scripture rather literally than with under standing, and taste only the letter of it, still desiring many other books and they get not to the marrow of it, because they have deprived themselves of the light, with which is and they are annoyed found and expounded the Scripture and murmur, because they find much in it that appears to them gross and idiotic. And, nevertheless, they appear to be much illuminated in their knowledge of Scripture, as if they had studied it for long; and this is not remark able, because they have of course the natural light from whence proceeds science. But because they have lost the supernatural light, infused by grace, they neither see nor

penalty,

;

;

know

fore, I

Goodness, nor the grace of My servants. Where say to thee, that it is much better to go for counsel for the salvation of the soul, to a holy and upright con science, than to a proud lettered man, learned in much

My

science, because such a one can only offer what he has himself, and, because of his darkness, it may appear to thee,

from what he says, the Scriptures offer darkness. The contrary wilt thou find with My servants, because they offer the light that is in them, with hunger and desire for the soul s salvation. This I have told thee, my sweetest
that,

daughter, that thou mightest know the perfection of this unitive state, when the eye of the intellect is ravished by

the

fire

of

My

supernatural state love Me, because love follows the intellect, and the more it knows the more can it love. Thus the one feeds
light.

charity, in which charity it receives the With this light the souls in the unitive

i;6

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

the other, and, with this light, they both arrive at the Eternal Vision of Me, where they see and taste Me, in Truth, the soul being separated from the body, as I told

thee

spoke to thee of the blissfulness that the This state is most excellent, when the soul, being yet in the mortal body, tastes bliss with the immortals, and ofttimes she arrives at so great a union that she scarcely knows whether she be in the body or out
I

when

soul received in Me.

of it ; and tastes the earnest-money of Eternal Life, both because she is united with Me, and because her will is dead in Christ, by which death her union was made with Me, and

no other way could she perfectly have done so. There do they taste life eternal, deprived of the hell of their own will, which gives to man the earnest-money of damna tion, if he yield to
in fore
it."

CHAPTER LXXXVI.
A
useful repetition of many things already said and how this devout soul to pray to Him for every creature,

GOD leads
and
for the

Holy Church.
"Now thou hast seen, with the eye of thy intellect, and heard, with the ear of thy feeling, from Me, Eternal Truth, what method thou must hold to make use of this doctrine for thy and to know My Truth. As I told self, and thy neighbour, thee in the beginning, a knowledge of Truth is arrived at

Not a pure knowledge of through a knowledge of self. but a knowledge of self seasoned and united with a knowledge of Me. Wherefore thou foundest humility and hatred and displeasure of thyself and the fire of My charity, through the knowledge that thou foundest of thyself from whence thou earnest to love and take delight in thy neighbour, bringing him to a holy and honest life, by means of the doctrine. I have also shown thee the Bridge,
self,

and the three general steps, placed there for the three powers of the soul, and I have told thee how no one can attain to the life of grace unless he has mounted all three

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
steps, that soul in
is,

177

gathered together
I

My

Name.

all the three powers of the have also made known to thee, in

particular, the three states of the soul, figured in the Body I told thee, that He of only-begotten Son, of

My

Whom

had made of His Body a staircase, showing it to thee in His nailed Feet, and in the opening of His Side, and in His Mouth, where the soul attains to peace and quiet, in the way that I told thee. And I have shown thee the imper fection of servile fear, and the imperfection of the love, that is only for the sweetness found in Me, and I have shown
thee, the perfection of the third state, namely of those who have arrived at the peace of the Mouth, having run, with

anxious desire, by the Bridge of Christ crucified, ascending
the three general steps, that is, gathering together in My Name the three powers of the soul and all their functions,

as

I

ascended the three principal steps, that
imperfect state to the perfect.

explained to thee more clearly above, and thus have is, passed from the

And so hast thou seen them and taste with satisfaction the perfection of the soul, with the odour of the virtues. Thou hast also seen the deceptions into which theyfall before they arrive at perfection, if they do not exercise themselves in the knowledge of Me I have also declared to thee the misery and of themselves. of those who are drowned in the river, because they keep not by the Bridge of the doctrine of Christ crucified, the which I placed there that they might not be drowned. But they, in the if were would and drown filth of as mad, they misery the world. All these things have I declared to thee to increase in thee the fire of holy desire, and compassion and sorrow for the damnation of souls, and that thy sorrow and love might constrain thee to urge Me, with tears and sweat and humble and continual prayer, offered to Me with the fire of most And that not ardent desire, to have mercy on the world. and servants only thou, but many others of my creatures
run
in truth,

hear these things, might be constrained to urge have Me mercy on the world and particularly on the mystic body of the Holy Church. I have already told thee, if thou remember well, that I would fulfil all thy desires, giving thee refreshment in thy toil, and satisfying the pain
to

who may

M

178

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

of thy desires, reforming the Church with holy and good Not reforming her by war, or the knife or cruelty, pastors.
as
quiet and by the tears and have My servants, placed as labourers for souls in the mystic body of the Church, labouring for them in virtue, in example and in doctrine, offering to Me, for the Church and every creature, continual prayer, bringing forth the virtues on their neighbour in the way I have told thee, because every virtue and every fault is increased by Wherefore I wish you all to its relation to the neighbour. be of service to your neighbour, and thus to bear fruit. Cease
I

told thee, but

by peace and

sweat of

whom

I

not to cast up before Me the incense of fragrant prayers for the salvation of souls, because with those prayers, tears and sweatings will I wash the face of My Spouse,
the

Holy Church. I have already shown her to thee under the form of a damsel, her face all befouled, as if And this is on account of the sins of with leprosy. ministers and of the whole Christian people who feed My at the breast of this My Spouse, and of whose sins I will
speak to thee in another
place."

CHAPTER LXXXVII.
How
THEN
this

devout soul seeks knowledge from
state

God concerning

the

and

fruit of tears.

this soul, yearning with very great desire, and rising as one intoxicated both by the union which she had had with God, and by what she had heard and tasted of the Supreme

and Sweet Truth, yearned with

grief over the ignorance

of creatures, in that they did not know their Benefactor, or the affection of the love of God. And nevertheless she

had joy from the hope of the promise that the Truth of God had made to her, teaching her the way she was to direct
in

her will (and the other servants of God as well as herself) order that He should do mercy to the world. And,

lifting

up the eye of her

intellect

upon the sweet Truth, to

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
she remained united, wishing to states of the soul of which aforesaid the
her,

179

Whom

know somewhat God had spoken

of
to

and seeing that the soul passes through these states with tears, she wished to learn from the Truth concerning the different kinds of tears, and how they came to be, and whence they proceeded, and the fruit that resulted from Wishing then to know this from the Sweet, weeping. and First Truth, as to the manner of being and Supreme the aforesaid tears, and inasmuch as the truth of reason be learnt from any other than from the Truth Him cannot and self, nothing can be learnt in the Truth but what is
seen by the eye of the intellect, she made her request of For it is necessary for him who is lifted with the Truth. the Truth with the light of faith. to learn desire

Wherefore, knowing that she had not forgotten the teach ing which the Truth, that is, God, had given her, that in no other way could she learn about the different states and
she rose out of herself, exceeding every limit of her nature with the greatness of her desire. And, with a she the of her intellect the light of eye opened lively faith,
fruits of tears,

upon the Eternal Truth,
fested
it

in

Whom

Truth, in the matter of her request, for
to her,

she saw and knew the God Himself mani

and condescending
fulfilled

in

His

benignity^ to her

burning desire,

her petition.

CHAPTER

LXXXVIII.
kinds of tears.
"

How there are five
THEN

said the Supreme and Sweet Truth of God, Oh, be loved and dearest daughter, thou beggest knowledge of the reasons and fruits of tears, and I have not despised thy desire. Open well the eye of thy intellect and I will show thee, among the aforesaid states of the soul, of which I

have told thee, concerning the imperfect tears caused by but first rather of the tears of wicked men of the fear These are the tears of damnation. The former world.
;

i8o

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

are those of fear, and belong to men who abandon sin from The third are the fear of punishment, and weep for fear.
tears of those

serve

and

taste

who, having abandoned sin, are beginning to Me, and weep for very sweetness ; but

since their love is imperfect, so also is their weeping, as I The fourth are the tears of those who have told thee. have arrived at the perfect love of their neighbour, loving Me without any regard whatsoever for themselves. These weep and their weeping is perfect. The fifth are joined to the fourth and are tears of sweetness let fall with great
I will tell thee also of the peace, as I will explain to thee. tears of fire, without bodily tears of the eyes, which satisfy And I those who often would desire to weep and cannot.

wish thee to know that all these various graces may exist in one soul, who, rising from fear and imperfect love, reaches
perfect love in the unitive state. thee of these tears in the following

Now
way."

I will

begin to

tell

CHAPTER LXXXIX.
Of the
difference of these tears, arising from the explanation of the aforesaid states of the soul.

"

I

WISH thee

to

know

that every tear proceeds from the
will

heart, for there is

no member of the body that

satisfy

the heart so

much
it.

eye manifests
hearty
tears

as the eye. If the heart is in pain the And if the pain be sensual the eye drops

engender death, because proceeding they are caused by a disordinate love distinct from the love of Me ; for such love, being disordi nate and an offence to Me, receives the meed of mortal pain from
the
heart,
It is true that their guilt and grief are more or and tears. less heavy, according to the measure of their disordinate And these form that first class, who have the tears love.

which

of death, of

whom

I

have spoken to thee, and

will

speak

Now, begin to consider the tears which give the again. commencement of life, the tears, that is, of those who,

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
knowing

181

their guilt, set to weeping for fear of the penalty have incurred. they "These are both hearty and sensual tears, because the soul, not having yet arrived at perfect hatred of its guilt on account of the offence thereby done to Me, abandons it with a hearty grief for the penalty which follows the sin

committed, while the eye weeps in order to satisfy the grief of the heart.
"But the soul, exercising herself in virtue, begins to lose her fear, knowing that fear alone is not sufficient to give her eternal life, as I have already told thee when speaking

of the second stage of the soul.
love, to

And so she proceeds, with know herself and My goodness in her, and begins to
in

take

hope

My

mercy

in

which her heart

feels

joy.

mingled with the joy of her hope in causes her My mercy, eye to weep, which tears issue from the very fountain of her heart.
for her grief,
"But,

Sorrow

inasmuch as

she has not yet arrived

at

great

perfection, she often drops sensual tears, and if thou askest Me why, I reply Because the root of self-love is not sensual love, for that has already been removed, as has
:

f

a spiritual love with which the soul desires spiritual consolations or loves some creature spirit ually. (I have spoken to thee at length regarding the imper

been

said, but

it

is

fections of such souls.)

Wherefore, when such a soul

is

deprived of the thing she loves, that is, internal or external consolation, the internal being the consolation received from

Me, the external being that which she had from the creature, and when temptations and the persecutions of men come on her, her heart is full of grief. And, as soon as the eye feels the grief and suffering of the heart, she begins to weep with a tender and compassionate sorrow, pitying herself
with the spiritual compassion of self-love for her self-will is not yet crushed and destroyed in everything, and in this way she lets fall sensual tears tears, that is, of spiritual
;

passion.

But, growing, and exercising herself in the light of self-knowledge, she conceives displeasure at herself and
finally

perfect knowledge of

self-hatred.

From

this
fire

My

goodness with a

draws true of love, and she
she

182

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

begins to unite herself to Me, and to conform her will to Mine
to feel joy and compassion. Joy in herself through the affection of love, and compassion for her neighbour, as I told thee in speaking of the third stage. Immediately

and so

her eye, wishing to satisfy the heart, cries with hearty love for Me and for her neighbour, grieving solely for My
offence and her neighbour s loss, and not for any penalty or loss due to herself; for she does not think of herself, but

only of rendering glory and praise to My Name, and, in an ecstasy of desire, she joyfully takes the food prepared for her on the table of the Holy Cross, thus conforming herself
to the

humble, patient, and immaculate Lamb, My onlybegotten Son, of whom I made a Bridge, as I have said. Having thus sweetly travelled by that Bridge, following the

sweet Truth, enduring with true and sweet patience every pain and trouble which I have permitted to be inflicted upon her for her salvation, having manfully received them all, not choosing them according to her own
doctrine of

My

tastes,

as

I

but accepting them according to Mine, and not only, said, enduring them with patience, but sustaining them
it

with joy, she counts
arrives
at

glory to be persecuted for

My Name s

sake in whatever she

may have to suffer. Then the soul such delight and tranquillity of mind that no
tell it.

tongue can
Eternal

Word,

that

Having crossed the river by means of the is, by the doctrine of My only-begotten

Son, and, having fixed the eye of her intellect on Me, the Sweet Supreme Truth, having seen the Truth, knows it ; and knowing it, loves it. Drawing her affection after her
intellect,

Eternal Deity, and she sees the Divine nature united to your humanity.

she tastes

My

knows and

"

Then she reposes

in

Me, the Sea
I

Pacific,

and her heart
the
feels

is

united to

Me

in love, as

told thee

when speaking of

fourth and unitive state.

When

she thus

Me, the

Eternal Deity, her eyes let fall tears of sweetness, tears indeed of milk, nourishing the soul in true patience ; an odoriferous ointment are these tears, shedding odours of great sweetness.

Oh, best beloved daughter, how glorious is that soul who has indeed been able to pass from the stormy ocean to Me,
"

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
the

183

in that Sea, Which is Myself, the Deity, to fill the pitcher of her heart. And her eye, the conduit of her heart, endeavours to satisfy her heart-pangs, and so sheds tears. This is the last stage

Sea Pacific, and Supreme and Eternal

in

which the soul
"

is

blessed and sorrowful.
feels herself

Blessed she

is

through the union which she

have with Me, tasting the divine love ; sorrowful through the offences which she sees done to My goodness and great ness, for she has seen and tasted the bitterness of this in her self-knowledge, by which self-knowledge, together with her knowledge of Me, she arrived at the final stage. Yet this sorrow is no impediment to the unitive state, which produces tears of great sweetness through self-knowledge, gained in love of the neighbour, in which exercise the soul discovers the plaint of My divine mercy, and grief at the offences caused to her neighbour, weeping with those who that is, who weep, and rejoicing with those who rejoice
to
live in

My love. Over these the soul rejoices, seeing glory and praise rendered Me by My servants, so that the third
kind of grief does not prevent the fourth, that
is,

the final

grief belonging to the unitive state; they rather give savour to each other, for, had not this last grief (in which the soul finds such union with Me), developed from the grief be

longing to the third state of neighbourly love, it would not be perfect. Therefore it is necessary that the one should flavour the other, else the soul would come to a state of

own

presumption, induced by the subtle breeze of love of her reputation, and would fall at once, vomited from
the heights

to the depths. Therefore it is necessary to bear with others and practise continually love to one s neighbour, together with true knowledge of oneself.
"In

this

way

will

she

feel the fire of
is

because love of her neighbour

love in herself, developed out of love of

My

Me
fore,

that

is,

by knowing

herself

out of that learning which the soul obtained and My goodness in her. When, there

she sees herself to be ineffably loved by Me, she loves every rational creature with the self-same love with which she sees herself to be loved. And, for this reason, the soul
that

knows Me immediately expands

to the

love of her

184

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

neighbour, because she sees that I love that neighbour ineffably, and so, herself, loves the object which she sees Me

She further knows that she can have loved still more. be of no use to Me and can in no way repay Me that pure love with which she feels herself to be loved by Me, and therefore endeavours to repay it through the medium which I have given her, namely, her neighbour, who is the medium through which you can all serve Me. For, as 1 have said to thee, you can perform all virtues by means of
to

your neighbour, I having given you all creatures, in general and in particular, according to the diverse graces each has received from Me, to be ministered unto by you ; you should therefore love them with the same pure love with which That pure love cannot be returned have loved you. I I have loved you without because directly to Me, being and without any consideration of Myself Myself loved,
loved you without being loved by you before you existed ; it was, indeed, love that moved Me to create you to My own image and similitude. This love you

whatsoever, for

I

cannot repay to Me, but you can pay it to My rational creature, loving your neighbour without being loved by him and without consideration of your own advantage,

whether spiritual or temporal, but loving him solely for the praise and glory of My Name, because he has been loved by Me.
"Thus

will

you

fulfil

the

commandment

of the law,

to love
selves.

Me

above everything, and your neighbour as your
is it that this

height cannot be reached with out passing through the second stage, namely the second stage of union which becomes the third (and final) stage.
"True

indeed

be preserved when it has been reached if the soul abandon the affection from which it has been developed, It the affection to which the second class of tears belongs.

Nor can

it

is

therefore impossible to

fulfil

the law given by Me, the

Eternal God, without fulfilling that of your neighbour, for these two laws are the feet of your affection by which the
precepts and counsels are observed, which were given you, These as I have told thee, by Truth, Christ crucified.

My

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
two
to

185

states united nourish your soul in virtue, making her grow in the perfection of virtue and in the unitive state. Not that the other state is changed because this further

state has been reached, for this further state does but increase the riches of grace in new and various gifts and admirable elevations of the mind, in the knowledge of the truth, as I

said to thee, which, though it is mortal, appears immortal because the soul s perception of her own sensuality is mortified and her will is dead through the union which she

has attained with Me.
"

Oh, how sweet
it,

is

tasting

she sees

My secrets

the taste of this union to the soul, for, in Wherefore she often receives
!

the spirit of prophecy, knowing the things of the future. This is the effect of My Goodness, but the humble soul should

despise such things, not indeed in so far as they are given her by My love, but in so far as she desires them by reason of

her appetite for consolation, considering herself unworthy of peace and quiet of mind, in order to nourish virtue within her soul. In such a case let her not remain in the second I give stage, but return to the valley of self-knowledge.
her this
light,

My

grow
life

in virtue.

For the soul

grace permitting, so that she may ever is never so perfect in this

that she cannot attain to a higher perfection of love.

Son, your Captain, was the only One Who could increase in no perfection, because He was one thing with Me, and I with Him, wherefore His soul was blessed

My only-begotten

But do ye, His through union with the Divine nature. be ever to in pilgrim-members, ready grow greater perfection, not indeed to another stage, for as I have said, ye have now reached the last, but to that further grade of perfection in
the last
Grace."

stage,

which may please you by means of

My

i86

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
A repetition
who have

XC.

of the preceding chapter : and how the Devil flees those arrived at the fifth kind of tears, and how the assaults

of the Devil are the true
"THOU

means

of reaching this stage.

hast

now

seen the various states of tears and the

difference between them, according as it has pleased Truth to satisfy thy desire. With regard to the first tears

My

of those who are in the state of death, in the guilt, namely, of mortal sin, thou hast seen that their sorrow, proceeding in general from their heart, on account of the conception of the principle of the affection which causes tears, is corrupt and miserable sorrow, and indeed their every work is The second stage is that of those who are begin corrupt.

ning to learn their own evil through the penalty which This is a general beginning, generously follows their guilt. given by Me to the fragile, who ignorantly drown in the
river, loathing the doctrine of

My

Truth.

But there are

many who know

their evil without servile fear (fear, that is, of the penalty due to their guilt), who abandon sin with a

great self-hatred, which makes them deem themselves worthy of punishment, and who, in their simple goodness, devote

themselves to serving Me, their Creator, grieving over the It is true that he who offence which they have done Me.

abandons sin with very great self-hatred

is

more apt

for

perfection than the others (those actuated by servile fear), yet both classes may arrive thereat by exercise, though

the former will arrive
"

first.

One

of the latter class should take care not to remain in

servile fear,

and one of the former should beware of

tepidity,

that he does not

grow

his simple goodness. "The third and fourth stages are of those who, having arisen out of fear, have arrived at love and hope, tasting

cold within, through not exercising This is a common vocation.

Divine mercy, receiving many gifts and consolations from Me, on account of which the eye weeps in order toBut because this sorrow is. satisfy the feeling of the heart.

My

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

187

imperfect and mingled with the sorrow of spiritual self-love, as I have said, the soul must, by exercise in virtue, reach the fourth stage, where, having grown by her desires, she unites

and conforms herself to My will to such a point, that she can neither wish nor desire other than what I wish, in the matter of love to her neighbour, from which she extracts the grief of love in herself for the offences and losses This stage is united with the inflicted on her neighbour. fifth and ultimate perfection in which the soul unites herself to the Truth, and the fire of holy desire is increased, from which desire the Devil flees, for he can persecute the soul no more, neither by injuring her, for she has grown patient
in the love of her neighbour,

nor by spiritual or temporal

consolation, because through self-hatred and true humility she despises both. True indeed it is that the Devil, for his

never sleeps, thus reading a lesson to you negligent But all his ones, who sleep through the time of merit. he cannot because watching cannot hurt such as these,
part,

endure the heat of their love, nor the odour of the union which they have made with Me, the Sea Pacific ; while a So he avoids soul thus united to Me cannot be deceived. such a soul, as a fly the boiling kettle, from fear of the fire. The following however happens to the soul before she has reached perfection. The Devil, seeing that she seems tepid, enters into her with many and diverse temptations. But, the soul, being in the Sea of Knowledge, heat, and hatred of guilt, resists, binding the will, for fear it should consent, with Let every the bands of hatred of sin and love of virtue.

them

soul that experiences many temptations rejoice, for through lies the road to this glorious and sweet state. For I have

already told thee, that by knowledge and hatred of yourselves At no and knowledge of Me, ye could arrive at perfection.

time does the soul
will tell thee.
If

know

so well whether

I

am

in her or no,
?
I

as in the time of battle.

herself in battle, that she cannot liberate herself, or resist the perverse will, for she has nothing of her own with which to do so. (She

Thou askest, she know well, seeing

in

what way

can indeed resist the perverse
consenting to
it,

will,

in

the sense of not

but in no other sense.)

And

then she

188

THE DIALOGUE OF
own power, she
will,

ST.

CATHERINE

learns that she herself

her
her

is nothing, for were she anything in could cause this battle, which is against to cease. Thus she humbles herself with true

self-knowledge, and, with the light of the most Holy Faith, runs to Me, the Eternal God, through Whose Goodness she
is able to preserve a good and holy will that does not consent in the time of battle, or yield to the miseries with

which

it

is assailed.

yourselves with

the

You are then quite right to comfort doctrine of the sweet and amorous

Word, My only-begotten Son, in the time of your troubles and adversities and temptations from men or devils, for these increase your virtue and cause you to arrive at great
perfection."

CHAPTER
How those who
tears.

XCI.

desire the tears of the eyes
fire
;

have tears of

and cannot have them, and why God withdraws from them physical

how

HAVE spoken to thee of perfect and imperfect tears, and all of them issue from the heart. From this vessel comes every kind of tear, whatever be the cause of it, they
"

I

may
ence

therefore
lies

all

be called hearty

tears.

The

sole differ

between ordinate and disordinate love, between and imperfect love, as I have said to thee above. perfect I have yet to tell thee, in order to satisfy the request thou
didst

to Me, of those who long for the perfection of but Have they any tears, apparently cannot have it. other way of weeping besides the tears of the eyes ? Yes, they have the weeping of fire, namely, of true and holy

make

desire, by which they are consumed through the affection of love and long to melt their life away in weeping, out of self-hatred, and for the salvation of souls, and yet it seems that they cannot. These, I say, have the tears of
fire,

in

and
light

their neighbour.

which the Holy Spirit weeps before Me for them Thus, I say, does My Divine love
its

up with

flame the soul

who

offers

anxious desires

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
before Me, without
tears of
fire,

189
I

bodily tears.

These,
the

say, are

the

and

in this

way does

Holy

Spirit lament.

Not being able to do so with tears, He offers the will and If thou openest the weeping for love of Me. eye of thy intellect, thou wilt see that the Holy Spirit laments by means of every servant of Mine who sheds holy desires and humble, continual prayers before Me. This, it would seem, is what the glorious Apostle Paul meant when
desires of

he said that the Holy Spirit grieved before Me, the Father, with unutterable groanings for you. Wherefore see that the tears of fire have no less fruit than those of water, often indeed more, according to the measure of the love from which they proceed. A soul, then, who desires tears and cannot have them, should not be put to confusion of mind, or think that she is deprived She should desire tears with a will of anything by Me.
"

humbled, attuned to Mine, desiring them or not, according Sometimes I do not pleases My Divine Goodness. in order that she tears to shed the soul physically, permit in continual Me humbled before remain prayer, inas may much as to grant her request would not be of the use to For she would remain content with her that she thinks. had asked for, and so her affec she what received having tion would grow weak, together with the desire with which she had been accustomed to ask for it. So, for the sake of the growth, and not the turning back of souls, do I
as

reserve the right of not granting actual tears, but I some times grant them mentally and of the heart only, full of the In every state, therefore, and in fire of My Divine Love.

every time will My servants be pleasing to Me, if they never let the eye of their intellect lose sight of the object of My Eternal Truth in the light of faith, with the effect
I am the Physician and you the patients, and I each of you what is necessary for his salvation, and give This is the for the growth of perfection in his soul.

of love.

truth and the explanation of the states of tears, which I, most sweet the Eternal Truth, have given thee,

My

daughter.

Drown

thyself

then

in

the

Blood of Christ

crucified, the

humble and immaculate Lamb, marked with

190

THE DIALOGUE OF
growing continually

ST.
in

CATHERINE
virtue,
fire

the cross,

so of

that

thou
Divine

mayest be nourished internally with the
Love."

My

CHAPTER
How

XCII.

the four stages of the soul, to which belong the five aforesaid
:

states of tears, produce tears of infinite value and how God wishes to be served as the Infinite, and not as anything finite.
"

THESE
filled

five

states

are like five
tears

are
said

which give
to
infinite.

of they are disciplined in virtue, as I have thee. Thou askest how their value can be I do not say that in this life your tears can
all
life

with abundant
if

principal canals of infinite value,

which

become

infinite,

but

I call

them

infinite,

on account of the

of your soul from which they proceed. I have already told thee how tears come from the heart, and how the heart distributes them to the eye, having gathered
infinite desire

them in its own fiery desire. As, when green wood is on the fire, the moisture it contains groans on account of the heat, because the wood is green, so does the heart, made green again by the renovation of grace drawn into
which dries up the soul, so that fiery and tears are united. And inasmuch as desire is never ended, it is never satisfied in this life, but the more the soul loves the less she seems to herself to love. Thus is holy desire, which is founded in love, exercised, and with this desire the eye weeps. But when the soul is separated from the body and has reached Me, her End, she does not on that account abandon desire, so as to no longer yearn for Me or love her neighbour, for love has
itself among its self-love

desire

entered into her like a
other virtues.
as
I

woman

bearing the fruits of

all

It is

have

said
in

true that suffering is over and ended, to thee, for the soul that desires Me

possesses
that

Me

which she
is

hunger

very truth, without any fear of ever losing has so long desired ; but, in this way, kept up, because those who are hungry are

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
satisfied,

191

and as soon as they are

satisfied

hunger, again

;

in

this

way

their

satiety

is

without

disgust,

and their

hunger without suffering, for, in Me, no perfection is wanting. Thus is your desire infinite, otherwise it would be worth nothing, nor would any virtue of yours have any life For I, Who am if you served Me with anything finite. the Infinite God, wish to be served by you with infinite the only infinite thing you possess is the service, and In this sense I said affection and desire of your souls. that there were tears of infinite value, and this is true as regards their mode, of which I have spoken, namely, of When the infinite desire which is united to the tears. the soul leaves the body the tears remain behind, but the affection of love has drawn to itself the fruit of the tears, and consumed it, as happens in the case of the water The water has not really been taken in your furnace. out of the furnace, but the heat of the fire has consumed it and drawn it into itself. Thus the soul, having arrived at tasting the fire of My divine charity, and having passed from this life in a state of love towards Me and her
"

neighbour, having further possessed that unitive love which caused her tears to fall, does not cease to offer Me

her blessed desires, tearful indeed, though without pain or physical weeping, for physical tears have evaporated in the furnace, becoming tears of fire of the Holy Spirit. Thou seest then how tears are infinite, how, as regards the tears shed in this life only, no tongue can tell what I have now told thee different sorrows may cause them. between four of these states of tears." the difference

CHAPTER
Of the
4
fruit of

XCIII.

worldly

men

s tears.

IT remains for

Me

to tell thee of the fruit produced

by

tears shed with desire, and received into the soul. But ;first will I speak to thee of that first class of men whom I

192

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
;

mentioned at the beginning of this My discourse those, that is, who live miserably in the world, making a god of created things and of their own sensuality, from which comes damage to their body and soul. I said to thee that tear from this is the truth, the and every proceeded heart,
for the heart grieves in proportion to the love it feels. So men when their heart when feels that worldly weep is, pain,

they are deprived of something which they loved.

many and diverse are know how many ? There different loves. And inasmuch
"But

their complainings.

Dost

thou

are as

many

as there exist

as the root of self-love is

corrupt, everything that grows from it is corrupt also. Self-love is a tree on which grow nothing but fruits of

death, putrid flowers, stained leaves, branches bowed down, and struck by various winds. This is the tree of the soul.
for

For ye are all trees of love, and without love ye cannot The soul ye have been made by Me for love.

live,

who

lives virtuously, places the root of her tree in the valley of true humility ; but those who live thus miserably are

planted on the mountain of pride, whence it follows that since the root of the tree is badly planted, the tree can bear

Their fruits are their only of death. are all which poisoned by many and diverse kinds actions, of sin, and if they should produce some good fruit among their actions, even it will be spoilt by the foulness of its root, for no good actions done by a soul in mortal sin are Let of value for eternal life, for they are not done in grace. such a soul abandon on this account its however, not, good works, for every good deed is rewarded, and every evilA good action performed out of a state of deed punished. not sufficient to merit eternal life, as has been is grace but Justice, My My Divine Goodness, grants an in said, reward, imperfect as the action which obtains it. complete Often such a man is rewarded in temporal matters some times I give him more time in which to repent, as I have This also will I already said to thee in another place. sometimes do, I grant him the life of grace by means of My servants who are pleasing and acceptable to Me. I acted in this way with My glorious apostle Paul, whofruits of life but
;

no

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

193

abandoned his infidelity, and the persecutions he directed See against the Christians, at the prayer of St. Stephen. truly, therefore, that, in whatever state a man may be, he
should never stop doing good.
"

I

said to thee that the flowers of this tree
in

were putrid,

-f*

and so

flowers are the stinking thoughts of the heart, displeasing to Me, and full of hatred
truth they are.
Its

and unkindness towards their neighbour. a thief, he robs Me of honour, and takes

So
it

if

a

man be
This
is

himself.

flower stinks less than that of false judgment, which two kinds. The first with regard to Me, by which

of

judge
teries,

My
that

have been done have been done in falsehood ; that which I give them for life, to have been given them for death. They condemn and judge for they have everything according to their weak intellect blinded the eye of their intellect with sensual self-love, and hidden the pupil of the most holy Faith, which they will not allow to see or know the Truth. The second kind of false judgment is directed against a man s neighbour, from which often come many evils, because the wretched man wishes to set himself up as the judge of the affections and heart of other rational creatures, when he does not yet know himself. And, for an action which he may see, or for a word he may hear, he will judge the affection of the
;

secret judgments, gauging falsely all is, judging that which I did in love, to in hatred ; that which I did in truth to

men My mys

My servants always judge well, because they are founded on Me, the Supreme Good but such as these for are founded on evil. Such always judge badly, they critics as these cause hatreds, murders, unhappinesses of all
heart.
;

from the love of
"

kinds to their neighbours, and remove themselves far My servants virtue.

away

Truly these fruits follow the leaves, which are the words which issue from their mouth in insult to Me and the Blood of My only-begotten Son, and in hatred to their
neighbours.
evil of

And

and condemning

they think of nothing else but cursing My works, and blaspheming and saying

may

every rational creature, according as their judgment The unfortunate creatures do not suggest to them.

N

194

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

that the tongue is made only to give honour to Me, and to confess sins, and to be used in love of virtue, and for the salvation of the neighbour. These are the stained leaves of that most miserable fault, because the heart from which they proceeded was not clean, but all How much danger, spotted with duplicity and misery. apart from the spiritual privation of grace to the soul, of For ye have all heard and temporal loss may not occur seen how, through words alone, have come revolutions of states, and destructions of cities, and many homicides and

remember

!

other evils, a word having entered the heart of the listener, and having passed through a space not large enough for a
knife.

say that this tree has seven branches drooping to the on which grow the flowers and leaves in the way I These branches are the seven mortal sins have told you. which are full of many and diverse wickednesses, contained in the roots and trunk of self-love and of pride, which first made both branches and flowers of many thoughts, the leaves of words, and the fruits of wicked deeds. They stand
"

I

earth,

drooping to the earth because the branches of mortal can turn no other way than to the earth, the fragile Do not marvel, they ordinate substance of the world. turn no way but that in which they can be fed by
^arth
;

sin
dis-

can
the

for their

hunger

to satisfy them.

and the earth is unable They are insatiable and unbearable to
is insatiable,

themselves, and it is conformable to their state that they should always be unquiet, longing and desiring that thing which they have to satiety. This is the reason why such satiety cannot content them, because they (who are infinite
in their being) are always desiring something finite ; because their being will never end, though their life to grace ends

when they commit mortal
"

sin.

all creatures, and not beneath them, and he cannot be satisfied or content except in some Greater than himself there is thing greater than himself.

Man

is

placed above

Therefore I alone nothing but Myself, the Eternal God. can satisfy him, and, because he is deprived of this satisfac tion by his guilt, he remains in continual torment and pain.

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
Weeping
wind
follows pain, and when he begins to strikes the tree of self-love, which he has
all

195

weep the made the

principle of

his

being."

CHAPTER
How the

XCIV.
by four

aforesaid worldly weepers are struck different winds.

"THE

tree is struck either

by the wind of prosperity, or of

adversity, or of fear, or of conscience ; for these are the The wind of prosperity matures pride and four winds. If this and reviling of the neighbour. self-confidence great

wind be master, a man walks in great injustice and vanity of heart, in impurity of body and mind, and self-esteem, and many other things that proceed from these, which thy tongue Is this wind of prosperity corrupt in itself? could not tell. it is the chief root nor any other wind this neither No, of the tree which is corrupt, and whence everything in the tree is corrupted. I, Who send every gift, and give every am the Supreme Good, and this wind of its being, thing I send, is also good. which prosperity,
;

The man weeps because his heart is not satisfied, because he desires that which he cannot have, and, being unable to have it, grieves, and grieving weeps, for the eye satisfies the
"

heart.
"

After this comes a wind of servile fear, in which he

is

afraid of his very shadow, fearing to lose either his own life, or his children s, or other creatures ; or again, he fears

that he, or others, will lose their positions, honour, or This riches (fearing for these others through self-love).
servile fear does not allow

him

to possess the object of his

love in peace, because he does

not possess

it

ordinately
servile fear
sin,

and

in obedience to

My

Will, for

which reason,

He has become the miserable slave of pursues him. and may esteem himself as that for which he serves.
"

Meanwhile the wind of Fear has done striking him, and

196

THE DIALOGUE OF
and

ST.

CATHERINE
was

the wind of tribulation

adversity, of which he

afraid, reaches him, and deprives him of something either in general or in particular. In general, when the man is

deprived of

by the power of death, and so deprived of In everything. particular, when the wind takes away now one thing, now another either health, or children, or riches,
life

or position, or honour according as I, the gentle Physician, see to be necessary for your salvation. But, because your
fragility is

wholly corrupt without knowledge or

taste,

and

much

of patience, impatience, scandals, murmuring, and hatred, displeasure towards Me and My creatures grow
less, fruit

up in you. And that which I gave you for life ye have received unto death with the same measure of grief that I
had of love
in giving it. Wherefore the man is led on to the hurtful sorrow of impatience, which dries up the soul and kills her, depriving her of the life of grace, and also

up and consumes the body, and blinds the man spiritually and corporally, and deprives him of all pleasure and hope, so that he is deprived of the thing which he loved, in which he had placed his affection, his hope, and faith. Wherefore he weeps. Tears alone do not bring such but the disordinate love and grief of the heart troubles, whence the tear proceeds, for physical tears do not them selves give death and sorrow, but the root, from which they
dries
If proceed, namely, the disordinate self-love of the heart. the heart were ordinate and had the life of grace, the tears would also be ordinate, and would constrain Me, the Eternal

God, to do mercy to

the

soul.

For

the
it

tear

is
life

the

herald of the state of the heart, whether death.
"

be in

or

I

said that there

came one wind of conscience

;

and this

is

the doing of

My
Me

divine goodness,

when

souls have been

tried

by prosperity, to bring them through love, and by fear, so that, by My very importunity, their hearts might be
with virtue proved in tribulation, given

directed to love

them

that they might

know

the world.

others, prick of conscience, so ineffably do

To

whom

the fragility and weakness of this does not help, I give the
I

they

may

arise, and,

opening

their

love them, in order that mouths, vomit forth the

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
filth

197

of their sins by holy confession. But these, like obstinate fools justly reprobated by Me on account of their iniquity, refuse to receive My grace in any way, fly the

prick of

conscience, and continue to pass their time in miserable pleasures, incurring My wrath and that of their All this happens because the root is corrupt neighbour.

together with the whole tree, every part of it is in a state of death, and full of continual sufferings, weepings, and bitterness, as has been said. And, if they do not reform

while they have time and power to use their free-will, they pass from this finite sorrow, which is theirs in finite time, to infinite sorrow ; thus finite sorrow leads to infinite, for
the tears were shed with infinite hatred of virtue, namely, It is with the desire of the soul founded in infinite hate.
true that, had they wished, they might have abandoned it In spite through My grace in time, while they were free. of My having called hatred infinite it is only so as regards

the affection and

being of the soul in which it inheres, neither the hatred nor the love existing in the soul are, in themselves, infinite ; for, while you are in life, you can hate

But if life ends or love only according to your pleasure. in a state of love of virtue, the soul receives an infinite

good

hatred, the soul remains in infinite hatred, re eternal ceiving damnation, as I have told thee when I related to thee how some drowned themselves in the river. They
;

if in

therefore can no longer desire good, deprived of My mercy, and your brotherly love, which the saints taste together, that is, the love of you pilgrims travelling through this life, placed here by Me, in order to reach your End which is Myself, Eternal Life. Neither prayers nor alms nor any good work help the damned. They are members cut off from the body of My divine love, for, while they lived, they would
in the mystical

not be joined to the obedience of My holy commandments, body of the holy Church, and in her sweet whence obedience, you draw the Blood of the immaculate

Lamb My
fruit

only-begotten Son; for this do they receive the

of

teeth.

eternal damnation, with sorrow and gnashing of These are those martyrs of the Devil of whom I

spoke

to thee.

The

Devil gives them the fruit which he

ig8

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

See therefore that this kind of sorrow gives the fruit of suffering in this finite time, and ultimately gives, for infinite eternity, the companionship of the Devil."
has himself.

CHAPTER XCV.
Of the
"

fruit of

the second and third kinds of tears.
to

IT

now

falls to

Me

speak of the

fruit,

received by those,

who

are beginning to rise from guilt, through fear of punish Some there are who abandon ment, and to acquire grace.

This the death of mortal sin through fear of the penalty. is a very general vocation, as has been said. What fruit
This fruit, that he begins to does such a one receive ? his soul of house of the impurity, cleansing his free empty When he has purified his will with fear of punishment.
soul of her guilt, he receives peace of conscience, and begins to dispose the affection of his soul, and to open the eye of his intellect, to examine his house, in which formerly, before

was empty, he could see and discern nothing but the He begins to receive consolation, stench of various sins. for the worm of conscience remains in peace, waiting, as it
it

were, to feast on the food of virtue. cured his stomach, and purged it of

As
its

a

man who has

humours, directs

his appetite to food, so he waits until the hand of free-will prepares the table for him, with love of the food of virtue,

which preparation he expects to eat. And thus in in his soul the first and fear, truth, by exercising emptying his affection of all sins, he receives the second fruit, that is, the second state of tears, in which the soul, endued by the affection of love, begins to furnish the house of virtue, and
after

the soul, although still imperfect, (we will suppose she has just risen from fear), receives consolation and delight, because

her love has received pleasure from My Truth. And, through the delight and consolation which he finds in Me, he begins to love Me very sweetly, feeling the sweetness of My con
solation,

and that of creatures through Me.

Thus, exercising

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
love,

199

has entered into him in the house of his soul, as soon as fear has purified it, he begins to receive the fruits of My Divine Goodness. Wherefore, after love has entered the house of his soul to
"

who

possess it, he begins to taste many, various and divers fruits of consolation. And, persevering, he at last receives the fruit of laying the table, when his soul has passed from fear to the love of virtue, having arrived at the third kind of
lays the table of the holy Cross in his heart and in his soul ; this is the table that he lays, because
tears.

So he

thereon he finds the fruit of the sweet and amorous

Word

declaring the honour of Me, His Father and your salvation, for which was opened My only-begotten Son s Body, giving Himself to you in food then he begins to eat in honour of Me, and for the salvation of souls, with hatred and dis What fruit does the soul receive from this pleasure of sin.
:

third state of tears ?

I tell

thee.

She

receives a certain

strength founded on a holy hatred of her own sensuality, with a pleasant fruit of true humility and patience, which bears every scandal, and saves the soul from all suffering,
cutting out self-will, from which arises all suffering, with is scan the knife of hate. (It is only the sensual will that
dalised at persecutions, or at the loss of spiritual or temporal consolations, as I have before told thee, and thus comes to

The will being dead, the soul begins to taste, impatience.) with tearful and sweet desire, the fruit of the tears of sweet
patience.

Oh, him who
taste
"

"

fruit

of great sweetness,

tastes thee in bitterness,

how sweet art thou to though he please Me and
for, if

My

sweetness

!

In time of injury thou receivest peace,

thou art on

the stormy sea, and perilous winds buffet, with great waves, the bark of the soul, thou remainest peaceful and tranquil,
will of
evil, covering the boat with the sweet eternal God, whence thou hast received thy robe of true This and burning charity, into which water cannot enter. Patience is indeed, My dearest daughter, a very queen She conquers, and is standing on the rock of fortitude. never conquered ; she does not stand alone, but is accom-

without any

200

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

She is the marrow of Charity, panied by Perseverance. she it is who shews whether the garment of Charity be the
nuptial garment or not ; for if it be torn by imperfection, at once the contrary effect of impatience is proved. All virtues can at one time or other hide, appearing
"

to be perfect

when they are imperfect, but to thee, oh Patience, they cannot be hid. For, if this sweet Patience, the marrow of Charity, be in the soul, she proves that all the virtues are living and perfect, and, if she be not there, she shows that all the virtues are imperfect and have not
yet attained to the table of the holy Cross, where Patience is conceived in self-knowledge and in knowledge of My goodness to the soul, and brought forth by means of holy
is

hatred and anointed with true humility. To this Patience not denied the food of My honour, and the salvation of
souls,

indeed, she eats of it continually, and this is the truth. Gaze, dearest daughter, on the sweet and glorious

martyrs who, by their endurance, ate the food of souls. Their death gave life, they raised the dead, and dissipated the darkness of mortal sin. The world, with all its grandeurs, and kings, with all their power, could not defend themselves as they did by virtue of the queen, sweet Patience. This virtue stands like a lantern on a pole. This is the glorious fruit given by tears, when a man has arrived at love of his neighbour, eating the slain and immaculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son, with painful and anxious desire, and with intolerable pain at the offence done to Me, his Creator, not an afflictive pain, because love slays with true patience all fear and self-love which can give pain, but a consolatory suffering, for My offence alone, and the loss of the neighbour, founded in charity, which sorrow fattens the soul, rejoicing in herself, for she has in her sorrow a demonstrative proof that I am present in her by grace."

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

201

CHAPTER
Of the
11

XCVI.

fruit of

the fourth and unitive tears.

1

HAVE spoken
;

to thee of the fruit of the third

kind

of

tears

now

follows the fourth and last state of

unitive

tears, which is not separated from the third but united to it, as has been said, in the same way as love for Me is united with love of the neighbour ; the one love flavours the other.

So

state, that

greatly has the soul developed in reaching the fourth she not only bears with patience, but even desires,

with joy, to suffer to such an extent that she despises every recreation from whatever quarter it come, in order that she may be conformed to My Truth, Christ crucified. She receives the fruit of quietness of mind, a union with My sweet Divine Nature, where she tastes the milk, as
"

when

the child,

who

sleeps

at

peace on the breast of

its

the breast of

at this last state, reposes on Divine My Charity, keeping in the mouth of desire the flesh of Christ holy crucified, that is, by follow
;

mother, draws mother so the

to itself milk
soul, arrived

by means of the

flesh of its

ing His Footsteps and doctrine ; for the soul learnt well, when she was in the third state, that it was not right for

her to come directly to Me, the Father, because no penalty could be borne by Me, the Eternal Father but it is other wise with My beloved Son, the sweet and amorous Word, and therefore it is that you cannot walk without pain, and,
;

with

much endurance,

will

you

attain to proved virtue.

So

the soul reposes at the breast of Christ crucified, is the Truth, and thus draws to herself the milk of virtue, in

Who

which she finds the life of grace, tasting in herself My Divine Nature, which gives sweetness to virtue, for truly the virtues are not in themselves sweet unless they are performed in and united to Me the Divine Love, so that the soul may have no regard to her own profit, but only act for My honour and the salvation of souls. Now look, sweet daughter, how sweet and glorious is this state, in which the soul has made so close a union with
"

202

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

the breast of Charity, that the mouth is not found without the breast, neither the breast without the milk. And so
this

soul does not find herself without Christ crucified or the Eternal

without Me,
the

Father,
Deity.
!

Supreme and Eternal

Whom she finds, tasting Oh, who can see how the

powers of that soul are
"

filled

with continual remembrance of Me, which remembrance she draws to herself through love of
filled

The memory is

My

benefits, as the affection

them
which

to

her.

And

particularly

of charity with which I gave the benefit of creation,

seeing herself created in My image and similitude, through benefit, spoken of in the first state, she feels suffering

Wherefore for the ingratitude with which she received it. she has arisen from her misery through the benefit of the
Blood of Christ, with which
"

I

re-created her to grace,

wash

ing the face of your souls from the leprosy of sin. In the second state the soul found sweetness, tasting the

sweetness of love, and the displeasure caused her by guilt, as regards which, she sees that so displeasing to Me was her guilt, that I punished it in the person of My onlybegotten Son. Later she discovers the advent of the Holy Spirit,
"

Who
does

convinced, and still convinces, the soul of truth. When she has the soul receive this light ?
benefits in
her,
in

When

known

My

both the

first

and the second

states.

She then

receives a perfect light,

the Eternal Father, that is, that in order to give her eternal life.
"

knowing the truth of Me, by love have I created her,

For this indeed is the truth, and I have shewn it forth When the soul in the Blood of Christ crucified. has known this love, she loves it, and loving it she proves her love, sincerely loving what I love, and hating what I Thus she finds herself in the third state of love to hate. her neighbour.
to

you

At this breast of love the memory fills itself, forsaking all imperfections, for it recalls, and keeps in itself, My benefits. The intellect has received light, and, looking into the memory,
"

recognises the truth, and, having lost the blindness of selflove, remains in its true object the Sun of Christ crucified

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
where
it

203

learns to

know God and man.

Besides this

know

ledge of union, there rises on the soul a light not acquired by nature, nor obtained through her own virtue, but given
her, as a grace, by My sweet Truth, who does not despise the anxious desires and fatigue that she has offered before Then the affection, following the intellect, unites itself Me.

And if any one most perfect and ardent love. She is this soul is ? I would reply, union of so the love. What become another Myself, by this of last unitive tell the excellence state, and tongue can that are received from fruits the divine and varied it, the This filled! is that sweet three powers of the soul being gather ing together which I mentioned to thee, in three general steps, in a previous discourse on the words of My Truth.
with

Me

in a

should ask

Me who

The tongue is not sufficient to relate^it, but well did the holy doctors, illuminated with this glorious light, prove its nature, for with it they explained the mysteries of holy Hence that saying of the glorious Thomas of Scripture.
"

Aquin, that his learning had come to him rather by means
of prayer, elevation of mind, and a Divine Light infused He was a light into his intellect, than by human study.
placed in the mystic body of the Holy Church shadows of error. Turn to the glorious John the Evangelist what light did he not acquire on the And with this light precious Breast of Christ, My Truth
I

whom

to disperse the

!

And all the he preached My Gospel for so long a time. saints have manifested it, some in one way and some in but the intrinsic feeling, the ineffable sweetness another of this perfect union cannot be told by thy tongue which is It would seem that Paul meant this but a finite thing. when he said Eye hath not seen what He hath laid up for them that love Him. Oh, how sweet above all sweetness is that dwelling which the soul has made by perfect union with Me She sheds odours over the whole world, the fruits of continual and humble prayers, the odour of her desire cries out for the salvation of souls, with no human These are the fruits of voice, before My Divine Majesty.
;
:
1

!

union, eaten

acquired

by the soul in this life in the last by many fatigues, tears, and sweatings.

state,

And

204

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

thus the soul passes, by true perseverance, from the life of grace and from this union, which, though perfect as far as
call
I grace goes, is yet imperfect, to a durable eternal union. this union imperfect, because, while the soul is bound

the body in this life, she cannot satiate herself with what she desires, and also because she is bound by the law of sin, of her passions, though these have been put to But the passions are not dead, for sleep by her virtue. will wake if the instrument of virtue, which makes they up them sleep, be removed for this reason the union is said to be imperfect, but it leads on the soul to receive durable perfection, which can never for any reason be taken away from the soul, because it consists, as I have told thee (in
in
;

speaking of the Blessed), in tasting
Eternal Life, the come to an end.

Me

in very truth, the

Supreme and Eternal Good, Who never These have received eternal life, in con tradistinction to those others who have received the fruit of their sorrow, eternal death. They have come from
grief to joy,

receiving eternal

life

with the

fruit

of their
fire

tears, shouting with burning love, and offering tears of

have completed the relation and of the perfection and fruit which the soul receives from them, and how the perfect receive, on account of them, eternal life, and the
before

for you. And now I of the different states of tears,

Me

wicked, eternal

damnation."

CHAPTER

XCVII.

Y
How
THEN
this devout soul, thanking God for His explanation of the above-mentioned states of tears, makes three petitions.

the greatness of her desire, through the sweetness of the explanation and satisfaction which she had received from the Truth, concerning the state of tears, said as one enamoured Thanks, thanks
this
"

soul, eager with

be to Thee, Supreme and Eternal Father, Satisfier of holy desires, and Lover of our salvation, Who, through Thy

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

205

Love, didst give us Love Himself, in the time of our warfare with Thee, in the person of Th} only-begotten Son. By this abyss of Thy fiery Love, I beg of Thee
grace and mercy that I may come to Thee truly in the light, and not flee far in darkness away from Thy
doctrine, of

which Thou hast clearly demonstrated

to

me

the truth, so that, by the light thereof, I perceive two other p6ints, concerning which I fear that they are, or may

become, stumbling-blocks to me.
that, before
I

Thou is when
should
that
I

I beg, Eternal Father, leave the subject of these states of tears, wouldst explain these points also to me. The first

a person desirous of serving Thee, comes to me, or to some other servant of Thine to ask for counsel, how
teach him ?
I

know, Sweet and

Eternal God,
c

Thou

didst reply above to this question

I

am He
Never

Who
And

takes delight in few words and
it

many

deeds.

theless, if

please

Thy Goodness

to grant

me

a few more

words on the subject, it will cause me the greatest pleasure. also, if on some occasion, when I am praying for Thy creatures, and in particular for Thy servants, and I seem to see the subjects of my prayer, in one I find (in
the course of

my

prayer) a well-disposed
it

mind, a soul

rejoicing in Thee ; and in another, as to me, a mind full of darkness ; have

might
the

seem

I

right,

O

Eternal Father, to judge the one soul to be in light, and the other in darkness ? Or, supposing I should see that the

one lives in great penance, and the other does not, should I be right to judge that he who does the greater penance has the higher perfection ? I pray Thee, so that I may not be deceived through my limited vision, that Thou wouldst
declare
to

me

in

detail,

what Thou

hast

already said

in general on this matter. The second request I have to make is, that Thou wilt explain further to me about the sign which Thou didst say the soul received on being
visited
If I

by Thee the sign which revealed Thy Presence. remember well, oh, Eternal Truth, Thou didst say that the soul remained in joy and courageous virtue. I would fain

know whether
the passion

this joy can consist with the delusion of of spiritual self-love ; for if it were so, I

206

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

These would humbly confine myself to the sign of virtue. are the things which I beg Thee to tell me, so that I may serve Thee and my neighbour in truth, and not fall into For false judgment concerning thy creatures and servants.
it seems to me that the habit of judging keeps the soul from Thee, so I do not wish to fall into this snare."

far

CHAPTER
How
serve
;

XCVIII.

the light of reason is necessary to every soul that wishes to God in truth and first of the light of reason in general.

the Eternal God, delighting in the thirst and hunger of that soul, and in the purity of her heart, and the desire with which she longed to serve Him, turned the eye of His
"Oh, best-beloved, benignity and mercy upon her, saying rise out of dearest and sweetest daughter, my spouse thyself, and open the eye of thy intellect to see Me, the
!

THEN

Infinite Goodness, and the ineffable love which I have And open the ear of towards thee and My other servants. the desire which thou feelest towards Me, and remember, that if thou dost not see, thou canst not hear, that is to say, that the soul that does not see into My Truth with the eye of her intellect, cannot hear or know My Truth, where fore in order that thou mayest the better know it, rise above

the feelings of thy senses. "And I, take delight in thy request, will satisfy thy Not that thou canst increase My delight, for I am demand.

Who

the cause of thee and of thy increase not those of Mine. Yet the very pleasure that I take in the work of My own hands causes Me delight." Then that soul obeyed and rose out of herself, in order
;

to learn the true solution of her difficulty. And the Eternal In order that thou mayest the better God said to her,
"

I shall say to thee, I shall revert to the beginning of thy request concerning the three lights which issue from Me, the True Light. The first is a general

understand what

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

207

light dwelling in those who live in ordinary charity. (I shall repeat to thee here many things concerning these
lights,

which having done

I

have
in

so,

already told thee, in spite of My order that thy creeping intelligence

may The

better understand that which

thou wishest to know.)

other two lights dwell in those who, having abandoned Besides this I will explain to the world, desire perfection.
thee thy request, telling thee in great detail that which I have already pointed out to thee in general. Thou knowest, as I have told thee, that, without the light, no one can walk
in the truth, that
is,

without the light of reason, which light

of reason you draw from Me the True Light, by means of the eye of thy intellect and the light of faith which I have given

you

may have lost it by your and own through the mediation of the Blood of My only-begotten Son, you have received the form of faith ; which faith you exercise in virtue by the light of reason, which gives you life and causes you to walk
in

holy baptism, though you
For, in baptism,

defects.

in

the path of truth, and,

by

its

the

True Light,
It is

for,

without

means, to arrive at Me, it, you would plunge into

darkness.

necessary for you to have two lights derived from this primary light, and to these two I will also add a third.
"

The

first lightens you all to know the transitory nature of the things of the world, all of which pass like the wind. But this you cannot know thoroughly, unless you first

recognise your own fragility, how strong is your inclination, through the law of perversity with which your members are

bound, to rebel against Me, your Creator (not that by this law any man can be constrained to commit any, even the
smallest sin, against his will, but that this law of perversity
I did not impose this law fights lustily against the Spirit). rational creature should be upon you, in order that

My

conquered by

but in order that he should prove and increase the virtue of his soul, because virtue cannot be
it,

proved, except by its contrary. Sensuality is contrary to the spirit, and yet, by means of sensuality, the soul is able to prove the love which she has for Me, her Creator. How

does she prove

it

?

When, with anger and

displeasure, she

208

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
in

rises against herself. order to preserve the

This law has also been imposed

thou seest

that,

while

I

soul in true humility. Wherefore created the soul to Mine own image

such dignity and beauty, I by the vilest of all things, imposing on her the law of perversity, imprisoning her in a body, formed of the vilest substance of the earth, so that, seeing in what her true beauty consisted, she should not
similitude, placing her in caused her to be accompanied

and

raise her

head in pride against Me. Wherefore, to one who possesses this light, the fragility of his body is a cause of humiliation to the soul, and is in no way matter for pride,

So that this but rather for true and perfect humility. does not constrain you to any sin by its strivings, supplies a reason to make you know yourselves and This should be seen by the instability of the world.

law
but
the

eye of the intellect, with light of the holy faith, of which I said to thee that it was the pupil of the eye. This is that light which is necessary in general to every rational creature, whatever may be his condition, who wishes to participate in the life of grace, in the fruit of the Blood of the immacu This is the ordinary light, that is, the light late Lamb. which all persons must possess, as has been said, for, without it, the soul would be in a state of damnation. And, for this reason, because the soul, being without the light, is not in a state of grace, inasmuch as, not having the light, she does not know the evil of her sin or its cause, and therefore cannot avoid or hate it.
"

And

of good, that

similarly if the soul know not good, and the reason is to say virtue, she cannot love or desire either

Me, Who am the Essential Good, or virtue, which I have given you as an instrument and means for you to receive My See then how necessary grace, and Myself the True Good.
your sins consist in nothing else than in I hate, and in hating that which I love. he who loves vice and hates I love virtue and hate vice virtue offends Me, and is deprived of My grace. Such a one walks as if blind, for he knows not the cause of vice, that is, his sensual self-love, nor does he hate himself on account of it ; he is ignorant of vice and of the evil which
is this light, for

loving that which

;

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
:

209

follows it he is ignorant of virtue and of Me, Who am the cause of his obtaining life-giving virtue; he is ignorant of his own dignity, which he should maintain by advancing to
grace,
is

by means of
all

virtue.

See, therefore,

how

his ignorance

the cause of

his evil,
said."

and how thou also needest this

light, as

has been

CHAPTER

XCIX.

Of those who have placed their desire rather in the mortification of the body than in the destruction of their own will and of the second light, more perfect than the former general one.
;
"

WHEN

the

soul has arrived

at

the attainment of

the

general light, of which I have spoken, she should not remain contented, because, as long as you are pilgrims in this life, you are capable of growth, and he who does not go forward,

by
in

that very fact, is turning back. She should either grow the general light, which she has acquired through My Grace, or anxiously strive to attain to the second and

perfect light, leaving the imperfect and reaching the perfect. For, if the soul truly have light, she will wish to arrive at
perfection.

In this second perfect light are to be found two kinds of perfection for they may be called perfect who have abandoned the general way of living of the world.
;

One perfection is that of those who give themselves up wholly to the castigation of the body, doing great and severe penance. These, in order that their sensuality may
not
rebel against their reason, rather in the mortification of the

have placed their desire

body than

in the destruc

tion of their self-will, as I have explained to thee in another These feed their souls at the table of penance, and place.

are good and perfect,
discretion, with true

if their penance be illuminated by and founded on Me, if, that is to say, they act knowledge of themselves and of Me, with great humility, and wholly conformed to the judgment of My Will, and not to that of the will of man. But, if they were not thus clothed with My Will, in true humility, they would

210

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

often offend against their own perfection, esteeming them selves the judges of those who do not walk in the same

Knowest thou why this would happen to them ? Because they have placed all their labour and desire in the mortification of the body, rather than in the destruction of their own will. Such as these wish always to choose their own times, and places, and consolations, after their own fashion, and also the persecutions of the world and of the Devil, as I have narrated to thee in speaking of the second
path.
state of perfection.
"

They say,

cheating themselves with the delusion of their

own
will,

self-will, which I have already called their spiritual selfI wish to have that consolation, and not these

battles, or these temptations of the Devil, not, indeed, for

my

own

pleasure, but in order to please God the more, and in order to retain Him the more in my soul through grace ;

because
is

it

seems

to

me

that

I

and serve
the

Him

better in that

should possess way than in this.
into trouble,

Him more, And this

way

the soul often

falls

and becomes

tedious and insupportable to herself; thus injuring her own perfection ; yet she does not perceive it, nor that, within her, lurks the stench of pride, and there she lies. Now, if the
soul were not in this condition, but were truly humble and not presumptuous, she would be illuminated to see that I,

the Primary and Sweet Truth, grant condition, and time, and place, and consolations, and tribulations as they may be

needed for your salvation, and which I have elected the soul.

to complete the perfection to And she would see that I

give everything through love, and that therefore, with love and reverence, should she receive everything, which is what

the souls in the second state do, and, by doing so, arrive at the third state. Of whom I will now speak to thee,
explaining to thee the nature of these two states which stand in the most perfect light."

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

211

CHAPTER
Of the

C.

third and most perfect state, and of reason, and of the works done by the soul who has arrived at this light. And of a beautiful vision which this devout soul once received, in which the method of arriving at perfect purity is fully treated, and the

means
"

to avoid judging our neighbour

is

spoken

of.

THOSE who belong

to the third

state,

which immediately

follows the last, having arrived at this glorious light, are perfect in every condition in which they may be, and receive

every event which I permit to happen to them with due reverence, as I have mentioned to thee when speaking of the third and unitive state of the soul. These deem them
selves worthy of the troubles and stumbling-blocks caused them by the world, and of the privation of their own con

and indeed of whatever circumstance happens to as they deem themselves worthy of trouble, so also do they deem themselves unworthy of the fruit which they receive after their trouble. They have known and tasted in the light My Eternal Will, which wishes naught else but your good, and gives and permits these troubles in order that you should be sanctified in Me. Wherefore the soul having known My Will, clothes herself with it, and fixes her attention on nothing else except seeing in what way she can preserve and increase her per fection to the glory and praise of My Name, opening the eye of her intellect and fixing it in the light of faith upon Christ crucified, My only-begotten Son, loving and follow ing His doctrine, which is the rule of the road for perfect and imperfect alike. And see, how My Truth, the Lamb, Who became enamoured of her when He saw her, gives the soul the doctrine of perfection. She knows what this perfection is, having seen it practised by the sweet and amorous Word, My only-begotten Son, Who was fed at the
solation,

them.

And inasmuch

table of holy desire, seeking the

Father, and your salvation.

honour of Me, the Eternal And, inflamed with this desire,

He

ran, with great eagerness, to the shameful death of the

212

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

on

Cross, and accomplished the obedience which was imposed Him by Me, His Father, not shunning labours or insults

or withdrawing on account of your ingratitude or ignor ance of so great a benefit, or because of the persecutions
of the Jews, or on account of the insults, derision, grum But all this He passed bling, and shouting of the people. like the true and through Knight that He was, Captain

Whom

I had placed on the battle-field to deliver you from the hands of the Devil, so that you might be free, and drawn out of the most terrible slavery in which you could

ever be, and also to teach you His road, His doctrine, and His rule, so that you might open the Door of Me, Eternal
fire

with the key of His precious Blood, shed with such of love, with such hatred of your sins. It was as if the sweet and amorous Word, My Son, should have said to
Life,

Behold, I have made the road, and opened thd Do not you then be negligent to door with My Blood.

you:

laying yourselves down to rest in self-love and ignorance of the road, presuming to choose to serve Me in
follow,

your own way, instead of in the way which I have made straight for you by means of My Truth, the Incarnate Word, and built up with His Blood. Rise up then, promptly, and follow Him, for no one can reach Me, the Father, if not by Him He is the Way and the Door by which you must enter into Me, the Sea Pacific. When therefore the soul has arrived at seeing, knowing, and tasting, in its full sweetness, this light, she runs, as one enamoured and inflamed with love, to the table of holy
;
"

desire

;

she does not see herself in herself, seeking her

consolation either spiritual or temporal, but, like one

own who

has placed his all in this light and knowledge, and has destroyed his own will, she shuns no labour from whatever source it comes, but rather enduring the troubles, the insults, the temptations of the Devil, and the murmurings of men, eats at the table of the most holy Cross, the food of the honour of Me, the Eternal God, and of the salvation of souls ; seeking no reward, either from Me or from creatures, because she is stripped of mercenary love, that is of love for Me based on interested motives, and is clothed

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

213

in perfect purity, with no other in perfect light, loving and the for than Name, serving glory of praise regard

Me

My

her neighbour for her own profit, but purely through love alone. Such as these have lost themselves, and have stripped themselves of the
neither
for her

Me

own

delight, nor

Old Man,

that is of their

own

sensuality, and, having clothed

themselves with the

the sweet Christ Jesus, My These are they who sit at Truth, follow Him manfully. the table of holy desire, having been more anxious to slay
their

New Man,

own will than to slay and mortify their own body. indeed mortified their body, though not as an have They end in itself, but as a means which helps them to stay their own
that
will,
I

as

I

said to thee

when

explaining that sentence

wished few words and many deeds, and so ought Their principal desire should be to slay their to do. you own will, so that it may not seek or wish anything else than to follow My sweet Truth, Christ crucified, seeking the honour and glory of My Name and the salvation of souls. Those who are in this sweet light know it, and remain constantly in peace and quiet, and no one scandalises them, for they have cut away that thing by which stumbling-

And all the blocks are caused, namely their own will. can attack Devil and the which the world with persecutions,
them, slide under their feet, standing, as they do, in the waters of many tribulations and temptations, and do not
hurt them, for they remain attached to Me by the umbilical Such a man rejoices in everything, cord of fiery desire. nor does he make himself judge of My servants, or of any
rational creature,

but rejoices in every condition and in
:

every manner of holiness which he

Thanks sees, saying be to Thee, Eternal Father, Who hast in Thy House many And he rejoices more in the different ways of mansions. holiness which he sees, than if he were to see all travelling by one road, because, in this way, he perceives the greatness

of

My Goodness become more manifest, and thus, rejoicing draws from all the fragrance of the rose. And not only in the case of good, but even when he sees something
evidently sinful, he does not
into

true

and

into judgment, but rather holy compassion, interceding with Me for
fall

214

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
:

sinners and saying, with perfect humility To-day it is thy turn, and to-morrow it will be mine unless the Divine

Grace preserve me.
dearest daughter, of this sweet and excellent state, and gaze at those who run in this glorious light and holiness, for they have holy minds, and eat at
"

Enamour

thyself,

the table of holy desire, and, with the light, have arrived at feeding on the food of souls, that is, the honour of Me, the Eternal Father, being clothed with burning love in the

My Lamb, My only-begotten Son, namely These do not lose their time in passing false judgments, either on My servants or the servants of the world, and they are never scandalised by any murmurings That of men, either for their own sake or that of others. is to say, in their own case they are content to endure any thing for My Name s sake and when an injury is done to some one else, they endure it with compassion of this injured neighbour, and without murmuring against him who caused the injury, or him who received it, because their love is not disordinate, but has been ordered in Me, the Eternal God.
sweet garment of

His

doctrine.

;

And, since their love is so ordered, these souls, my dearest daughter, never take offence from those they love, nor from any rational creature, their will being dead and not alive,,
"

wherefore they never assume the right to judge the will of These observe the men, but only the will of My Clemency. doctrine which, as thou knowest, was given thee by My

Truth at the beginning of thy life, when thou wast thinking in what way thou couldst arrive at perfect purity, and wast

Thou praying to Me with a great desire of doing so. knowest what was replied to thee, while thou wast asleep,, concerning this holy desire, and that the words resounded
So much so, not only in thy mind, but also in thine ear. rememberest truly, thou didst return to thy waking body, when My Truth said, Wilt thou arrive at
that, if thou
i

perfect purity, and be freed from stumbling-blocks, so that

thy mind

may

not be scandalised by anything ?

Unite

thyself always to Me by the affection of love, for I am the Supreme and Eternal Purity. I am that Fire Which purifies the soul, and the closer the soul is to Me, the purer she

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
becomes, and the- further she
is
is

215

from Me, the more does her why men of the world fall into such iniquities, for they are separated from Me, while the soul, who, without any medium, unites herself Another thing directly to Me, participates in My Purity. is necessary for thee to arrive at this union and purity, namely, that thou shouldest never judge the will of man in anything that thou mayest see done or said by any creature
purity leave her; which

the reason

whatsoever, either to thyself or to others. My will alone shouldst thou consider, both in them and in thyself.

And,

if

thou shouldest see evident sins or defects, draw out

of those thorns the rose, that is to say, offer them to Me, with In the case of injuries done to thyself, holy compassion.

judge that My thyself, and in

will

My

permits this in order to prove virtue in other servants, esteeming that he who

acts thus does so as the instrument of

will ; perceiving, that such sinners moreover, apparent may frequently have a for no one can the secrets of the heart good intention, judge

My

of man.

That which thou dost not see thou shouldst not
mind, even though
in
it may externally be open others but My will, not in

judge
mortal

in thy

sin, seeing nothing order to judge, but, as has been said, with holy compassion. In this way thou wilt arrive at perfect purity, because

acting thus, thy mind will not be scandalised, either in Me or in thy neighbour. Otherwise thou fallest into contempt of thy neighbour, if thou judgest his evil will towards thee,

My will acting in him. Such contempt and scandal separates the soul from Me, and prevents perfection, and, in some cases, deprives a man of grace, more or less according to the gravity of his contempt, and the hatred
instead of

which his judgment has conceived against his neighbour. A different reward is received by the soul who perceives only My will, which, as has been said, wishes nothing else but your good so that everything which I give or permit to happen to you, I give so that you may arrive at the end for which I created you. And because the soul remains in the love of her always neighbour, she remains always in and thus remains united to Me. Mine, Wherefore, in order to arrive at purity, thou must entreat Me to do three things ;
"

;

216

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

to grant thee to be united to me by the affection of love, retaining in thy memory the benefits thou hast received

from

Me
in

affection of

and
this,
"

and with the eye of thy intellect to see the My love, with which I love you inestimably the will of others to discern My will only, and not
;

;

their evil will, for

I

am

their Judge, not thou, and, in
all

doing

thou wilt arrive at

This was by My Truth, if thou rememberest well. Now I tell thee, dearest daughter, that such as these, who have learnt this doctrine taste the earnest,
of eternal
life

perfection. the doctrine given to thee

in this life

;

and,
fall

if

thou hast well retained

this doctrine,

into the snares of the Devil, because thou wilt recognise them in the case about which

thou wilt not

thou hast asked Me.
"

But, nevertheless, in order to satisfy thy desire

clearly, I will tell thee

more and shew thee how men should never
compassion."

disce r n

by judgment, but with holy

CHAPTER
In what

CI.

way they, who stand in the above-mentioned third most perfect light, receive the earnest of eternal life in this life.
did
I

eternal

say to thee that they received the earnest of I say that they receive the earnest-money, but not the full payment, because they wait to receive it in Me, the Eternal Life, where they have life without death,
"

WHY

life ?

and satiety without disgust, and hunger without pain, for from that divine hunger pain is far away, and though they have what they desire, disgust is far from satiety, for I am It is true that, in this life, they the flawless Food of Life. receive the earnest, and taste it in this way, namely that the soul begins to hunger for the honour of the Eternal God, and for the food of the salvation of other souls, and
being hungry, she eats, that is to say, nourishes herself with love of her neighbour, which causes her hunger and desire, for the love of the neighbour is a food which never

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
satiates

217

him who feeds on
remains

it,

the eater being insatiable and

So this earnest-money is a hungry. a commencement of guarantee which is given to man, in virtue of which he expects one day to receive his payment, not through the perfection of the earnest-money in itself,
always
but through faith, through the certitude which he has of reaching the completion of his being and receiving his Wherefore this enamoured soul, clothed in My payment.

Truth, having already received in this life the earnest of My love, and of her neighbour s, is not yet perfect, but
I say that this earnest expects perfection in immortal life. not perfect, because the soul who tastes it has not, as yet, the perfection which would prevent her feeling pain in

is

In herself, through the offence done herself, or in others. to Me by the law of perversity which is bound in her

members and

struggles against the spirit, and in others by the offence of her neighbour. She has indeed, in a sense, a perfect grace, but not that perfection of My saints, who

have arrived
their

at

Me, Eternal
I

Life,

for,

desires

are without

suffering,

as has been and yours are

said,

not.

These servants of Mine, as
place,

have said

to thee in another

who

are blessed and

nourish themselves at this table of holy desire, full of grief, even as My only-begotten

Son was, on the wood of the holy Cross, because, while His flesh was in grief and torment, His soul was blessed In like manner through its union with the divine nature.
these are blessed by the union of their holy desire towards Me, clothed, as has been said, in My sweet Will, and they are full of grief through compassion for their neighbour,

and because they afflict their own sensual delights and consolations."

self-love, depriving

it

of

218

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How
"

CII.
falling into

one should reprove one s neighbour, without false judgment.

Now listen, dearest daughter. In order that thou mightest understand better that which thou desiredst to know, I have spoken to thee of the general light, which you all must have, in whatever state you be, speaking of those who
live in

ordinary charity.

And

I

have also spoken of those

who

are in the perfect light, which light I distinguished in two instances, first, that of those who, having left the

world, applied themselves to the mortification of the body, and of those who, in all things, destroyed their own will ; these latter were the perfect souls who nourish themselves
at

the table of holy desire.
thee,
I

to

and

desire,

I will now speak particularly speaking to thee, and in satisfying thy I wish that thou shall also speak to others.

in

shouldest do three things in particular, so that ignorance may not prevent the perfection to which I call thee. And
I will tell thee the first thing I wish thee to do, in order that the Devil, hidden in the cloak of love of the neighbour, may not nourish within thy soul the root of presumption,

for, by this means, thou wouldest fall into false judgments, which I have forbidden thee, ordering thee to judge aright, whereas thou wouldest judge wrongly, returning to thy human point of view, for the Devil would often cause thee to see what was true, in order to lead thee into falsehood. This he would do in order to make thee judge the minds and intentions of My rational creatures, which fall, as I have told thee, under My judgment alone. This, then, is the first of the three things which I wish thee to do and

observe, namely, that thou shouldest never deliver a judg ment, except under a certain condition, but under that condition I wish thee to do it. The condition is this,
I have expressly manifested to thee in thy mind, not once, nor twice, but several times thy neighbour s fault, thou shouldst say nothing in particular to him who

unless

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
seems
the
virtues
to thee to fall into
it,

219

but rather in general correct

vices

to visit thee, and plant the but with a certain and with benignity, lovingly

of those

who come

And if it should many times the
was an express

sternness in thy benignity, according as thou shalt see need. appear to thee that I have shown to thee
defects of others, unless thou seest that it revelation from Me, as has been said, thou

shouldest say nothing in particular, but devote thyself to the surer way, so as to dispel the delusion and malice of
the Devil
;

for,

with the blade of this desire to judge, he

might wound
bour
"

thee, causing thee often to judge thy neigh falsely, and, thus, often to scandalise him. Wherefore let silence dwell in thy mouth, or holy con

versation about virtue, and the contemptibleness of sin, and attribute that vice, which thou seemest to recognise in another, to thyself, at the same time as to him, and if, in
truth, this

correct

and

person should have fallen into that vice, he will himself better, seeing himself so sweetly treated, will be obliged, by thy pleasant warnings, to correct

himself, and will himself tell thee that very thing which and thus thou thou wast on the point of saying to him wilt remain in safety, and wilt have cut away the road under the Devil s feet, who will not be able to delude thee,
;

I will too that thou or prevent the perfection of thy soul. shouldst know that thou shouldst not trust all thou seest,

but rather cast

it

behind thee and refuse to look at

it,

look

ing only at thyself and recognising in thyself

My

bounty and

My

goodness.

Thus do
I

they,

who have
;

arrived at the last

state, of

which

spoke to thee

they constantly turn to the

do not, on that account, valley And this is diminish the height of their union with Me. the first of the three things which, as I told thee, I wish
of

self-knowledge, and

thee to do, in order to serve

Me

in

truth."

220

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How, if God should manifest mind of that other full of

CIII.

to a person, praying for another, the darkness, he should not be judged on that account to be in a state of sin.

IF at any time it should happen to thee, as in the case of which thou askest Me the explanation, that thou shouldst be praying in particular for one of My creatures, and that
"

during thy prayer, thou shouldest see in him, for whom thou prayest, a ray of grace, and in another, none at all, both persons being servants of Mine, thou shouldest not judge

him who appears

to thee to

have a confused and darkened

mind, to be in a state of grave sin, because often thy judg ment would be false ; and I wish thee to know that often,

when praying for one and the same person, thou wilt some times see him full of light, and of a holy desire before Me; (in
so good a state will he appear to thee, that thy soul will grow fat therewith, which is the effect of love, by which you all participate in each other s good) ; and sometimes

thou wilt see the same person, far away in mind from Me, and filled with darkness and temptations, so that it will seem to thee a weariness to pray for him to hold him This happens sometimes through the defect of before Me. thou hast prayed, but more often, not through for whom him his defect, but because I, the Eternal God, have withdrawn

Myself from that soul, as

greater perfection, speaking of the states of the soul.

often do, to bring that soul to according to what I told thee when
I

I may have withdrawn, but the of not My grace, feeling it, its sweetness and con solation, deprived of which the mind remains barren, dry,

and

in

grief,

which grief

I

manifest to the soul

who

is

praying, on account of the grace and love which I have to the soul who receives the fruit of the prayer, so that he

praying may help him to disperse the clouds which are in his mind.
is

who
"

See then, sweetest and dearest daughter, how ignorant and worthy of reprehension would be the judgment which

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

221

thou or another might make at the sight alone of this soul thou wouldst judge that vice was there because I showed her to thee full of darkness, whereas thou seest that such a soul is not deprived of grace, but only of the feeling of
;

My sweetness which I have given her. I wish, therefore, thou and My other servants should also wish, that you should give yourselves up to perfect self-knowledge, so that
you may
this

perfectly recognise

My

and every other judgment

to

goodness in you, and leave Me, for judgment is Mine

and not yours. Abandon judgment, which is Mine, and take up rather compassion, with hunger for My honour and salvation of Preach virtue with yearning desire, and reprove souls. In vice in thyself and in others, as I have shown thee. this way wilt thou come to Me, in truth, and wilt show that thou hast kept in mind, and observed the doctrine, which was given thee by My Truth namely, to make My will the subject of thy judgments, and not that of man. "This must thou do if thou wilt possess virtue in all its purity, and wilt stand in the last and most perfect light,
"

eating at the table of holy desire of the food of souls, to the glory and praise of My Name."

CHAPTER
How
"

CIV.

penance should not be taken for the foundation or principal end in itself but rather the affection and love of virtue.
:

I HAVE spoken to thee, dearest daughter, of two lights, and I will now speak to thee of the third, to which I would have thee pay great attention, reproving thyself, if, at any time, the devil, or thy own low point of view, should have tempted thee to wish to send all My servants along the same road as thyself, for this would be contrary to the

doctrine given thee
that a person, seeing

by

My

Truth.

many

travelling
all

It may often happen by the road of severe

penance, would wish to send

by

that road, and, seeing

222

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

that

they do not all choose it, he is angered, and takes scandal, thinking that such are acting wrongly. Now, see how such a one deceives himself, for it will often happen
will

that he

who is thought evil of because he does less penance, do better and be more virtuous than he who, doing more
it.

penance, murmurs at
"

thee above, that those who feed at the table of penance, unless they do so with true humility, their penance, not being to them an end in itself, but merely

Wherefore

I said to

an instrument of

virtue, will often,

by

this vice of

ing, offend against their

own

perfection.

murmur They should there

fore not remain in ignorance, but should see that perfection does not consist only in the maceration or slaying of the
It body, but in the destruction of their own perverse will. by this road of the extinguishing and submission of the

is

human
all

will to

My
This

sweet
is

will,

that

I

wish thee

to desire

to walk.

the

which the soul runs I do not on that account despise penance, for Truth. to macerate the body when it strives to fight it is good against the Spirit, but I do not wish, dearest daughter, that
in

doctrine of that glorious light, as one enamoured, clothed with

My

thou shouldst impose penance as a rule to any one, because
all

because one

bodies are not equal, or of the same strong complexion man may have a stronger nature than another,
it

;

and also because
penance, when on account of
it

often happens, as I have told thee, that has been begun, has to be relinquished,

many

accidents which

may

occur.

And,

if

the foundation of thy soul was laid in penance, or thou hadst caused others so to lay it, thou wouldest then faint

and become imperfect, lacking consolation, for thou wouldst be deprived of the thing which thou didst love, and which had become thy principal object, and so thou wouldst seem to thyself to be deprived of Me, and of My goodness, and wouldst thus fall into weariness, bitterness and con
In this way, thou wouldst lose the benefit of fusion. the spiritual exercise and the fervent prayer which thou wast wont to make when performing thy penance. Thus, having relinquished thy penance on account of some accident

or other, thou wouldst no longer find that savour

in

prayer

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

223

This would happen because thy which thou hadst before. foundation would be laid rather in penance than in yearning
desire
desire, that
is,

for true

and

real virtues.

"See,

thy

how much harm would follow from placing end solely in penance, how thou wouldst become
then,

ignorant, and fall into murmuring judgments against servants, as has been said, and into weariness and great
bitterness,

My

Who am
infinite

endeavouring to serve, with finite works only, Me, Good, and therefore demand on your part desire you should therefore place your foundation
Infinite
;

in the destruction

and extinction of your own

will,

and, by

thus submitting your will to Mine, you will send up before Me a sweet, hungry and infinite desire, seeking My honour And thus will you eat at the and the salvation of souls.
table of holy desire, which desire is never scandalised either in itself or in its neighbour, but rejoices in every

and draws fruit from all the divers and varied cir The poor wretches cumstances in which I place the soul. who do not follow this sweet doctrine and smooth road, given them by My Truth, do not so. They do, indeed, the
thing,

contrary, judging according to their blindness and infirm

Wherefore they become raving lunatics, and deprive themselves both of the advantages of the world and of heaven. And, in this life, as I have said to thee in another
vision.

place, they taste the earnest of

Hell."

CHAPTER
A
"

CV.
;

brief repetition of the

above-mentioned things with an addition concerning the reprehension of the neighbour.

I HAVE now told thee, dearest daughter, and explained to thee, in satisfaction of thy desire, that which thou didst

ask

what way, namely, thou shouldst judge thy to be deluded by the Devil, or neighbour, own low of view and I have told thee that by thy point thou shouldst reprove in general, and not in particular, unless thou shouldst have had an express revelation from
in

Me

so as not

;

224

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Me ; and that, in that case, thou shouldest, with humility I have blame thyself and thy neighbour at the same time. also told thee, and I repeat it, that, in no case whatever, is it
lawful for thee to judge any creature, either in general, or in the particular case of one of My servants, as to whether

he be well or badly disposed.
reason

And I have given the canst not thou why judge, and why, if thou didst do so, thou wouldst be deceived in thy judgment. I have also told thee, that you should all have compassion
on each other and leave judgment to Me; and I have given thee the doctrine, and the principal foundation for thee to
give to those who should come to thee for counsel, and who should wish to come out of the darkness of mortal
sin,

selves and of

and follow the path of virtue, and knowledge of them My Goodness to them, and the destruction
their

and extinction of
in nothing against

Me.

own will, so that it may rebel And I have told thee to give them

penance as a means and not as an end, and not to each one equally, but according to their capacity and con dition ; to one less, to another more, shalt thou give these external means. But, because I said to thee that it was not
lawful for thee to reprove another, except in general (which is the truth), I do not wish thee to think that, when thou
actually seest an open sin, thou canst not privately correct the sinner ; this thou canst do, and if he is so obstinate that he will not correct himself, thou canst manifest his sin
to

two or three others
it

;

and
the

if this

does not succeed, thou

mayest manifest
Church.
lawfully

to

mystical
is

body

of

the

holy

What

I

have said to thee

that thou canst not

make to thyself any judgment in thy mind, what ever thou mayest appear to see with thine eyes, nor change thy opinions quickly, for, unless thou seest the truth of the
matter by My express revelation, thou shouldest not make use of the truth, except in the way I have shown thee.

This

is the surer way of preventing the Devil deluding thee under the cloak of neighbourly love. I have now, dearest daughter, completed My explanations on this matter, which thou must preserve, and so increase the perfection

of thy

soul."

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

225

CHAPTER
Of the means
of

CVI.
visions

knowing when visitations and mental come from God or the Devil.

"

WILL now speak to thee of that which thou didst ask Me, concerning the sign which I give the soul, that she may know whether the visitations which she receives, either by visions or other consolations, are from Me or not. The sign, I told thee, was the joy which remained in the soul after the visitation, and the hunger for virtue, and specially the anointing of true humility, and the enflaming But since thou askedst of the soul with divine charity.
I

me, whether this joy may in any way deceive thee, in order that thou mayest attain to the surer proof, the sign, namely, of virtue which cannot be deceived, I will tell thee a delusion which may occur, by knowing which, thou canst Delusion may determine if the joy is in My Truth or not. occur in this way. Thou must know that, when a rational creature possesses the object which she loves, and has
longed to have, the more she loves the object, the less she sees it, and the less she endeavours to prudently examine it, so absorbed is she in the delight and consola
tion she

has received from

it.

So do those who take

great

delight in mental consolations, and seek for visions, placing their end rather in the delight of these consolations than in Me, like those of whom I spoke to thee who were still
imperfect.
distinctly in
will tell thee.

besides other

Such as these may be deluded in their joy, ways of delusion of which I spoke to thee

How are they deluded ? I another place. Having conceived a great love of consolation,

when they receive it either by vision or in some other way, they feel joy, for they see that they possess that which they loved and desired. Often, however, their consolation might come from the Devil, and they would feel that joy of which
I spoke to thee, saying that when this visitation of the mind came from the Devil, the mind was at first joyful, but after wards remained in grief and an uneasy conscience, and

p

226

THE DIALOGUE OF
desire for virtue.
often

ST.

CATHERINE

I now say to thee that have that joy, and on account of it If this joy exist without a burning abandon prayer. desire for virtue, and be not anointed with humility, and on fire with My Divine Love, that visitation, or vision, or consolation, which that soul may have received, comes from the Devil, and not from Me, in spite of the sign of joy. But, inasmuch as the joy is not united with the desire for virtue, thou canst clearly see that it is drawn from the love which that soul had for her own mental consola tion, wherefore she rejoices, seeing that she possesses that which she desired, it being the nature of love of every kind

empty of a
the soul

may

to feel joy in the possession of the beloved object. So that thou canst not trust in joy alone, even if the joy last all the time during which thou hast the consolation, and the more so, that love, ignorant and walking imprudently through its very joy, cannot discern the wile of the Devil but, if the soul walk prudently, she will examine whether or no In this way will she her joy be united to love of virtue. know whether the visitation, which she has received, comes This is that sign of which I spoke from Me or the Devil. to thee, with which I showed thee how thou couldst recognise if thy joy was a sign that thou hadst been visited by Me, namely, if it were united with virtue, as I have truly told
;

thee, for this sign proves to thee what is delusion, and what is not ; that is to say, it distinguishes between the joy which

thou receivest from Me in truth, and the joy which comes from thy spiritual self-love, from love that is, of thy own consolation. The consolation which comes from Me comes with joy and the love of virtue, and that which comes from the Devil brings joy only, and when thou examinest thy soul thou art in the same condition of virtue as thou wert before, for this joy proceeds from love of one s own consola tion, as has been said. But know that not every one is deluded by this joy, but only those imperfect ones who seek for delight and consola tion, and look rather to the gift than to Me, the Giver. Those, on the other hand, who in purity, and with regard for them
"

selves, enflamed with love for

Me

alone,

Who

gives,

and not

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
for the gift,

227

which they love

for

My

own

consolation, cannot be deluded

sake, and not for their by this joy. They at

once know by this sign when the Devil has wanted, through his deceitfulness, to transform himself into an angel of light and manifest himself to their mind, namely that he arrives suddenly with great joy, but the joy soon passes away, and
they find themselves
left in

darkness.

They thus thoroughly

recognise his deceitfulness by their prudence, because they are not passionately in love with (or desirous of) mental con

Then they humiliate themselves with true self-know all consolation, and embracing and holding despising ledge, Then the Devil, confused, fast the doctrine of My Truth.
solation.

wheels about, and never comes back again to them in that But those who are lovers of their own consolation, form.
deception in the
Devil, but they will find out the told way you, that is, in the feeling of the joy without the virtue, in that they will not find them
will ofttimes receive the
I

and hunger
"And

selves issuing from the experience with humility, true charity, for My honour, am eternal God.

Who

My goodness manifested in that I have pro vided against the deception of the perfect ones, and the imperfect ones, in whatever condition they be, because none
thus
is

of you can be deceived
intellect that
I

if

you

will preserve the light of the

have given you with the pupil of the most not let it be overshadowed by the Devil, and and holy faith, because if you do not take it away veiled with self-love, from yourself, no one else will take it from you."
"

CHAPTER
How God
is

CVII.

how they

the Fulfiller of the holy desires of His servants ; and please Him much who ask and knock at the door of

His Truth with perseverance.
"

Now

I

have told thee, dearest daughter, and

fully explained

to thee, illuminating the eye of thy

intellect,

about the

228

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

deceptions the Devil might practise upon thee, and I have satisfied thy desire in that which thou askest Me, because I

Also I not only and he dis you at the door not in Me who does truth, knock, much, pleases of the wisdom of My only-begotten Son, following His doctrine, the following of which doctrine is a knocking,

do not despise the desire of
give to all

My

servants.

who

ask, but

I

invite

all to

ask,

calling to

desire, with

Me, the eternal Father, with the voice of holy humble and continual prayers. And I am that
gives

Father
this

Who

you the bread of grace by means of
Truth
;

sweet door,

My

and sometimes, to
I

test

your

desires and your perseverance,

pretend not to understand

you, but I really understood you well, and give you that state of mind that you need, because I give you that hunger and the voice with which you cry to Me, and I, seeing your con
stancy,
to
fulfil

Me.

It

was

your desires when they are ordered and directed to such asking as this that My Truth invited you,
Cry out and ye shall be answered, knock and
1

when He

said,

it

shall be opened to you, ask and it shall be given to you. And so I say to thee that I will that thou shouldest never relax the

desire of asking for My help, neither lower thy voice from cry ing to Me that I may have mercy on the world ; nor cease

from knocking at the door of Footsteps, and delight thyself

My

in the

Truth, following in His Cross with Him, eating

the food of souls to the glory and praise of My Name ; and lament, with anxiety of heart, over the death of the human
generation, that thou seest led to misery so great, that thy On account of this tongue is not sufficient to relate it.
is this

lamenting and crying will I have mercy on the world, and it which I demand from My servants, and which will

be a sign to Me, that they love
thee,
I

Me

in truth, and, as

I

told

will not despise their

desires."

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

229

CHAPTER
How this

CVIII.

soul, rendering thanks to God, humiliates herself; then she prays for the whole world and particularly for the mystical body of the holy Church, and for her spiritual children, and for the two fathers of her soul and, after these things, she asks to hear something about the defects of the ministers of the holy Church.
;

seemed beside body were alienated through the union of love which she had made with her Creator, and as if, in elevation of mind, she had gazed into the eternal
that soul, as
if,

THEN

in

truth, inebriated,

herself, as if the feelings of the

truth with the eye of her intellect, and, having recognised the

had become enamoured of it, and said, "Oh Supreme and Eternal Goodness of God, who am I, miserable one, that Thou, Supreme and Eternal Father, hast manifested to me Thy truth, and the hidden deceits of the Devil, and the deceitfulness of personal feeling, so that I, and others in this
truth,
!

of pilgrimage, may know how to avoid being deceived by What moved thee to do it ? Love, the Devil or ourselves because thou lovedst me, without my having loved Thee. Oh,
life
!

Fire of
I

Love

!

Thanks, thanks be
full

to Thee, Eternal Father!

am imperfect and
shown

Light, hast way of the

of darkness, and Thou, Perfection and to me perfection, and the resplendent

doctrine of

Thy

only-begotten Son.

I

was
and

dead, and Thou hast brought

me

to

life.

I

was

sick

Thou

medicine, and not only the medicine of the Blood which Thou gavest for the diseased human race in

hast given

me

the person of
infirmity that

Thy
I

knew

Son, but also a medicine against a secret not of, in this precept that, in no way,

can

any rational creature, and particularly Thy servants, upon whom ofttimes I, as one blind and sick with this infirmity, passed judgment under the pretext of Thy honour and the salvation of souls. Wherefore, I thank in the manifesting and Eternal that, Thee, Supreme Good, of Thy truth and the deceitfulness of the Devil, and our
I

judge

own

passions,
I

Thou

hast

made me know my

infirmity.

Wherefore

beseech Thee, through grace and mercy, that,

23<>

THE DIALOGUE OF
I

ST.

CATHERINE

from to-day henceforward,
the path of
to

Thy

doctrine,
to

may never again wander from given by Thy goodness to me and
it,

because without Thee is To Thee then, Eternal Father, do I have nothing done. recourse and flee, and I do not beseech Thee for myself alone, Father, but for the whole world, and particularly for

whoever wishes

follow

the mystical body of the holy Church, that this truth given to me, miserable one, by Thee, Eternal Truth, may shine and also I beseech Thee especially in Thy ministers
;

for

all

those
hast

whom Thou
particular

Thou
love

made one
a

with

given me, and whom with me, and whom I thing because love, they will be my
hast

refreshment to the glory and praise of Thy Name, when I see them running on this sweet and straight road, pure, and dead to their own will and opinion, and without

any passing judgment on their neighbour, or causing him any scandal or murmuring. And I pray Thee, Sweetest Love, that not one of them may be taken from me by the hand of the infernal Devil, so that at last they may arrive
Thee, their End, Eternal Father. "Also I make another petition to Thee for my two fathers, the supports whom Thou hast placed on the earth to guard
at

and
of

my

instruct me, miserable infirm one, from the beginning conversion until now, that Thou unite them, and of

two bodies make one

soul, and that they attend to nothing else than to complete in themselves, and in the mysteries that Thou hast placed in their hands, the glory and praise of Thy Name, and the salvation of souls, and that I,

an unworthy and miserable slave, and no daughter, may behave to them with due reverence and holy fear, for love of Thee, in a way that will be to Thine honour, and their I peace and quiet, and to the edification of the neighbour.

now know
because
I

for certain, Eternal Truth, that
I

Thou

wilt not

despise the desire of the petitions that

know, from seeing what it and still more from proof, that Thou art the manifest, of I, Thy unworthy servant, will Acceptor, holy desires.
strive, according as Thou wilt give me grace, to observe Thy commandments and Thy doctrine. Now, O Eternal Father,

have made to Thee, has pleased Thee to

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
I

231

remember a word which thou

didst say to

me

in speaking

of the ministers of the holy Church, to the effect that Thou wouldst speak to me more distinctly, in some other place, of the sins which they commit to-day ; wherefore if it

should please Thy goodness to tell me aught of this matter, I will gladly hear it, so as to have material for increasing

my grief,
for
I

remember

compassion, and anxious desire for their salvation ; that Thou didst say, that, on account of the

Thy

endurance and tears, the grief, and sweat and prayers of servants, Thou wouldst reform the holy Church, and comfort her with good and holy pastors. I ask Thee this

in order that these sentiments

may

increase in

me."

CHAPTER
How God
THEN

CIX.

renders this soul attentive to prayer, replying to one of the above mentioned petitions.

the Eternal God, turning the eye of His mercy upon

this soul, not despising her desire, but granting her requests, proceeded to satisfy the last petition, which she had made

concerning His promise, saying,

"

Oh

!

best

beloved and

dearest daughter, I will fulfil thy desire in this request, in order that, on thy side, thou mayest not sin through ignorance or negligence ; for a fault of thine would be more serious

and worthy of graver reproof now than before, because thou hast learnt more of My truth wherefore apply thyself
;

attentively to pray for all rational creatures, for the mystical body of the holy Church, and for those friends whom I

have given thee, whom thou lovestwith particular love, and be careful not to be negligent in giving them the benefit of thy prayers, and the example of thy life, and the teaching of thy words, reproving vice and encouraging virtue accord ing to thy power. Concerning the supports which I have given thee, of whom thou didst speak to Me, know that thou art, in truth, a means by which they may each receive, according to their
"

232

THE DIALOGUE OF
fitness.

ST.

CATHERINE

thy Creator, grant thee the thou canst do nothing, I will opportunity, for without thou but do not fulfil thy desires, fail, or they either, in in Me. Providence will never fail you, and My your hope if shall he be receive that which he is fit humble, every man,
as
I,

needs and

And

Me

and every minister that which I have given him to administer, each in his own way, according to what he has received and will receive from My goodness."
to receive
;

CHAPTER
Of the

CX.

dignity of the priest ; and of the Sacrament of the Body of Christ ; and of worthy and unworthy communicants.
I

will reply to that which thou didst ask Me con the ministers of the holy Church, and, in order that cerning thou mayest the better understand the truth, open the eye of
"

Now

thy

intellect,
I

which

and look at their excellence and the dignity in have placed them. And, since one thing is better
of contrast with
its

known by means
have placed

contrary,

I

will

show

thee the dignity of those
in their

who
;

hands

use virtuously the treasure I and, in this way, thou wilt the

better see the misery of those who to-day are suckled at Then this soul obediently con the breast of Spouse."

My

templated the truth, in which she saw virtue resplendent in Then said the Eternal God those who truly taste it. I
"

:

will first, dearest daughter,

speak to thee of the dignity of

priests, having placed them where they are through My Goodness, over and above the general love which I have had to My creatures, creating you in My image and similitude and re-creating you all to the life of grace in the Blood of My only-begotten Son, whence you have arrived at such excellence, through the union which I

so that of My Deity with human nature and excellence than the have you greater dignity for I took your human nature and not that of the Wherefore, as I have said to you, I, God, have

made

;

in

this

angels,

angels.

become

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

233

man, and man has become God by the union of My Divine This greatness is given Nature with your human nature.
in

general to

all

rational

creatures,

but,

among

these

I

have especially chosen My ministers for the sake of your salvation, so that, through them, the Blood of the humble and immaculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son, may be To them have I given the Sun to administered to you. them the light of science and the heat administer, giving
of Divine Love, united together in the colour of the

Body

and Blood of My Son, whose Body is a Sun, because He is one thing with Me, the True Sun, in such a way that He cannot be separated or divided from Me, as in the case of the natural sun, in which heat and light cannot be
separated, so perfect is their union; for, the sun, never leaving its orbit, lights the whole world and warms whoever wishes
to be

warmed by
it

it,

and
its

is

which
united.
"

shines,

for

not defiled by any impurity on light and heat and colour are

So this Word, My Son, with His most sweet Blood, one Sun, all God and all man, because He is one thing with Me and I with Him. My power is not separated from His wisdom, nor the fiery heat of the Holy Spirit from Me, the Father, or from Him, the Son for He is one thing with us, the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, and We together forming one and the same
is
;

Sun; that is to say, I, the Eternal God, am that Sun whence have proceeded the Son and the Holy Spirit. To the Holy Spirit is attributed fire and to the Son wisdom, by which wisdom My ministers receive the light of grace,
so
that

they

may

administer this

light to

others,

with

gratitude for the benefits received from Me, Father, following the doctrine of the Eternal

the

Eternal

Wisdom,

My

only-begotten Son. This is that Light, which has the colour of your humanity, colour and light being closely united.

Thus was

the light of

My

Divinity united to the colour of

your humanity, which colour shone brightly when it became perfect through its union with the Divine nature, and, by this means of the Incarnate Word mixed with the Light of My Divine nature and the fiery heat of the Holy Spirit,

234

THE DIALOGUE OF
administration ?

ST.

CATHERINE
have
I

have ye received the Light.
its
"

Whom

entrusted with

My

so that as

ministers in the mystical body of the holy Church, you may have life, receiving His Body in food and
in drink.
I

His Blood
it

have said

to thee that this

Body

is,

were, a Sun. Wherefore, you cannot receive the Body without the Blood, or the Blood or the Body without the

Word nor the Soul, nor the Body, without the Divinity of Me, the Eternal God, because none of these can be separated from each other, as I said to thee in another place that the Divine nature never left the
soul of the Incarnate
;

human
So
that

nature, either by death or from any other cause. you receive the whole Divine Essence in that most

Sweet Sacrament concealed under the whiteness of the bread ; sun cannot be divided into light, heat, and colour, the whole of God and the whole of man cannot be separated for even if the host under the white mantle of the host should be divided into a million particles (if it were possible) in each particle should I be present, whole God and whole Man. When you break a mirror the reflection to be seen
for as the
;

in

it is not broken similarly, when the host is divided God and man are not divided, but remain in each particle. Nor is the Sacrament diminished in itself, except as far as may be in the following example.
;
"

If

thou hast a

light,

and the whole world should come

to

the light itself does not thee in order to take light from it diminish and yet each person has it all. It is true that

every one participates more or less in this light, according to the substance into which each one receives the fire. I will
develop this metaphor further that thou mayest the better understand Me. Suppose that there are many who bring

one weighing an ounce, others two or six or a ounces, pound, or even more, and light them in the each in candle, whether large or small, is the whole flame,
their candles,
light,

that

is

to

say, the heat,

the colour, and the flame

;

nevertheless thou wouldst judge that he whose candle weighs an ounce has less of the light than he whose candle weighs

a pound.

Now

the

receive this Sacrament.

same thing happens Each one carries

to

those

who

his

own

candle,

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
that

235.

is the holy desire, with which he receives this Sacra ment, which of itself is without light, and lights it by receiving I say without light, because of yourselves this Sacrament. you can do nothing, though I have given you the material,,
it.

with which you can receive this light and feed
material
love
"

The

is love, for

through love

I

created you, and without

to you through love, has received the in right disposition holy baptism, which you receive in virtue of the Blood of the Word, for, in no other way, could you participate in this light ; you would be like a

you cannot live. Your being, given

candle with no wick inside
light, if

it,

you have not received
receive,

which cannot burn or receive in your souls the wick which
is

catches this Divine Flame, that

to say, the

Holy

Faith,

baptism, united with the disposition of your soul created by Me, so fitted for love, that, without love, which is her very food, she cannot live.

which you

by grace,

in

Where
the
fire

does the soul united in this
of

way

obtain light ?

At

Divine love, loving and fearing Me, and It is true that the following the Doctrine of My Truth. soul becomes more or less lighted according to the material

My

which it brings to the fire for although you all have one and the same material, in that you are all created to My image and similitude, and, being Christians, possess the light of holy baptism, each of you may grow in love and virtue Not that you by the help of My grace, as may please you. that you I but the of have form what given you, change increase your strength in love, and your free-will, by using it while you have time, for when time is past you can no So that you can increase in love, as has been longer do so. love to receive this Sweet and Glorious with said, coming I Which have Light, given you as Food for your service, through My ministers, and you receive this Light according to the love and fiery desire with which you approach It. The Light Itself you receive entire, as I have said (in the example of those, who in spite of the difference in weight of their candles, all receive the entire light), and not divided, because It cannot be divided, as has been said, either on
;
4<

account of any imperfection of yours

who

receive, or of the

236

THE DIALOGUE OF
;

ST.

CATHERINE

minister
is

but you personally participate in this light, that

grace which you receive in this Sacrament, according to the holy desire with which you dispose your selves to receive It. He who should go to this sweet
in

the

Sacrament in the guilt of mortal sin, will receive no grace therefrom, though he actually receive the whole of God and the whole of Man. Dost thou know the condition of
the soul

which water has

She is like a candle on which can do nothing but crackle when brought near the flame, for no sooner has the fire touched it, than it is extinguished, and nothing remains but
receives unworthily ?
fallen,
;

who

smoke so this soul has cast the water of mind upon the candle which she received
not having heated

guilt within

her

in holy baptism,

which has drenched the wick of the grace of baptism, and, it at the fire of true contrition and con

fession, goes to the table of the altar to receive this Light with her body, and not with her mind, wherefore the Light, since the soul is not disposed as she should be for so great

a mystery, does not remain by grace in that soul, but leaves her, and, in the soul, remains only greater confusion, for her
light is extinguished

and her sin increased by her darkness.

the Sacrament she feels nothing but the crackling of a remorseful conscience, not through the defect of the Light
Itself, for that can receive no hurt, but on account of the water that was in the soul, which impeded her proper disposition so that she could not receive the Light. See, therefore, that in no way can this Light, united with its heat and its colour, be divided, either by the scanty desire of the soul when she receives the Sacrament, or by any

Of

defect which

may be
it,

in the soul, or
I

who
this

administers

as

told thee of the

by shining on anything foul, Sacrament cannot be defiled, divided, or diminished in any way, nor can it be detached from its orbit. all the world should receive in communion the Light and Heat of this Sun, the Word, My only-begotten Son, would not be separated from Me the True Sun, His Eternal Father because in His mystical body, the holy Church, He is administered to whoever will receive Him.
defiled
"If

defect of him sun which is not so the sweet Light of

by any

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

237

He

remains wholly with Me, and yet you have Him, whole
as
I

God and whole man,
light, that, if all

told thee, in the

the world

came
it

would have

it

entire,

and yet

metaphor of the from it, each would remain whole."
to take light

CHAPTER CXI
How
the bodily sentiments are all deceived in the aforesaid Sacrament, but not those of the soul, therefore it is, with the and of a beautiful latter, that one must see, taste, and touch It
;

vision this soul
"

had upon

this subject.

OH, dearest daughter, open well the eye of thy intellect and gaze into the abyss of My love, for there is no rational creature whose heart would not melt for love in contem plating and considering, among the other benefits she receives from Me, the special Gift that she receives in the Sacra
ment.
"And

with what eye, dearest

daughter, shouldest thou

and others look at this mystery, and how shouldest thou Not only with the bodily sight and touch, be touch it ? cause in this Sacrament all bodily perceptions fail. The eye can only see, and the hand can only touch, the white substance of the bread, and the taste can only taste
"

the savour of the bread, so that the grosser bodily senti ments are deceived ; but the soul cannot be deceived in
that is, unless she her sentiments unless she wish to be the light of the most holy faith be taken away from her

let

by

infidelity.
"

How
?
It
it

is this

Sacrament
?

to

be truly tasted, seen, and

touched

With
to
is

the sentiment of the soul.

With what
if

eye

is

be seen

With

the eye

of the intellect
faith.

within

the pupil of the most

holy

This eye

sees in that whiteness whole

nature united with the

God and whole man, the Divine human nature, the Body, the Soul,

and the Blood of Christ, the Soul united to the Body, the Body and the Soul united with My Divine nature, not

238

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

detached from Me, as I revealed to thee, if thou remember well, almost in the beginning of thy life ; and not so much intellect as through thy .at first through the eye of thy
bodily eye, although the light being so great thy bodily eyes lost their vision, and only the sight of the eye of thy I showed it to thee for thine enlighten intellect remained.

ment

in the battle that the Devil
;

had been waging against
increase in love

thee in this Sacrament
in the light
"

and

to

make thee

of the most holy faith. Thou knowest that thou wentest one morning to church at sun-rise to hear Mass, having beforehand been tormented by the Devil, and thou placedst thyself upright at the Altar
of the Crucifix, while the priest went to the Altar of Mary ; thou stoodst there to consider thy sin, fearing to have

offended

Me

through the vexation which the Devil had been

causing thee, and to consider My love, which had made thee worthy to hear Mass, seeing that thou didst deem

When thyself unworthy to enter into My holy temple. the minister came to consecrate, thou raisedst thine eyes
above his head while he was saying the words of consecra tion, and I manifested Myself to thee, and thou didst see issue from My breast a light, like a ray from the sun, which proceeds from the circle of the sun without being separated from it, out of the midst of which light came a dove and hovered over the host, in virtue of the words which But sight remained alone in the the minister was saying. because of thy intellect, thy bodily sight was not strong eye stand the and to in that place thou didst see light, enough

and

taste the

Abyss

of the Trinity,

whole God and whole

man

concealed and veiled in that whiteness that thou sawedst
;

in the bread

and thou perceivedst that the seeing of the the and presence of the Word, which thou sawedst Light

intellectually in the whiteness of the bread, did not prevent thee seeing at the same time the actual whiteness of the

bread, the one vision did not prevent the other vision, that is to say, the sight of the God- Man revealed in the bread

did not prevent the sight of the bread, for neither its white This ness, nor its touch, nor its savour were taken away.

was shown thee by

My

goodness, as

I

have said to thee.

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

239

The eye
of the

of the intellect had the true vision, using the pupil

holy faith, for this eye should be thy principal means of vision, inasmuch as it cannot be deceived ; where How fore, with it thou shouldest look on this Sacrament.
It ?

hand of love. With this hand alone canst thou touch that which the eye of the
dost thou touch

By

the

intellect

has recognised in this Sacrament. The soul touches with the hand of love, as if to certify to herself that How which she has seen and known through faith.

Me

With the palate of holy desire. The dost thou taste It ? corporal palate tastes only the savour of the bread ; but the palate of the soul, which is holy desire, tastes God and
Man. See, therefore, that the perceptions of the body are deluded, but not those of the soul, for she is illuminated and assured in her own perceptions, for she touches with
the hand of love that which the eye of her intellect has seen with the pupil of holy faith ; and with her palate

Sacrament and the Grace which is contained therein. See, therefore, that thou shouldst receive and look on this Sacrament, not only with
bodily perceptions, but rather with thy spiritual perceptions, disposing thy soul in the way that has been said, to receive,

she tastes is, with fiery desire Ineffable Love, with Which I have receive the tremendous mystery of this
that

My

Burning Charity,
to

My

made her worthy

and

taste,

and see

this Sacrament."

CHAPTER
Of the
excellent state of the soul
in grace.
4t

CXII.
who
receives the sacrament

SEE, dearest daughter, in what an excellent state is the soul who receives, as she should, this Bread of Life, this Food of the Angels. By receiving this Sacrament she dwells in

Me
fish

and

I

in her, as the fish in the sea,
I

and the sea in the

thus do

dwell in the soul, and the soul in

Me

the

240

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Sea

In that soul grace dwells, for, since she has Pacific. received this Bread of Life in a state of grace, My grace

remains in her, after the accidents of bread have been consumed. I leave you the imprint of grace, as does a seal, which, when lifted from the hot wax upon which it has been impressed, leaves behind its imprint, so the virtue of this

Sacrament remains

in

the soul, that

is

to say, the heat of

Divine charity, and the clemency of the Holy Spirit. There also remains to you the wisdom of My only-be gotten Son, by which the eye of your intellect has been

My

illuminated to see and to

know

the doctrine of

My

Truth,

and, together with this wisdom, you participate in My strength and power, which strengthen the soul against her sensual Thou self-love, against the Devil, and against the world.
seest then that the imprint remains, when the seal has been taken away, that is, when the material accidents of the bread,

having been consumed, this True Sun has returned to Its Centre, not that it was ever really separated from It, but The Abyss of My loving desire constantly united to Me. for your salvation has given you, through my dispensation

and Divine Providence, coming to the help of your needs, the sweet Truth as Food in this life, where you are pilgrims and travellers, so that you may have refreshment, and not See then how straitly you forget the benefit of the Blood. are constrained and obliged to render Me love, because I love you so much, and, being the Supreme and Eternal
Goodness, deserve youi
love."

CHAPTER
How

CXIII.

the things which have been said about the excellence of thisSacrament, have been said that we might know better the dignity of priests and how God demands in them greater purity than
;

in other creatures.
"

I

HAVE

told thee

all

this,

dearest

daughter,

that
I

thou

mayest the better recognise the dignity to

which

have

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
called

241

My

be more intense.
defile

ministers, so that thy grief at their miseries If they themselves considered their

may own

dignity they would not be in the darkness of mortal sin, or the face of their soul. They would not only see

their offences against Me, but also, that, if they gave their bodies to be burned, they would not repay the tremendous

grace and favour which they have received, inasmuch as no They are My anointed greater dignity exists in this life.
ones, and I call them My Christs, because I have given them the office of administering Me to you, and have placed them like fragrant flowers in the mystical body of the holy

Church.
given
it

The
I

angel himself has no such dignity, for

I

have

to those

men whom

I

have chosen for

My

ministers,

and

have appointed as earthly angels in this life. In all souls I demand purity and charity, that they should love Me and their neighbour, helping him by the ministra tion of prayer, as I said to thee in another place. But far more do I demand purity in My ministers, and love towards Me, and towards their fellow-creatures, administering to them the Body and Blood of My only-begotten Son, with the fire of charity, and a hunger for the salvation of souls, for the glory and honour of My Name. Even as these
ministers require
is

whom

cleanness in the chalice in which this made, even so do I require the purity and cleanness of their heart and soul and mind. And I wish their body to be preserved, as the instrument of the soul in perfect charity ; and I do not wish them to feed upon and wallow in the mire of filth, or to be inflated by pride, seeking great prelacies, or to be cruel to themselves or to their fellow creatures, because they cannot use cruelty to themselves without being cruel to their fellow creatures ;
Sacrifice

by sin they are cruel to themselves, they are cruel to the souls of their neighbours, in that they do not give them an example of life, nor care to draw them out of the hands
for, if

of the Devil, nor to administer to them the Body and Blood of My only-begotten Son, and Me the True Light, as I told
thee,

and the other Sacraments of the holy Church.
being cruel to themselves, they are cruel to

So

that, in

others."

242

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How the
who receive them

CXIV.

Sacraments should not be sold or bought, and how they should succour the ministers in temporal things,
in three divisions.

which the ministers should dispense
"

I

WISH

through

ministers to be liberal and not miserly, or, cupidity and avarice, to sell the grace of the

My

I do not desire this, and Holy Spirit. they ought not to do it; for even as they, by gift and out of the broadness

My goodness, so ought they, of in and broadness heart, through affection of love by gift for My honour and the salvation of souls, to give charitably to every rational creature who humbly asks for it and as its because take should have not nothing price, they they received it from but have Me to administer freely bought it, to you. But they can and should take alms, and you, who receive the Sacraments, ought on your side, when you can, to give alms for the ministers should be supported by you in temporal things, and succoured by you in their necessity, and you should be supported and fed by them in that is, in the holy Sacraments grace and spiritual gifts that I have placed in the holy Church for them to ad
of

My

love have received of

;

;

minister to you for your salvation.

And

I

make known

to

you that, without any comparison, they give more to you than you to them, because comparison cannot be made between the transitory and finite things with which you
help them, and Me God, Who am Infinite, and through My Divine providence and Divine charity they have

Whom

And not only is it so in the right of administering to you. this mystery, but also in any other spiritual graces which are administered to you by any creature, whether through
prayer or through some other means. All your temporal sub stance would never equal,by anycomparison,what you receive
spiritually.

Now

I

tell

you

that the substance

which they

receive from
that
is,

you they are bound to distribute in three ways one for their living, to make of it three parts

the other for the poor, and the other should be spent on

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

243

the objects which are necessary for the services of the Church, and in no other way. Doing otherwise they offend
Me."

CHAPTER CXV.
Of the
dignity of priests ; and how the virtue of the Sacraments is not diminished by the faults either of the minister or of the recipient; And how God does not wish seculars to occupy themselves in correcting the clergy.

"

THUS did the sweet and glorious ministers of whom I spoke to thee, when I wished thee to see their excellence, over and above the dignity which I had given them in making them My Christs, and who, exercising this dignity in virtue, are clothed in the Light of the Sweet and Glorious Sun, Whom I gave into their hands to administer. "Look at sweet Gregory and Sylvester, and others, their predecessors or successors who have followed the footsteps of My Chief Pontiff, Peter, to whom I gave the keys of the

heavenly kingdom of
the keys

My

Truth, saying

:

Peter,

I give

thee

of Kingdom of Heaven, and what thou loosest on earth shall be loosed in Heaven, and what thou bindest Now that I have on earth shall be bound in Heaven?
the

shown
I

thee, dearest daughter, the excellence of their virtue,

more fully prove to thee the dignity to which I have elected My ministers. They have the key of the Blood of My only-begotten Son, Which unlocks the door of eternal life, which for a long time has remained locked
will

through the sin of Adam. For that reason I gave you
"

My

Truth

;

that is to say,

My only-begotten Son, Who, enduring His and passion death, by His death destroyed yours, making a bath His Blood and Death, in virtue of His Blood. you of the union between the Divine and human natures, un
locked the door of eternal
the keys of this Blood ?
life.

My Word

To whom

did

He

leave

To

the glorious Apostle Peter,

244

THE DIALOGUE OF
to all his successors
all

ST.

CATHERINE
till

and

who

are or shall be

the

Day

of

of them having the same authority which Judgment, Peter had, which is not diminished by any defect of their own, nor is any defect caused thereby to the Blood or to

any
thee,

of
this

the

Sacraments,
shines,

for,

as

I

have

already

told

on which

by any impurity and does not lose Its light amid the darkness of mortal sin, whether it be in the minister or in the recipient, such sin merely diminishing grace and increasing sin in the unworthy minister or recipient. Thus the Christ on earth holds the keys of the Blood, as,
It if
I manifested to thee in this parable, what seculars thee reverence showing ought to have for be whether or ministers, good evil, and how much they My

Sun does not become

defiled

thou remember,

irreverence towards them displeases Me. Thou rememberest that I represented the mystical body of the holy Church to thee under the form of a cellar, in which cellar was the Blood
of

My only-begotten Son, Which gives efficacy to all the Sacra At the door of the cellar was the Christ on earth, ments.
whole body of Christian accepted and anointed by him, people. From became the minister of the Blood, and no others. him issues the whole order of clerks, each of whom is placed in his particular office to administer the glorious Blood and, as the Christ on earth has chosen them for his helpers, the right of correcting their defects belong to him alone, For I have withdrawn them from and so I wish it to be. service and subjection to temporal masters, on account of the excellence and authority which I have given them. Civil law has got nothing to do with their punishment; that right is placed in him whose office it is to govern under the Divine law, for these are My anointed ones, and inasmuch Do not touch My Christsj as I have said in the Scripture no greater ruin can come upon man than to constitute him
to administer It throughout the

who was

charged with the administration of the Blood, and with the choice of co-administrators who should help him

He who was

;

:

self their

punisher."

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

245

CHAPTER
How God

CXVI.

considers persecutions directed against the holy Church or her ministers as directed against Himself ; and how this sin is graver than any other.

"

IF thou shouldst ask

Me how
is

it

is

that the sin of persecu

tion

of the
it

holy Church

why

is

that the sins of clerks

graver than any other, and should not diminish the

reverence paid to them,

I should reply, Because all reverence them is not paid to them, but to Me, in virtue of the Blood Which I have given them to administer. For if it were not so, you would owe them no more reverence than to other men of the world but, on account of their ministry, you are obliged to do them reverence, and come to them, not for their own sakes, but on account of the power which I have given them, if you wish to receive the Sacraments of the holy Church for, should you neglect receiving them when you could you would die in a state ot So the reverence paid to them is paid to Me damnation. to and the glorious Blood, It being one thing with Me, by the union of the Divine nature with the human. And, as the reverence so is the irreverence, as to which I have said to thee that reverence should not be paid to them for their own sakes, but on account of the authority which I have wherefore, no man should offend them, because given them in offending them he offends Me and not them, for I have forbidden it, and have said that I do not wish My Christs to be touched by their hands. And on this account no one I do not rebel against the can excuse himself, saying

which

is

paid to

;

;

;

:

holy Church, but only against the sins of evil pastors. Such a man, lifting his mind against his leader and blinded

by

self-love,
it

does not see the truth, though indeed he really

well enough, but pretends not to, in order to deaden the sting of conscience. For he sees that, in truth, he is

sees

done

The insult is persecuting the Blood, and not Its servants. to Me, just as the reverence was My due. Wherefore
insult,

every damage,

rudeness, contempt, and blame done

246
to

THE DIALOGUE OF
them
is

ST.
;

CATHERINE
that
is

directed against

Me

to

say,

that

I

whatever is done to them, for I have said and repeat that I do not wish My Christs to be touched by them, it being My business to punish them, and not theirs. Such wicked men only prove their irreverence towards the Blood, and that they do not hold dear the Treasure Which I have given them for the salvation and life of their souls. More I could not give them than the whole of God and the whole of Man for their Food, as I have said. But, inasmuch as they did not reverence Me and My servants, they have diminished their dignity, and persecuted them, seeing in them many sins and defects, as in another
consider as done to
place
I

Me

will narrate to thee.

If

they had, in truth, reverenced

would not have risen against them for any personal defect, for no such defect can diminish the virtue of this Sacrament. Wherefore they should not diminish their reverence, and doing so they offend Me. This sin is graver than all others for many reasons, of which I will tell thee the three principal ones. One is that what they do to My servants they do to Me another is because in this way they disobey My Commandment, since I have forbidden
in them, they
;

Me

My

the Blood

servants to be touched, so they despise the virtue of Which they received in holy baptism, disobediently
I

doing that which
rising against
It

against the Blood, having lost their reverence for
putrid

have forbidden them, and become rebels It, and

members
;

with terrible persecutions. They are like cut off from the mystical body of the holy

Church wherefore, if they remain obstinate in this rebellion and irreverence, dying in the same, they receive eternal
damnation.
extremity,
fault,
if

is true that, when they are at their last they humble themselves and recognise their and wish to reconcile themselves to their leader, even
It
if

they cannot actually do so, they receive mercy. They should not, however, put off the time of conversion, because they are not sure of having it. The third reason why their
sin is graver than
all

others

is

because

it

is

committed with

deliberate malice, and because they

that they cannot act in such a way with a good conscience, and must offend Me if they do so. Wherefore, their offence is a perverse

know

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

247

pride without any corporal pleasure, though, on account of The soul is consumed. it, the body as well as the soul is

worm

consumed by the privation of grace, and gnawed by the the temporal substance is consumed of conscience in the service of the Devil, and their bodies die like those So that this sin is committed directly of the animals.
;

against Me, without any colour of their profit, but solely through malice and the

own

pleasure or
pride,

smoke of

which pride is born of sensual self-love and of that perverse fear which Pilate had, when, for fear of losing his post, he These men do the slew Christ, My only-begotten Son. All other sins are committed through simplicity, or same.
ignorance, or malice,
in

that

the

sinner

knows

the

evil

which he does, but on account of the disordinate delight, or some pleasure or profit which he finds in the sin, commits and his it, and, committing it, offends his own soul, and Me, not Me he offends, because he does pay glory neighbour. and praise to My Name his neighbour, because he does not but he does not personally give him the light of love attack Me, but offends himself, which offence displeases Me, But this sin is on account of the loss which he incurs. Other sins aimed directly at Me without any medium. are committed with some sort of colour or excuse, and by means of some one else for, as I have told thee, both sins and virtues are exercised by means of the neighbour and, since sin deprives the sinner of Me, and of his neighbour
;
;

;

;

for his neighbour is offended by the lack of love involved in the sin But, they offend Me by these indirect means.

in this case, they rational creatures

offend
I

Me

directly,

for

among

all

My

have chosen these My ministers, who are My anointed ones, as I have said to thee, ministers of the Body and Blood of My only-begotten Son, who, standing
at the altar in the person of Christ, Divine nature. your human flesh with

My

Son, consecrate

My

"

Their offence
to

is

therefore done to the
to

Word, and being

done

are one and the poor wretches persecute the Blood and This is why grave sin is deprive themselves of Its fruit. committed against Me, and not against My ministers, for I
is

Him

done

Me,

for

He and

I

same.

These

248

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

do not attribute to them either the honour or the persecu tion which they receive for My sake, for they are both
directed to Me, that
is to

say, to the glorious Blood of

My

Wherefore I say to thee, that, if all the other sins of these men were in one scale of the balance, and this one sin in the other, the scale containing their irreverence would outweigh the other, in the manner that has been said. I have manifested this to thee, so that thou mightest have greater matter of grief at the offence done to Me and the damnation of these poor wretches, so that, through your grief and sorrow, and that of My other servants, the darkness that has come on these
Son,
is

Who

one and the same with Me.

putrid members, cut off from the mystical body of the holy But I find Church, should be dissolved by My goodness.

hardly any

who

grieve over the persecution directed against
;

this glorious

and precious Blood

though

I

find

many who

shoot at

continually with the arrows of disordinate love and servile fear, and, blinded by their self-esteem, consider
that to be an

Me

honour which
is

is

a disgrace
;

;

and

that to
is

be a

disgrace which

in to

truth,

an honour

that

to say, to

humble themselves

their leader.

On

account of these
It."

sins they have risen against the Blood to persecute

CHAPTER

CXVII.

Here God speaks against those, who persecute the holy Church and His ministers, in various ways.
I HAVE said that they persecute Me, and it is true that they do so, as far as they can, in intention. But I, person ally, can receive no hurt or be in any way injured by them,
"

for I

am

like a stone which, if

it

be thrown, does not

itself

receive the blow, but returns against him who threw it. In this way the blows of their offences, which exhale a

stench towards Me, cannot really injure Me, but their arrow
returns to them poisoned with their guilt, which deprives them, in this life, of grace, and loses for them the fruit of the Blood.

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

249

And

at last, if they have not corrected themselves with holy confession and contrition 01 heart, they arrive at eternal damnation, being cut off from Me and being bound to the

For, as Devil, with whom they have leagued together. soon as the soul is deprived of grace, she is bound to sin, with a bond of hatred against virtue and love of vice ; with this bond they have placed themselves by their free will in

the hands of the Devil, and are bound to him, for in no With the same bond are other way could they be bound. the persecutors of the Blood bound one to another, and bound to the Devil as his members, having taken on them
selves the function of devils.

The

My

creatures and

draw them from

devils strive to pervert grace, and lead them

into the guilt of mortal sin, in order to infect

My

creatures

Such with the same evil which they have in themselves. men as these do the same, neither more nor less ; for, like members of the Devil, they go about subverting the sons of
the spouse of Christ, My only-begotten Son, and loosening them from the bond of charity, binding them, when deprived of the fruit of the Blood, with the miserable bond with This bond is fastened which they themselves are bound. with the knot of pride, and self-esteem, and servile fear;
for
it is

through fear of losing their temporal possessions

that they lose their grace, and fall into the greatest confu sion into which they can come, being deprived of the

dignity of the Blood.

darkness

This bond is sealed with the seal of do not know into what miseries they Where have fallen themselves, and make others to fall. correct in do not their fore, themselves, but, ignorance, they
;

for they

like blind

men, take glory in the destruction of their soul and body. Let it grieve thee inestimably, dearest daughter, to see such blindness and misery in those who have been washed in the Blood like thee, and nourished and brought up on the same Blood, at the breast of the holy Church, and, having become rebels through fear, and, under colour of correcting the defects of My ministers, whom I have forbidden them to touch, have left their mother s breast. Thou and My other servants should be in terror when you No tongue can tell hear this miserable bond spoken of.

250

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

how abominable

it is to Me, and it is the worse, because they wish to cloak and hide their own defects with the mantle of the defects of My ministers, and they do not consider that no such mantle can repair their sins to My

They might, indeed, well eyes, which see everything. enough hide them from the eyes of My creatures, but not for I loved from Me, from Whom nothing can be hidden you and knew you before you were in existence. And this is one of the reasons why the wretched men of the world do not correct themselves, because they do not really
;

believe, with the light

of a lively

faith,

that

I

see them.

they really believed that I saw their sins, and that every sin would be punished, as every virtue rewarded, as I said to thee in another place, they would not do so much

For

if

evil,

but would correct themselves of that which they have

humbly implore My mercy, and I would But they are give it them through the Blood of My Son. obstinate and reprobated by My goodness for their sins,
done, and would

and fallen into the final ruin of privation of light, and have become blind persecutors of the Blood, which persecution can find no excuse in any sin which may appear in the
ministers of the
Blood."

CHAPTER
A brief repetition
"

CXVIII.

Church and her

of the above things, concerning the holy ministers.

I HAVE told thee something, dearest daughter, of the reverence which should be paid to My anointed ones, in spite of their defects ; such reverence being paid to them, not on their own account, but because of the authority
I have given them. And, inasmuch as the mystery of the Sacrament cannot be diminished or divided by their

which

sins, the reverence due to the Treasure of the Blood, and not to them personally, should not be diminished thereby. As for those who do the contrary, I have shown thee,
"

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

251

to a small extent, how grave and displeasing to Me is their irreverence and persecution of the Blood, and I have shown thee the league which they have made against Me, bound to the service of the Devil, in order that thy grief might

increase.
is

This sin of which
persecution
of

I

that of

the

have spoken to thee in detail holy Church, and of the

Christian religion in general, by sinners who despise the This Blood, depriving themselves of the light of grace.
sin is serious,
in
detail."

and displeases Me, as

I

have narrated to thee

CHAPTER
Of the
;

CXIX.
and holy

excellence, virtues, and holy works of virtuous ministers and how such are like the sun.

"

I

WILL

now

speak to thee, in order to give a

little

refresh

ment

to thy soul,

and

to mitigate

thy

grief at the

darkness

of these miserable subjects, of the holy life of some of My ministers, of whom I have spoken to thee, who are like the

sun, for the odour of their virtues mitigates the stench of the vices of the others, and the light thereof shines in

And, by means of this light, wilt thou the be able to understand the darkness and sins of My better
their darkness.

unworthy ministers. Open then the eye of thy intellect and gaze at the Sun of Justice, and thou wilt see those glorious ministers, who, through ministering the Sun, have become like to It, as I told thee of Peter, the prince of the Apostles, who received the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. I say the same of these others, who have administered, in
the garden of the holy Church, the Light, that is to say, the the Blood of My only-begotten Son, is Himself the undivided Sun, as has been said, and all the

Body and

Who

Sacraments of the holy Church, which all give life in virtue of the Blood. Each one, placed in a different rank, has
administered, according to his state, the grace of the Holy With what have they administered it ? With the Spirit.

252

THE DIALOGUE OF
light alone ?

ST.

CATHERINE
this

light of grace,

which they have drawn from

True Light.

because the light cannot be separated from the warmth and colour of grace, wherefore a man
;

With
must none

No

either
at
all.

have the

light,

warmth, and colour of grace, or

A man

Me, Who gave him both grace and the which preserves it, and, in that light, he knows the misery and the reason of sin, that is to say, his own selflove, on which account he hates it, and thereby receives the warmth of Divine love into his affection, which follows his intellect, and he receives the colour of this glorious Light, following the doctrine of My sweet Truth, by which his
virtue

grace, and he who his intellect to know

in mortal sin is deprived of the life of is in grace has illuminated the eye of

memory

is filled

with the benefit of the Blood.

Thou

seest,

no one can receive the light without receiving the warmth and the colour, for they are united together and are one thing wherefore he cannot, as I have said to thee, have one power of his soul so ordered as to receive Me, the True Sun, unless all three powers of his soul are brought together and ordered in My Name. For, as soon as the eye of the intellect lifts itself with the pupil of faith above
therefore, that
;

sensual vision in the contemplation of Me, affection follows intellect sees and knows, and the it, loving that which the memory is filled with that which the affection loves ; and, as

soon as these powers are thus disposed, the soul participates in Me, the Sun Who illuminates her with My power, and with
the wisdom of My only-begotten Son, and the fiery See, then, that these have clemency of the Holy Spirit. taken on them the condition of the Sun, for, having clothed themselves, and filled the power of their soul with Me, the true Sun, they become like Me. The Sun illuminates them

and causes the earth of their souls to germinate with Its heat. Thus do My sweet ministers, elected and anointed and placed in the mystical body of the holy Church, in
order to administer Me, the Sun, that
is

to say, the

Body
;

and Blood of
this

My

only-begotten Son,
life

together with the

other Sacraments, which draw their

from

this

Blood
in

they do in two ways, actually, in administering the

Sacraments,

and

spiritually,

by shedding

forth

the

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

253

mystical body of the holy Church, the light of supernatural science, together with the colour of an honourable and

holy life, following the doctrine of My Truth, which they administer in the ardent love with which they cause barren
fruit, illuminating them with the light of their and driving away the darkness of their mortal sin and infidelity, by the example of their holy and regular life, and reforming the lives of those who live in disorder and darkness of sin, and in coldness, through the privation of

souls to bear

science,

So thou seest that they are the Sun, because they charity. have taken the condition of the Sun from Me, the True Sun, because, through affection of love, they are one thing with Me, and I with them, as I narrated to thee in another place, and each one has given light in the holy Church, according to the position to which I have elected him Peter with preaching and doctrine, and in the end with blood Gregory with science, and holy scripture, and with
:

;

life ; Sylvester, against the infidels, and with disputation and proving of the most holy faith, which he made in word and in deed, receiving virtue from Me. If thou turnest to Augustine, and to the glorious Thomas

the mirror of his

and Jerome, and the others, thou wilt see how much light they have thrown over this spouse, extirpating error, like lamps placed upon the candelabra, with true and perfect
humility.

And, as if famished for such food, they feed upon My honour, and the salvation of souls, upon the table of The martyrs, indeed, with blood, the most holy Cross. which blood cast up sweet perfume before My countenance ; and, with the perfume of blood, and of the virtues, and with
the light of science, they brought forth fruit in this spouse and extended the faith, and, by their means, the light of the

most

holy

faith

was rekindled

in

the

darkened.

And
on

prelates, placed in the position of the prelacy of Christ

earth, offered

Me

upright lives. most ardent love, shone in them, and in their subjects, with the light of discretion. In them, principally because they
justly paid

the sacrifice of justice with holy and The pearl of justice, with true humility, and

Me My

Name,

and, to their

due, in rendering glory and praise to My own sensuality, hatred and displeasure,

254

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
Me
and of
pride,

despising vice and embracing virtue, with love of
their neighbour.

With humility they trampled on

and, with purity of heart and of body, came, like angels, to the table of the altar, and, with sincerity of mind, celebrated,

burning in the furnace of love.

done

justice to

themselves,

And, because they first had they therefore did justice to

those under them, wishing to see them live virtuously, and correcting them without any servile fear, because they were

not thinking of themselves, but solely of My honour and the salvation of souls, like good shepherds, followers of the

Good Shepherd,

My

Truth,

Whom

I

gave you to lead your

sheep, having willed that He should give His life for you. These have followed His footsteps, and therefore did they correct them, and did not let their members become putrid
for want of correcting, but they charitably corrected them with the unction of benignity, and with the sharpness of fire, cauterising the wound of sin with reproof and penance,

or much, according to the graveness of the fault. And, order to correct it and to speak the truth, they did not even fear death. They were true gardeners who, with care
little

in

and holy

tears,

planted plants odoriferous of virtue.

took away the thorns of mortal sins, and Wherefore, those under
fear,

them

lived

in

holy, true

and

grew up

like

sweet

smelling flowers in the mystic body of the holy Church, (because they were not deprived of correction, and so were

not guilty of

sin), for

My

any
for

servile fear, being free

gardeners corrected them without from it, and without any sin,

they balanced exactly the scales of holy justice, And this reproving humbly and without human respect. is that pearl which shines in them, and which and was justice

gave peace and light in the minds of the people and caused And I holy fear to be with them, and unity of hearts. would that thou know that, more darkness and division have come into the world amongst seculars and religious and the clergy and pastors of the holy Church, through the lack of the light of justice, and the advent of the darkness of
than from any other causes. civil law, nor the divine law, can be kept in any degree without holy justice, because he who is not
injustice,
"

Neither the

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
corrected,

255

which

and does not correct others, becomes like a limb putrifies, and corrupts the whole body, because the bad physician, when it had already begun to corrupt, placed
it,

ointment immediately upon

without having

first

burnt the

wound. So, were the prelate, or any other lord having sub jects, on seeing one putrifying from the corruption of mortal sin, to apply to him the ointment of soft words of en couragement alone, without reproof, he would never cure him, but the putrefaction would rather spread to the other members, who, with him, form one body under the same But if he were a physician, good and true to those pastor. as were those glorious pastors of old, he would not souls,
give salving ointment without the fire of reproof. And, were the member still to remain obstinate in his evil doing, he would cut him off from the congregation in order that

he corrupt not the other members with the putrefaction of mortal sin. But they act not so to-day, but, in cases of evil doing, they even pretend not to see. And knowest thou wherefore ? The root of self-love is alive in them, wherefore they bear perverted and servile fear. Because
they fear to lose their position or their temporal goods, or their prelacy, they do not correct, but act like blind ones, in

way by which their position is to be kept. If would they only see that it is by holy justice they would be able to maintain it ; but they do not, because they are deprived of light. But, thinking to pre serve their position with injustice, they do not reprove the faults of those under them and they are deluded by their
that they see not the real
;

own

sensitive self-love, or by their desire for lordship and prelacy, and they correct not the faults they should correct

in others, because the

They
fear,

same or greater ones are their own. themselves comprehended in the guilt, and they therefore lose all ardour and security, and, fettered by servile
feel

they

make

believe not to see.

And, moreover,

if

they

do see they do not

correct, but allow themselves to be

over with flattering they themselves find the excuse for the guilty ones not to be punished. In such as these are fulfilled the words spoken

bound words and with many presents, and

by

My

Truth, saying

:

These are blind

and

leaders

of the

256
blind,
1

THE DIALOGUE OF
and

ST.

CATHERINE

if the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the

My sweet ministers, of whom I spoke to thee, who have the properties and condition of the sun, did not, And they and do not (if there be any now) act so. are truly suns, as I have told thee, because in them is no darkness of sin, or of ignorance, because they follow the
ditch.

doctrine of

My

Truth.

They

burn

in

the furnace of

My

love,

are not tepid, because they and because they are

despisers of the grandeurs, positions, and delights of the world. They fear not to correct, for he who does not
it, and will and he whose conscience does not reprove manfully, reprove him of guilt, does not fear.

desire lordship or prelacy will not fear to lose

"And

therefore this pearl of justice

was not dimmed

in

My

anointed ones, My Christs (of whom I have narrated to thee), but was resplendent in them, wherefore they embraced

voluntary poverty, and sought out vileness with profound humility, and cared not for scorn or villainies, or the
detractions of men,

or insult, or opprobrium, or pain,

or

torment.
"They

were cursed, and they blessed, and, with

true

patience, they bore themselves like terrestrial angels, not by nature, but by their ministry, and the supernatural grace

given to them, of administering the Body and Blood of My And they are truly angels. Because, only-begotten Son. as the angel, which I give thee to be thy guardian, ministers

and good inspirations, so were these ministers and were given by My goodness to be guardians, angels, and therefore had they their eye continually over those under them, like real guardian angels, inspiring in their hearts holy and good thoughts, and offering up for them before Me, sweet and amorous desires with continual prayer, and the doctrine of words, and with example of life. So
to thee holy

thou seest that they are angels, placed by
like lanterns in the mystic

My

body of the holy Church,

your guardians, so
direct
tions,

said.

ye blind ones may way of truth, giving you good inspira you with prayers and example of life, and doctrine as I With how much humility did they govern those
that

burning love, to be have guides to

into the

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
under them, and converse with them hope and lively faith, and therefore with
!

257

With how much

liberality, did they of the distribute to the poor the substance holy church, not fearing, or caring if for them and their subjects temporal

substance diminished.

And

they scarcely observed that

really bound to do, that is, to distribute the temporal substance to their own necessity being the poor in the church. They saved nothing, and after their death

which they were

there remained no

money

at

all,

and there were some even

who, for the sake of the poor, left the church in debt. This was because through the largeness of their charity, and of the hope that they had placed in My Providence, they were without servile fear that aught should diminish
to

is

them, either spiritual or temporal. "The sign that a creature hopes in Me and not in himself, that he does not fear with a servile fear. They who
in

themselves are the ones who fear, and are afraid of own shadow, and doubt lest the sky and earth fade away before them. With such fears as these, and a perverted hope in their own small knowledge, they spend so much miserable solicitude in acquiring and preserving

hope

their

temporal things, that they turn their back on the spiritual,

But they, miserable, faithless, proud caring not for them. ones consider not that I alone am He who provides all
things necessary for the soul and the body, and that with the same measure that My creatures hope in Me, will My

The miserable presump providence be measured to them. tuous ones do not regard the fact that I am He who is, and
they are they
their

who are not, and that they have received and every other additional grace, from My being, And therefore his labour may be reputed to Goodness. be in vain, who watches the city if it be not guarded by Me. All his labour will be vain, if he thinks by his
true that
I

labour or solicitude to keep
is

desire
I

graces which
free-will

alone keep it. It and exercise the you your being, have bestowed upon you, in virtue using the
it,

because

I

to use

I have given you, with the light of reason, because though I created you without your help I will not I loved you before you were, and save you without it.

which

R

258

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
this,

those

My

beloved ones saw and

knew

and therefore

they loved
greatly in

not when with those twelve Jews before the whole crowd, but with lively faith he believed that I being for him, no one could be against him and in the same way the others all lost their every fear, because they were not alone but were
;

feared nothing. Sylvester feared he stood before the Emperor Constantine disputing

Me ineffably, Me that they

and through

their love

hoped so

accompanied, because being in the enjoyment of love, they were in Me, and from Me they acquired the light of the wisdom of My only-begotten Son, and from Me they received the faculty to be strong and powerful against the
princes and tyrants of the world, and from Me they had the fire of the Holy Spirit, sharing the clemency and burning love of that Spirit.
"

This love was and

it,

with the light of

the companion of whosoever desires faith, with hope, with fortitude, true
is

So thou patience and long perseverance even until death. seest that because they were not alone but were accompanied

He only who feels himself to be nothing. in and alone, himself, deprived of the affection of love, hopes afraid of and is fears, every little thing, because he alone is without Me Who give supreme security to the soul who And of this possesses Me through the affection of love. did those glorious ones, My beloved, have full experience, for nothing could injure their souls; but they on the contrary could injure men and the devils, who ofttimes remained bound by the virtue and power that I had given My This was because I responded to the servants over them. and faith love, hope they had placed in Me. Thy tongue would not be sufficient to relate their virtues, neither the eye of thy intellect to see the fruit which they receive in everlasting life, and that all will receive who follow in their They are like precious stones, and as such do footsteps. in stand My presence, because I have received their they labour and poverty and the light which they shed with the odour of virtues in the mystic body of the holy church. And in the life eternal I have placed them in the greatest dignity, and they receive blessing and glory in My sight,
they feared

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

259

because they gave the example of an honourable and holy life, and with light administered the Light of the Body and Blood of My only-begotten Son, and all the Sacraments.

And

these

My

anointed ones and ministers are peculiarly

beloved by Me, on account of the dignity which I placed in them, and because this Treasure which I placed in their hands they did not hide through negligence and ignorance,

but rather recognised it to be from Me, and exercised it with care and profound humility with true and real virtues ; and because I, for the salvation of souls, having placed them in so much excellency they never rested like good shepherds from putting the sheep into the fold of the holy church, and even out of love and hunger for souls they gave themselves to die, to get them out of the hands of the devil. They made themselves infirm with those who were so that they might not be overcome with despair, infirm,

them more courage in exposing their infirmity, would ofttimes lend countenance to their infirmity and they I am infirm with thee. too, say, They wept with those who wept, and rejoiced with those who rejoiced and thus sweetly they knew to give every one his nourishment, preserving the good and rejoicing in their virtues, not being
to give
;

and

gnawed by envy, but expanded with the broadness of love for their neighbours, and those under them. They drew
the imperfect ones out of imperfection, themselves becoming imperfect and infirm with them, as I told thee, with true

and holy compassion, and correcting them and giving them penance for the sins they committed they through love endured their penance together with them. For through who more the bore love, they pain than they gave penance, who received it and there were even those who actually performed the penance, and especially when they had seen that it had appeared particularly difficult to the penitent. Wherefore by that act the difficulty became changed into
;

sweetness.

beloved ones, they made themselves subjects, being prelates, they made themselves servants, being lords, they made themselves infirm, being whole, and without
"Oh
!

My

infirmity

and the leprosy of mortal

sin,

being strong they

26o

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

the foolish and simple they and with the small insignificant. simple, And so with love they knew how to be all things to all men, and to give to each one his nourishment. What caused them to do thus ? The hunger and desire for My honour and the salvation of souls which they had conceived in Me. They ran to feed on it at the table of the holy Cross, not fleeing from or refusing any labour, but with zeal for souls and for the good of the holy church and the spread of the

made themselves weak, with
showed themselves

faith,

tribulation,

they put themselves in the midst of the thorns of and exposed themselves to every peril with true

patience, offering incense odoriferous with

and humble and continual prayers.

With

anxious desires, tears and sweat

wounds

they anointed the wounds of their neighbour, that is the of the guilt of mortal sin, which latter were perfectly
humility."

cured, the ointment so made, being received in

CHAPTER CXX.
A
"

brief repetition of the preceding chapter ; and of the reverence which should be paid to priests, whether they are good or bad.

I HAVE shown thee, dearest daughter, a sample of the excellence of good priests (for what I have shown thee is only a sample of what that excellence really is), and I have

have placed them, on account of which My ministers, not I do wish and them to be punished authority dignity of seculars on account of the hand by any personal defect, for those who punish them offend Me miserably. But I wish seculars to hold them in due reverence, not for their own sakes, as I have said, but for Mine, by reason of the Wherefore this authority which I have given them.
told thee

of the dignity in

which

I

having elected

them

for

reverence should never diminish in the

case

of priests

grows weak, any more than in the case of those virtuous ones of whose goodness I have spoken to

whose
thee
;

virtue

for all alike

have been appointed ministers of the

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
Sun
that is of the

261

Body and Blood of

My

Son, and of the
all

other Sacraments.
"This

dignity belongs to good and bad alike

have

to administer, as has been said, and perfect priests are themselves in a condition of light, that is to say, they illuminate and warm their neighbours through their love.

the

Sun

with this heat they cause virtues to spring up and I have appointed bear fruit in the souls of their subjects. them to be in very truth your guardian angels to protect you ; to inspire your hearts with good thoughts by their
doctrine reflected in the holy prayers, and to teach you and to serve life, you by administering to the thus serving you, watching over you holy Sacraments,

And

My

mirror of their

you, and inspiring you with good and holy does an angel.
"

thoughts as

See then, that besides the dignity to which I have appointed them, how worthy they are of being loved, when they also possess the adornment of virtue, as did those of whom I spoke to thee, which all are bound and obliged to possess, and in what great reverence you should hold them, for they are My beloved children and shine each as a sun in the mystical body of the holy Church by their virtues, for every virtuous man is worthy of love, and these all the more by reason of the ministry which I have placed in their
lands.

You should

love

them therefore by reason of the

virtue and dignity of the Sacrament, and by reason of that very virtue and dignity you should hate the defects of those

who live miserably in sin, but not on that account appoint yourselves their judges, which I forbid, because they are My Christs, and you ought to love and reverence the
if

You know well that authority which I have given them. a filthy and badly dressed person brought you a great treasure from which you obtained life, you would not hate
the bearer, however ragged and filthy he might be, through love of the treasure and of the lord who sent it to you.

would indeed displease you, and you would be through love of his master that he should be cleansed from his foulness and properly clothed. This,
state

His

anxious

then, is your duty according to the

demands of

charity,

and

262

THE DIALOGUE OF
I

ST.

CATHERINE

thus

priests,

wish you to act with regard to such badly ordered who, themselves filthy and clothed in garments, ragged with vice through their separation from My love, that is to say, the Sacraments bring you great Treasures from Which you obtain the life of of the holy church
grace, receiving

there

Them worthily (in spite of the great defects may be in them) through love of Me, the Eternal God, who send them to you, and through love of that life

of grace which you receive from the great treasure, by which they administer to you the whole of God and the whole of Man, that is to say, the Body and Blood of My

Son united

to

My

Divine nature.

Their sins indeed should

displease you, and you should hate them, and strive with love and holy prayer to re-clothe them, washing away their foulness with your tears that is to say, that you should
offer

re-clothe

them before them in

Me

My goodness, with

with tears and great desire, that I may the garment of charity.

Know well that I wish to do them grace, if only they will dispose themselves to receive it, and you to pray for it ; for it is not according to My will that they should administer
you the Sun being themselves in darkness, nor that they should be stripped of the garment of virtue, foully living in dishonour ; on the contrary I have given them to you, and appointed them to be earthly angels and suns, as I have
to
said.
state,
It

not being

My

will that they should

be in this

ye should pray for them, and not judge them, leaving And I, moved by your prayers, wilf their judgment to Me. do them mercy if they will only receive it, but if they do*
not correct their
ruin.
I,

life,

their dignity will be the cause of their

For

if

they do not accept the breadth of
shall terribly

My

mercy,

the

Supreme Judge,

condemn them

at their
fire."

last extremity,

and they

will be sent to the eternal

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

263

CHAPTER
Of the
"

CXXI.

sins

and

evil life of

wicked priests and ministers.

Now

listen, dearest

daughter, so that thou and

My

other

servants may have more reason for offering to Me your I will show thee humble and continual prayers for them. thou mayest direction in whatever for life their iniquitous and and prelates, look among secular religious priests, clerics, thou of and and kind, every small and old,
;

great, young wilt see nothing but offences against

mortal
hurts

sin,

which they
all,

all

and the stench of which stench, indeed, exhale;

Me

me

not at

but themselves grievously.

Up

to the

My present I thou that and refresh to thy soul, good ministers in order these wretches, and mightest the better know the misery of intolerable the how and see how grave is the reproof, as My beloved even are of which worthy,
have told thee of the excellence and virtue of
they punishment and chosen priests, on account of having virtuously used the Treasure given to them, are worthy of a greater reward than other men, and of being placed as pearls in My sight.

So contrariwise these wretches, who

shall receive a terrible

punishment. "Dost thou perceive, dearest daughter, with grief and have bitterness of heart, in what they placed their principle and foundation ? has They have placed it in their own self-love, whence
"

grown the

and the offshoot of indiscretion ; for indiscreetly do they seize honour and glory for them and delicate selves, seeking great prelacies and ornaments, abuse and render To Me they treatment for their bodies.
tree of pride
offence,

own

which is not their attributing to themselves that For to Me should that which is not Mine. and to

Me

the praise, and to them glory be given, and to My Name selves should they render hatred of their own sensuality

with true self-knowledge, deeming themselves unworthy of But so great a mystery as they have received from Me. cannot these do the contrary, for, inflated with pride, they

264

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

satiate themselves

with gnawing the earth of riches and

worldly delights, becoming mean, greedy, and avaricious towards the poor, from which miserable pride and avarice,

born of their
of souls.

own

self-love,

They only temporal things and abandon My lambs, whom I have placed in their hands, like sheep without a shepherd, and do not
feed
"

they have abandoned the care apply themselves to take care of

Sacraments of the Sacraments cannot be which taken away, or holy Church, but they do not feed their virtue lost through their defect you with hearty prayers, with hunger and desire for your Nor salvation, together with a holy and honourable life. do they feed their subjects with temporal things, that is to say, the poor with the substance of the Church, of which I one for the said to thee that three parts should be made for the and the third for another poor, priests necessities, These do the contrary, for not the uses of the Church. only do they not give to the poor the substance which they are obliged to give them, but they even rob their neighbour with simony and lust money, selling the grace of the Holy for often are to be found some of them so wicked Spirit as to refuse to give to him who is in need thereof the Mystery Which I have given them freely, and will only dispense It to those who fill their hands and persuade them with many gifts. They love their subjects for what they Their share of can get out of them, and nothing more. the Church they spend entirely on their own garments, loving to go delicately apparelled, not as clerks and religious, but as lords and courtiers. They take pains to have fine and vessels of many gold and silver for the adorn horses, ment of their dwellings, possessing that which cannot be and with ultimately retained, with much vanity of heart this disordinate vanity their heart swells, and they place
;
:

spiritually. Spiritually, indeed, they administer the

them temporally or

;

;

making of their belly their god, without and restraint, so that they promptly eating drinking fall into an impure and lascivious life. For they waste Woe woe to their wretched life with harlots that which My only-begotten Son, the sweet
all

their desire in food,

"

!

!

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
Word, acquired with such pain on the wood
Cross
;

265

of the holy

they are devourers of souls bought with the Blood

of Christ, devouring them in their great misery in many and diverse ways, and with the substance of the poor do Oh temples of the Devil, I have they feed their children.
!

life ; and you appointed you These are devils, for you have taken the work of devils. devils give in return darkness, for what they have received

to be earthly angels in this

and administering to them cruel torments, away from grace, with persecutions and drag to reduce them to the guilt of mortal in order temptations, to do what sin, striving they can to this end although no sin can occur unless the tempted soul herself wish it, yet So these wretches are not worthy they do what they can.
from their
flocks,

their

souls

;

of being called
their sin

My

ministers

;

they are incarnate devils, for

have they conformed themselves to the will of by the Devil, and do his work, at the same time administering Me, the True Sun, in the darkness of mortal sin, casting the darkness of their disordinate and criminal life over their They cause con subjects and all other rational creatures. fusion and pain in the minds of creatures, who see them living in disorder ; they are also the cause of confusion of conscience to those whom they often drag from the state of grace and the way of truth, and leading them to sin Not that he who cause them to go by the way of lies. thus follows them is on that account excused for his sin, for no one can be obliged to the guilt of mortal sin, either by invisible devils or by these visible ones ; wherefore, no
one should look at their life or imitate what they do, but as My Truth admonished you in the holy Gospel you should rather do what they say that is, you should follow the doctrine which is given you in the mystical body of the holy Church, by means of the preachers who go about
as town-criers, proclaiming My Word in the Holy Scripture. And as for the woes which these wretches deserve, and
their evil
life,

do not imitate the

latter or

seek to

inflict

the

former, for in doing so you will offend Me ; but leave them their evil life, and take doctrine, leaving their punish

My

ment

to

Me,

for I

am

the sweet Eternal

God

Who

reward

266

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.
sin.

CATHERINE
They
will

every virtue and punish every
their

not evade

punishment through the dignity of being My ministers, but on the contrary if they do not amend they will be

more severely punished than received more than others.

all

others, because they have Their sin being so terrible

they deserve the greater punishment.

See therefore that

they are in truth devils in the same way as My elect are earthly angels, inasmuch as they do angels work."

CHAPTER
How
"

CXXII.
and

injustice reigns in the above-mentioned wicked ministers ; that particularly in that they do not correct their subjects.

I

HAVE

told thee

how

in
I

My beloved
will tell thee

pearl of justice.

Now

ones there shone the how these miserable

wretches wear injustice on their breast as a buckle, which injustice both proceeds from, and is clasped with their own self-love, through which they commit injustice against their own souls and against Me, in the darkness of their in
discretion.

Me they deprive of glory, and themselves of honour and a holy life, having neither desire for the salvation of souls nor hunger for virtue. For this reason they act unjustly towards their subjects and their neighbour, and do not
"

rather they are blind and do not know ; and allow their them, subjects to sleep and lie quiet in their from their disordinate fear of offending creatures. infirmities, But they do not observe that in thus wishing to please creatures, they in reality displease them, and Me, your Sometimes indeed they do correct their Creator, as well.
correct their vices

order to cloak themselves in some rag of But they do not go to a great man who is living justice. in great and open sin, for they are afraid if they do that he will interfere with their own state and life, but they turn on some insignificant person, for they see that he can do them no harm. Thus is injustice committed through neighbour, in

A TREATISE OF PRA

267

miserable self-love, which has poisoned the whole world , and the mystical body of the holy Church, and through which the garden of My Spouse has run to seed and given birth to putrid flowers, which garden was properly cultivated at the time when the true labourers were there, that is to say, My holy ministers, and was adorned with many fragrant flowers, for the subjects led virtuous, honourable and holy
lives,
it

through the examples of their good pastors.

To-day

not so, but rather the contrary, for through wicked pastors the subjects have also become wicked. My Spouse
is
is full

of the various thorns of

many

sins, not that

she can

in

herself be infected through the stench of sin, for the virtue of the Sacraments can receive no harm, but those

who

feed at the breast of this

Spouse are infected by the

stench in their souls, losing the dignity in which I have placed them, though that dignity is not diminished in itself,
but only with regard to them.
"

Wherefore through

their sins the Blood is held of

no

account,

for seculars lose

ought to pay to them ought to do so, and their fault, even if I forgive them, is none the less on account of the sins of their pastors, who are wretched mirrors of sin, in that office in which I have placed them in order to be mirrors of virtue."
;

the due reverence which they for the Blood s sake not that they

CHAPTER
Of many other
their frequenting taverns
"

CXXIII.
;

defects of the said ministers

and and gambling and

in particular of

harlotry.

From

WHENCE comes their own

the stench that so infects
sensuality,

their souls ?
self-

which sensuality and

love have they enthroned

as

the mistress of their soul,

who

made her
general

has become sensuality s handmaid, whereas I had I speak of the free with the Blood of My Son.

freed from the servitude

manumission when the whole human race was and lordship of the Devil. Every

268

THE DIALOGUE OF
free

ST.

CATHERINE

rational creature received this grace but, over
I

set

My

anointed ones

and above it, from the servitude of the

world, and appointed them to serve Me, the eternal God, alone, and to administer the Sacraments of the holy Church, and so free have I made them, that I do not wish any

temporal lord to be their judge.
daughter,

Dost thou know, dearest
for

how

they repay
in this

Me

so

great

a

benefit ?

way by continually persecuting Me with such diverse and terrible sins that thy tongue could not narrate, and thou wouldest faint at hearing them. Certain things, however, I will tell thee of them besides that which I have already said, in order to give thee matter for weeping and compassion. They ought to remain at the table of the Cross with holy desire, feeding on the food
They repay

Me

of souls for

My honour,

and although every rational creature

should do
in

so, much more ought they whom I have chosen order to administer to you the Body and Blood of Christ

crucified,

My

only- begotten

Son, and to

give

example by feed on the food of your souls, following My But they have chosen for their great and holy desire. table the public tavern, and there, openly cursing and per
juring themselves, full of many miserable sins, like men blinded and without the light of reason, have become animals through their sins, and live lasciviously in word

their labours, of a

good and holy

you the life, and to Truth with

and deed. They do not know if there be any Divine office, and if sometimes they say it, they do so with their tongue only, their heart being far from Me. They are also rogues and cheats, and having played for their soul, and lost it to the Devil, they stake the goods of the Church, and the temporal substance which they receive by virtue of the Wherefore the blood, cheating and gambling it away. poor do not receive their due, and the Church remains unfurnished and deprived of the necessary ornaments ; for these men, having become temples of the Devil, take no But those ornaments further care of My Temple. which they ought to place in the church out of reverence of the Blood, they place in their own houses and what is worse, they do this as bridegrooms adorning their spouses,
;

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
for these incarnate

269,

demons adorn with church property

their she-devils, with

whom

they live shamelessly

in iniquity

and impurity, sending them about or keeping them with
so much so that these them, at their own pleasure wretched demons, even when they are celebrating at the altar, are not the least disturbed if their wretched she-devil
;

should come up with the rest
offering, leading their children
!

of the

people to
!

make her

Oh demons, by the hand. and more than demons if only your iniquities were more concealed from the eyes of your subjects, doing them in secret, you would indeed offend Me and hurt yourselves, but at least you would not do the harm you now do to your neighbour, laying bare your criminal life before his eyes, sa that your example gives him no reason to leave his own. sins, but rather causes him to fall into similar and greater
ones than you I require from
fall

into yourselves.
minister,

My

when he comes

Is this the purity that to celebrate at

What purity is this that he brings, who rises morning with his mind defiled, and his body corrupted with impure mortal sin, and proceeds to celebrate ? Oh t tabernacle of the Devil, where are thy matins sung devoutly in solemn choir ? Where is thy continual and holy prayer ? Where are thy night watches, during which thou disposest thyself for the holy ministry which thou hast to perform in the morning, meditating on thy self-knowledge, and deeming thyself unworthy of so great a mystery, and on thy knowledge of Me, who have made thee worthy, not through thy own merits, but have chosen thee to be My minister,,

My

altar ?

in the

through
to

My

My goodness, so that thou other creatures ?
"

mayest administer

Me

CHAPTER CXXIV.
How among the
"

beautiful vision
I

said ministers reigns unnatural sin ; and of a which this soul had on the subject.

this

WISH thee to know, dearest daughter, that I require in Sacrament from you and from them as great purity as

270
it

THE DIALOGUE OF
possible for
to

ST.

CATHERINE

man to have in this life. On your side endeavour to acquire it continually. You should you ought think that were it possible that the angelic nature should be purified, such purification would be necessary with regard to this mystery, but this is not possible, for angels need no I purification, since the poison of sin cannot infect them.
is

say this to thee in order that thou mayest see how great a purity I require from you and from them in this Sacrament, and particularly from them. But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery, and not only of that impurity to which, through the fragility of

your weak nature, you are
reason
nature),
fragility,

when

free-will

naturally inclined (although permits, can quiet the rebellion of
all

but these wretches not only do not bridle this but do worse, committing that accursed sin against

nature, and as blind and fools with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which It is not only that this sin stinks before Me, they are.
it does indeed such abomination displease that for it alone I buried five cities by a Divine judgment, My Divine justice being no longer able to endure it. This sin not only displeases Me as I have said, but also the

Who am

the

Supreme and Eternal Truth,

Me

so

much and

I

hold

it

in

made their masters. Not them because displeases they like anything their because nature but was good, originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin. They truly enough hurl the arrow poisoned with the venom of concupiscence,
devils that

whom

these wretches have

the

evil

when their victim proceeds to the actual commission of the sin, they depart for the reason and in the manner that Thou rememberest that I manifested to thee I have said.
but
before the plague how displeasing this sin was to Me, and how deeply the world was corrupted by it ; so I lifted thee

with holy desire and elevation of mind above thyself, and showed thee the whole world and, as it were, the nations thereof, and thou sawest this terrible sin and the devils
fleeing as
I

have told thee, and thou rememberest that so

great was

the pain that thou didst receive, and the stench

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
of this
sin, that

271

on

this side of death, in

thou didst seem to thyself to see no refuge which thou and My other servants

could hide so as not to be attacked by this leprosy. Thou didst see that thou couldest not remain among men, for
neither small nor great, nor old nor young, nor clerics nor
religious,

nor prelates, nor lords, nor subjects, were unIf

contaminated in body or mind by this curse. 11 1 showed thee this in general but not of individuals.
indeed there

may My servants preserved among the wicked from its infection on account of their virtue, I retain
be any of

My just wrath and do not command the rocks to roll down on them, nor the earth to swallow them up, nor the animals to devour them, nor the devils to carry them off body and soul on the contrary, I seek for ways and methods for doing them mercy, in order that they may correct their Wherefore I place in their midst My servants who life. are healthy and not leprous, so that they may pray to Me for them. Sometimes I show them these miserable sins so that they may be more careful in seeking for the salvation of sinners, offering them to Me with greater com passion and sorrow for their defects and the offence done
;

to Me, interceding with

Me

for them, as
;

I

did to thee in

the
well

way which thou knowest
when
!

and

if

thou rememberest

I

caused thee to

feel

a whiff of this stench, thou

Oh! Eternal faint, and didst say to Me, Father have mercy on me, and on Thy creatures either separate my soul from my body (for it does not seem to me that I can survive) or refresh me by showing me where I and Thy other servants can repose, so that this leprosy
didst

almost

;

may
"

not destroy
I

or injure

the

purity of our souls and

bodies.
replied to thee, turning towards thee with the eye of

My

kindness,

and

I

repeat

now

Let your repose,

My

daughter, be to render glory and praise to My Name, and to offer before Me the incense of continual prayer for these

poor wretches who are in so miserable a state, having become worthy of the Divine vengeance for their sins. Let your place of refuge be Christ crucified, My only-begotten Son ; dwell and hide yourselves in the cavern of His Side,

272

THE DIALOGUE OF
will

ST.

CATHERINE

where you

Divine nature.

taste through love for his humanity My In that open Heart you will find love for

and for your neighbour, for it was for the honour of Me, the Eternal Father, and to fulfil the obedience which I have laid on you for your salvation, that He ran to the shameful death of the Holy Cross. Seeing and tasting this love you will follow His doctrine, feeding at the table of that is, enduring through love and true the Holy Cross patience your neighbour, and all labours, torments and pains from whatever quarter they come, and in this way you will flee and escape the leprosy. This was the method which I gave thee and others, but in spite of all this the feeling of the stench did not leave thy soul, nor the dark But My Providence provided ness the eye of thy intellect.
for this, for at the

Me

communion

the

moment when thou didst receive in Body and Blood of My Son, wholly God
left

and wholly man, the stench

thee on account of the

fragrance, and the darkness left thee on account of the light which thou didst receive in this Sacrament, and by an ad

mirable effect of

My goodness the odour and taste of the Blood remained for several days in thy mouth and palate, as thou knowest. 11 See, therefore, dearest daughter, how abominable this
Me
more so
it is

in every creature. Think, then, how much among those whom I have drawn out of the world and who live in a state of continence, among whom some have left the world to enter religion, and others are

sin is to

planted

like

flowers

in

Church among

whom

are

the mystical body of the holy My ministers. Thou couldest

this sin displeases Me in of the world and private persons prac For tising continence, of whom I have spoken to you. these as lights placed on the candlestick are the admini

never understand
in

how much more

them than

men

Me, the True Sun in the light of virtue and of and honourable life, and yet they minister in darkness and are so darkened that they do not understand My Holy Scripture, which itself is illuminated because
strators of
their holy

written by My True Light, as

elect
I

with the supernatural help of Me, the I say explained to thee in another place.

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
to thee

273

that on account of their inflated pride and lasciviousness they see and understand nothing but the shell of the letter, and that they receive without any profit, because the taste of their soul is not rightly ordered, but

are

rather corrupted with self-love and pride, and their reins full of impurity; for they desire to fulfil their disordinate

delights, committing their sins publicly and without shame ; and in addition to all this, so full are they of greed and

avarice that they also commit usury which I have forbidden. Miserable indeed will those be who commit
it."

CHAPTER CXXV.
How, through
correction
evils not
;

the above-mentioned defects, subjects do not receive and of the defects of religious and how, from these
;

being corrected,

many

others follow.

"

How

can these
the

men
sins

full

of such terrible sins do justice

to,

their subjects ? reprove They cannot, because their sins take from them the ardent zeal of holy And if on some occasion they should do so, their justice.

or

of

subjects,

who

are their companions in sin, can reply,
I

Phy

sician, first

heal thyself, and then heal me, then

will take

This man is in a and he blames me. He does am, yet badly who reproves only with words and not with a good and well-ordered life. Not that he should not, whether he be good or evil in himself, reprove what is wrong in his subject, but he does wrong in not also correcting him with And much worse does he a holy and honourable example. who does not receive the reproof humbly, however it be given him, whether by a good or an evil pastor he injures himself and no one else, for he alone will be punished for
the medicine which

thou givest me.

worse

state than

I

;

his

because

All these evils, dearest daughter, arrive pastors do not correct their flocks with a good and holy example. Because they are do they not ? blinded by self-love, in which are founded all their iniquities,
sins.

own

my

Why

274

THE DIALOGUE OF
clerics
else,

ST.

CATHERINE
alike,

and subjects, pastors,
nothing
than

and religious
Alas
!

think of
dis-

how

they

may accomplish

their

ordinate delights and pleasures. where is the obedience of religious

sweet daughter, who have been placed in holy religion like angels, and are become worse than devils ? I have placed them there to announce My word in doctrine and in truth, and they cry out with the sound of words alone, and so produce no fruit in the hearts of their hearers.
Their preaching
is

made

rather for the pleasure of men,

their ears, than to honour. Wherefore, they do not make it their study to preach goodness of life, but rather to discourse with polished wit. Such as these

and

to tickle

My

do not truly sow My seed, because they take no pains to For not having uprooted root out vices and plant virtues. the thorns out of their own garden, they take no pains to All their delight is in do so out of their neighbour s. adorning their bodies and their cells, and in hurrying to and And the same thing happens to them fro about the city. as to a fish which dies when taken out of water. So die these religious who leave their cell of which they should make a heaven, and wander with their useless and dis honourable life through the wards of the city, seeking out the houses of their relations, and of other seculars, according to the pleasure of their wretched subjects and wicked And since superiors who hold them in so loose a leash. these miserable pastors do not mind seeing their religious subject in the hands of she-devils, they often themselves And sometimes when they know give him up to them. that they are incarnate devils they will send them to the monasteries to those who are incarnate she-devils, and thus one ruins the other with many subtle devices and frauds. And the principle of their life the Devil conceals under the
cover of devotion, but the fruits of their devotions appear very soon. First are seen stinking flowers of dishonourable thoughts, and the leaves of corrupt words, and then they fulfil their miserable desires, and thou knowest well what

And often they carry it so one and the other, leave their religion, and become public rogues and harlots.
fruits follow,

namely, children.

far that both

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
"

275

All these and

kept their eye on their subjects, them go loose, and themselves pushed them into sin, and have made as if they did not see their miseries, or that their subject was wearied with his cell and so through their double fault the subject dies. Thy tongue could not narrate with what terrible sins and in what miserable ways they offend Me. They have become the arms of the Devil, and with their stench they poison everything within, that is, in their monastery, and without
superiors,

many who have not
let

other evils are caused by worthless

but have rather

;

among

seculars.

They

and each one wishes to be the greater.
to possess

are deprived of fraternal charity, Each one desires

something, acting contrary to obedience and the

vow which

they have taken. They have promised to observe the rule of their order, and they break it, and not only do they not observe the rule themselves but they fall
like

hungry wolves upon the lambs, who wish to observe it, mocking them and jeering at them. These wretches think to cover their own sins with the persecutions, mockery and insult that they deal out to good religious who observe the
doing so they expose themselves much more. a state have come the gardens of holy religious for orders holy they are in themselves, having been founded the by Holy Spirit, and indeed the order in itself cannot be
rule, but in
"

To such
;

through the sins of subject or superior. Wherefore he who wishes to enter a religious order should not be astonished at its evil members, but should continue

spoilt or corrupted

on

his way reposing in the arms of the order, which is not, and cannot become weak in itself, observing his rule to the I have said to thee that the gardens of day of his death. the holy religious orders have come to such a state, through evil directors and wicked subjects, that they do not keep or

observe their rule in purity but break it, neither observing their customs or their ceremonies, which they rather ordain

and observe for the pleasure of seculars wishing to please them in order to cloak their own sins. "See therefore that they do not fulfil their first vow of obedience to observe their rule, of which obedience I will
speak
to thee in another place.

They

also take the

vow

of

276

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

voluntary poverty and of continence. How do they observe these ? Marvel at the private possessions and sums of which each one keeps in private, far from the money
universal love with which he should share his temporal and spiritual substance with his brethren, according to the

commands
these

of charity, and of the rule of his order.

But
cattle

men wish

only to

fatten themselves

and their

(one beast feeding the other) while their poor brother dies of cold and hunger, so that their garments may be comfort
find

Do not think to ably lined, and they may have good food. such a one at the poor table of the refectory ; his delight is to be where he can fill himself with meat, and

satisfy his greediness.

He

of course finds

it

impossible to

observe the third

vow
;

an unchaste mind Much harm and so goes from bad to worse. also comes from the evil of their possessions, for if they had nothing to spend, they could not live in such disorder, and would not have these dangerous friendships, for not having the wherewithal to make presents, they would not retain these friendships, which are based on the love of gifts or some delight or pleasure which the one person receives from the other, and not on perfect Oh wretched ones, who have come, to such charity. misery through their sins, having been placed by Me in such high dignity, they flee from the choir as if it were poison, and if they are there sing with their voice alone, their heart being far from Me. As to the table of the altar, they have made it their habit to approach it without any proper dispositions, as if it were a table for corporal food. All these evils and many others of which I will not speak further to thee, so that thy ears may not itch, follow from the sinfulness of wicked pastors who do not correct or punish the sins of their subjects, and are not careful or zealous that the rule of their order should be observed, because they themselves do not observe it. They will even those wish who to observe for their stone, great obedience, the rule, punishing them for the faults which they have
lascivious,
!

of continence, for a full belly makes being heated and disordered he becomes

not committed.

And

all this

they do, because the pearl of

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

277

justice does not shine in them, but rather injustice. Where fore they unjustly give to him who deserves grace and

kindness,

penance
of
the

and
Devil

hatred,
like

and

to

those

who

are
love,

members

themselves

they give

pleasure, and position, placing in their hands the dignities Like blind men they live, and like blind men of the order.

And if they distribute dignities, and govern their subjects. they do not correct themselves of this blindness, they
eventually arrive at the darkness of eternal damnation, and have to give account to Me, the supreme Judge of the souls A bad account is all that they can of their subjects. render, and therefore they receive justly from Me that which they have deserved."

CHAPTER CXXVI.
How among these
"

wicked ministers reigns the

sin of lustfulness.

I

HAVE given
of those

thee, dearest
live in

life

who

daughter, a slight idea of the holy religion, I have shown thee

how

miserably they live in their order, clothed like sheep, I now return to but being in reality rapacious wolves.

holy Church, to lament with thee over their sins, over and above what I have narrated to thee, founded on three columns of vice, Impurity,
Pride, and Cupidity, through which cupidity they As I have already told the grace of the Holy Spirit. thee, concerning these three vices, one depends on the other,
inflated
sell

the clerics and ministers of the

As and the foundation of these three columns is self-love. long as these three columns stand erect and do not fall to
the earth, by force of the love of virtue they are sufficient to keep the mind firm and obstinate in every other vice, for as I

have told thee, all the vices grow out of self-love, because from self-love is born the principal vice of pride, and a proud man is deprived of charity. And from pride he goes on to impurity and avarice, and so enchains himself with the Devil s fetters. Now observe, dearest daughter, with what pride and filthiness they defile their minds and bodies of

278

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

which

I have But there is already told thee somewhat. another thing that I would tell thee, in order that thou mayest know better the fountain of My mercy, and have

greater compassion on these wretches when thou meetest them. Some of them are such devils that they not only do not reverence the sacrament, or hold dear the excellent
if

which I have placed them by My goodness, but as out of their minds with guilty love for some creature, being unable to obtain what they desire, will use devilish
state in

incantations, and will make enchantments with the very sacrament that is given you for the food of life, in order to fulfil their wretched and dishonourable thoughts, and make
their will take effect.

And

those lambs whose souls and

bodies they should feed so carefully they torment in such ways as these and many others, which I will pass over in

order not to give thee more pain ; for as thou knowest they cause them to lose their senses, their will being forced to do that which they do not wish, through the spell which
this incarnate devil

has cast over them

;

sometimes also their

bodies

suffer

they make many other miserable
I

very gravely through the resistance which to themselves. What is the cause of this, and
evils,

of which as they knowest them

need not
It is

tell

thee ? Their dishonourable and

wretched

life.

the flesh, dearest daughter, that flesh which is exalted above all the choirs of the angels in My divine Nature united to your humanity, which these men give up

to

such misery.

Oh, abominable and wretched men, no

man, but a brute beast, that thou givest thy flesh, anointed and consecrated to Me, to harlots and worse. From thy
flesh

whole human race was taken which Adam wound had made by his sin, on the away \vood of the most holy Cross, by the wounded body of My only begotten Son Oh, wretched man, He has done
as from that of the

the

!

thee honour, and thou puttest Him to shame. He has healed thy wounds with His blood, and has further made thee His minister, and thou persecutest Him with lascivious and dishonourable sins. The Good Shepherd has washed

His lambs in His blood, and thou defilest those who are pure, and doest all thou canst to cast them on to the dung-

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
hill.

279

It is thy duty to be a mirror of honour, and thou art a mirror of shame. Thou hast directed all the members of

thy body to work wickedness, and doest the contrary of
that which My truth did for thee. I endured that His eyes should be veiled, for thy better illumination, and with thy lascivious eyes thou aimest poisoned arrows at thy own soul, and the heart of those on whom thou gazest with such

miserable passion.
"I

endured that

My Son

should drink gall and vinegar, and

thou, like a disordered animal, delightest thyself in delicate

viands,

making of thy belly thy god the foolish language of dishonour dwells on thy tongue, with which thou art bound to counsel thy neighbour, to announce My word, and heartily
;

recite the divine office. Yet I perceive nothing but the stench of thy profanity, of thy constant blasphemy, for thou swearest and perjurest thyself like an auctioneer. I endured

My Son s hands should be bound, in order to set thee and the whole race of man free from the bonds of sin, and thy hands which have been anointed and consecrated, and administer the most holy sacrament, are hideously occupied
that
in

loathsome touches.
"All

directed to the service of the Devil.

and

I

thy actions, of which thy hands are a true type, are Oh, wretched man, have placed thee in such dignity to serve Me only and
!

I was willing that My Son s feet, every rational creature should be fastened to the cross, so as to make for thee a staircase of His body, and that His side should be opened that thou mightest see the secret of His heart, which I gave

you as a hostelry always open that you might see and taste the ineffable love which I had for you, finding My divine nature there united to your humanity. See then that the blood of which thou art the minister has become a bath to cleanse your iniquities, and thou of thy heart hast made a devils temple, and thy love, signified by thy feet, offers to Me nothing but the stench of thy wickedness and thy insults, for the feet of thy affection conduct thy soul nowhere but into devils houses. Thus with the whole of thy body

what He

thou persecutest the body of My Son, doing the contrary of did, and of what thou and all My creatures are

2 8o

THE DIALOGUE OF
to do.

ST.

CATHERINE

bound
false

The instruments
for the three

harmony,

of thy body give out a powers of thy soul are assembled

it is thy duty to assemble name. Thy memory, which should be full of My the benefits which thou hast received from Me, is filled with The eye of thy intellect, dishonour and many other evils. which thou shouldest fix with the light of faith on the object

in the

name

of the Devil, while

them

in

of Christ crucified, My only begotten Son, whose minister thou the vain and miserable delights, art, is rather fixed on
dignities,
affection, which thou hast medium, any of in the love of and creatures, miserably placed thy own more cattle lovest than Me. and thou even body, thy very What proves this to Me ? Thy impatience towards Me, when I take from thee something thou lovest much, and thy displeasure toward thy neighbour, for when thou thinkest to have received some temporal loss from him, hating him and cursing him, thou leavest My love and his. Oh,

and riches of the world.

Thy

should

love

Me

alone

without

unhappy man
fire

that thou art
love,

!

Thou

art the minister of the

of

My

divine

and

for the sake of thy disordinate

delights,

and the

trifling loss

This, dearest daughter, thy neighbour, thou losest it. of those three miserable columns of which I spoke to

which may be caused thee by is one
thee."

CHAPTER CXXVII.
How
avarice reigns

money with

among the said ministers, who not only lend usury, but also sell and buy benefices and prelacies ;
in

and of the evils which have been brought about by this cupidity.
"Now I

Holy Church

Avarice,

speak to thee of the second column, that is through which what My Son gave, with such boundless generosity, is kept in narrow limits through For thou seest His body all open on the wood of greed. the Cross, pouring forth blood from every part, and that
will

He

has not redeemed you with gold or

silver, but

with His

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

281

Not a part only Blood, through the greatness of His love. of the world, but the whole human race, past, present, and to come, was contained in the satisfaction of that sacrifice.
to none of you would the Blood be administered, or the of divine love given, had He not first administered and Which He did by virtue of My divine Nature given them. to your humanity, and of this Blood so united perfectly
fire

And

Me by the greatness of My love, I have made And so great are thy oh wretched thee, man, a minister. avarice and cupidity that that which My Son acquired on the Cross, namely, the souls redeemed with such love, and that which My Son has given thee, in making thee a minister of the Blood, thou, wretched man that thou art, hast confined in such narrow limits, that in thy avarice thou puttest up the grace of the Holy Spirit to be sold, obliging thy subjects, when they beg it of thee, to buy from thee what thou hast
united to
hast not directed thy appetite but to devour money, and so My honour, hast thou fastened that which thou hast received closely up with such generosity that neither I nor thy neighbour receive
gift.

received as a free

Thou

to eat souls for

The temporal anything from thee by free grace or love. substance which thou receivest for the sake of this Blood,
thou acceptest with great generosity, but, wretched miser that thou art, thou art kind only to thyself, and like a thief and a robber worthy of eternal death, thou dost embezzle
the property of the poor, and of holy Church, and dost spend it in luxurious delights with shameless men and

and the education of thy where are your real children, the wretches, Where sweet and royal virtues which you ought to have ? Where is the fiery charity with which ycu should minister ? is the yearning desire for My honour, and the salvation of souls ? Where is the heart-breaking sorrow with which should see the infernal wolf carrying off your lambs ? you You have none of these things, for in your narrow hearts there is no love for Me, or for them. You only love your selves with sensual self-love, with which you poison You yourselves are the devils from yourselves and others.
relations

women, and on thy

children.

Oh

!

hell,

who swallow up

souls with disordinate love

;

nothing

282

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

else gives zest to your appetites. Wherefore it is no cause of trouble to you, that the invisible devil should carry them

you yourselves being visible devils, and the means by which they are sent to hell. You clothe and fatten your and the other devils with selves, you, with the property of the church, and also your fine horses which you keep for your disordinate delight, and not for any real necessity, for which indeed you might justly keep them. These are the
off,

proper delights of

men

of the world, but your joys should

and sick, helping them in their and needs for this and nothing else have spiritual temporal I made you My ministers and placed you in such dignity. But having become brute beasts yourselves, you place your If you could but see the tor delight in other animals. ments which are prepared for you, if you do not amend, you would not do so you would rather repent of what you have done in the past, and would reform your present See then, dearest daughter, what right I have to conduct. lament over these wretches, and how generously I have behaved to them, and how meanly they treat Me. Is there are 1 more have said to there ? Yes As thee, anything
consist in visiting the poor
; ;
!

some who lend money with usury not that they put out an awning like public usurers, but in many subtle ways
;

time to their neighbour in their cupidity, which no thing way lawful. If he should receive some small in present payment over and above the value of the service which he has rendered, in lending money to his neighbour
will

they

sell

is in

(it

being received as part of the value), this also

is

usury,

and so would be everything else that he should receive in payment for waiting, as has been said. And I have ap pointed this wretched man to forbid seculars to do so, but he himself does the same and more also. How then should any one go to him for counsel on this matter ? when he is himself in like fault, and has lost the light of reason, on which account the counsel which he gives is darkened by the passion dwelling in his soul. These and many other sins are born in his narrow greedy heart and the words said by My truth when he entered the temple may be re peated here. He found men selling and buying, and, driving
;

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
:

283

which

them out with a lash of cords, said Of my Fathers House, is a House of Prayer, ye have made a den of thieves.
seest well, sweetest daughter, that they

Thou

who

act thus

do indeed turn My church, which is a place of prayer, into a den of robbers. They buy and sell and make merchandise of the grace of the Holy Spirit. For thou seest that those who desire prelacies and benefices in the holy Church, buy them with many presents, offering whatever commodities or moneys they happen to possess. And the wretched sellers do not consider whether the buyer is good or evil, but, out of complaisance and love of the gift which they have received,
strive to place this putrid plant in the garden of the holy Church ; and to this end these wretches will give a good

account of him to the Christ on earth, so that both of them use falseness and cheating towards the Christ on earth on
a point on which they should approach him with the whole But if the vicar of My Son should perceive simple truth.

ought to punish them, and from the one take he do not amend his evil life ; and as for away the other who buys, it would be well that he should be sent to prison, as his part of the bargain, so that he may be corrected for his sin, and that others may take warning and be afraid, so that no one else may imitate him. If the Christ on earth do this, he does his duty, and if he does not, his sin will not be unpunished when he has to give an
their sins, he
his dignity if

account before

Me

of his flock.

to-day this is not done,

Church has do not seek
life

fallen
to

Believe Me, My daughter, and it is on this account that My into such sins and abominations. They

of those to
all

know, or try to investigate, the good or evil whom they give prelacies, and if they do

seek at

to find out, they ask questions of those

who

are

give nothing but good testimony, because they themselves have similar defects, and think of nothing else except dignity of position, and gentility and riches and polished conversation. Worse than all, it will

as bad as themselves,

who

sometimes be alleged as a motive to the Consistory that the What devilish doings person in question is beautiful. should seek and the ornament They beauty of virtue, and rather look at the of the beauty body. they They should
!

284

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

seek poor and humble persons who avoid prelacies in their humility, and they choose those who seek them in vanity

They admire knowledge. Knowledge and good perfect when a learned person is also But if knowledge humble in life. and good, honourable, be joined with a proud, dishonourable, and wicked life it is a poison, and the Holy Scripture does not mean otherwise in its spiritual sense. To one in darkness it seems to me so, because he has lost the light of reason and has obscured the eye of his intellect, with which supernatural light the Holy Scripture was originally written, and should be understood, as I said to thee, more See then that science, good in clearly in another place. is in him not who does not use it aright it rather so itself, for him a if he will not amend his life. fire lights penal should rather seek out men of good and therefore They life than learned men who live evilly, but they do the holy Those besides who, contrary. being good and virtuous, are in as fools, and the poor they learning, they despise great because have avoid, nothing wherewith to pay them. they in that See, therefore, My house, which ought to be a house of prayer, and where the pearl of justice ought to shine, together with the light of learning, honour, and holiness, and the odour of truth, lies abound. These men should practise voluntary poverty, and watch over souls with true solicitude, snatching them from but they, on the contrary, seek for the hands of devils riches and take such care of temporal things that they have altogether abandoned spiritual things, and pay no attention to anything but gambling and laughter and the increase The wretched fools do not of their temporal substance. is the to lose it, whereas if they that this way perceive abounded in virtue, and applied themselves to the care of spiritual matters as they ought to do, they would abound And My spouse has had many rebellions in temporalities. to suffer on account of temporalities, which she ought not to have had. My servants should leave the dead to bury the dead, and follow the doctrine of My Truth, and carry
inflated

and

pride.

in itself is

;

"

;

out in themselves

My

will

;

that is to

say,

they should

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
perform the duty
I

285

have given them, whereas these men do

the contrary, for they bury these dead and transitory things with disordinate affection and solicitude, taking from men of

This is displeasing to the world their proper occupation. Me and hurtful to holy Church ; to worldly men, therefore, they should leave these things, and let one corpse bury
the other
that is to say,
let

those whose duty

it

is

take

charge of temporal things.
"Why

did

I

say,

let

the dead bury the
in

word dead should here be understood
way, when he

dead? The two ways in one
:

administers temporal things does so in the guilt of mortal sin, by the disordinate affection and care which he has for them. The administration of temporal
affairs

who

may

also be called dead, because
is
it

body, which
in so far as
latter is

it belongs to the a dead thing, having no life in itself except participates in the life of the soul while the

with the body, and no more.

My

anointed ones,

therefore,

who ought

to live like angels, should leave these

dead things to the dead, and should themselves govern souls who are living, and never die as regards their essence, administering to them the sacraments and gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, and feeding them with the spiritual food of a good and holy example. In this way My house would be indeed a house of prayer, abounding in their But since they do not act thus, but graces and virtues. the contrary, I can truly say that My house has become a den of thieves, for they have become merchants with their and My church has also become a avaricious bargaining cattle shed, for they live in their dishonour like brute beasts. They have made My church into a stable, and lie
;

there in the

filth

of their impurity, for they keep their she-

devils in the church as a bridegroom his spouse in his

house.

See, then,

how much

evil

(and there

is

own much more

beyond comparison with what I have told thee) grows from these two foetid and stinking columns impurity and
cupidity."

286

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
How
;

CXXVIII.

pride reigns among these ministers, by which they lose their knowledge and how, having lost their knowledge, they fall into the sin of seeming to consecrate, while they do not really do so.

WILL now speak to thee of the third column which I have placed last, for it is both pride
"

I

that of
last

and

first,

for all
all

the vices are
life

flavoured

virtues

receive

from charity.

with pride, as the Pride is born and

nourished from sensual self-love, of which I said to thee, that it was the foundation of these three columns, and of all the evils which are committed by creatures, for he who
loves himself with disordinate love, is deprived of My love. and not loving Me he offends Me, because he does not

observe the
is

commandment

above everything, and one
the

s

of the law, which is to love Me This neighbour as one s self.

reason

why

those

who

love

themselves with a

sensual love neither serve nor love Me, but the world ; for neither sensual love nor the world have conformity with There being no conformity between Me and the Me.

and serves the it must needs be that he who loves world with sensual love, should hate Me while he who For this reason My Truth loves Me truly hates the world.
world,
;

said

:

No

he will

not

one can serve two masters, for if he serve the one, See then how self-love content the other

deprives the soul of My love, and clothes it with the vice of pride, whence through the principle of self-love is borne
I grieve over this in all My rational every kind of sin. creatures, but particularly in My anointed ones, who ought to be humble, not only because every one should possess

the virtue

of humility, which nourishes

charity,

but also

because they have become the ministers of the humble and Are they not immaculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son. ashamed, and for that matter should not the whole human
race be ashamed, when they see Me, God, humbled to man, They giving you the Word, My Son, in your own flesh ?

see

My Word

eagerly humbling Himself to the shameful

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

287

head

His death of the cross, in obedience to My commands. is bent to salute you, His crown is for your adorn ment, His arms are open to embrace you, His feet are nailed, so that He may never leave you, and thou, oh
!

wretched man,

who

art the minister of this

generosity and

humility, shouldest embrace the cross ; but thou fliest it, Thou shouldest and embracest instead impure women.

stand firm and stable, following the doctrine of My Word, nailing thy heart and mind to Him, and thou swayest about

wind ; if the wind be thou movest with disordinate joy, and if it be prosperous adverse thou movest with impatience, thus drawing forth
for every cause like a leaf before the

marrow of pride, which is impatience, for whereas the marrow of charity is patience, the marrow of pride is im
the
patience, wherefore
fell

proud and angry people are disturbed

Pride is so displeasing to when an angel became proud from Heaven Me, that not in but fell to the depths of Hell, did rise Heaven, pride he Truth said that who should exalt himself wherefore My (that is, by pride) should be humbled, and that he who In all people pride is humbled himself should be exalted. to more so in Me, but My ministers, as I have displeasing

and scandalised at everything.
it

;

to

have placed them in a humble position while they do just the administer the humble lamb How is such a wretched priest not ashamed to contrary.
said to thee, for
I
;

be proud, when he sees Me humble to you, giving you My Word, My only begotten Son, to be humbled, through obedience to Me, to the shameful death of the Cross, of which Word He has been made the minister. My Son bows His head, and this wretch lifts his head against Me

and his neighbour, and from the humble lamb that he should be, he has become a ram with the horns of pride, Oh unhappy man, butting against every one he meets. Is this, thou dost not reflect, thou canst not escape Me. then, the duty that I have laid upon thee, to butt against Me with the horn of thy pride, injuring Me and thy neigh Is this bour, turning against him with ignorant injuries ? the mildness with which thou shouldest celebrate the body and blood of Christ, My Son ? Thou hast become as it
!

288

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

were a wild animal without fear of Me. Thou devourest in and livest and hast become an thy neighbour quarrels of thee those who serve and are creatures, accepting acceptor
useful to thee, or others who please thee, because their life the same as thine, whom on the contrary thou shouldest correct, despising their sins, but thou rather givest them
is

the example of doing what they do and worse also. If thou wert good, thou wouldest correct them, but inasmuch as thou art evil, thy neighbour s defects do not displease it is the humble and virtuous thee, and thou lettest him be
;

Thou fleest them and reason thou despisest. poor indeed thou shouldest not do so thou avoidest ably, though them because the stench of thy vice cannot endure the
;

whom

seest

odour of their virtue My poor ones

;

at

thou deemest thyself insulted if thou thou eludest their need thy door
;

of thy visitation, seeing them die of hunger rather than And all this is caused by the horns of pride help them. which will not bend themselves to a little humility. Wlvy

Because thou hast in no way cast will they not bend ? from thyself self-love which nourishes pride, and therefore wilt not condescend to administer to the poor either thy
in return.

temporal or spiritual substance without receiving something Oh cursed pride, based on self-love, how hast
!

thou blinded the eye of their intellect, that while they seem to love themselves and be tender to themselves, they are in

seem to gain, they are losing, to enjoy delights and riches and great dignities, they are really in the greatest poverty and misery, for they are deprived of the riches of virtue and have fallen
truth cruel, that while they

and while they seem

from the heights of grace into the depths of mortal

sin.

They seem

to see, but are

themselves nor Me.

They

blind, for they know neither do not know their own condi

which I have placed them, nor the if they did they would not make the for of world, fragility What has deprived them of know of themselves. gods have thus become devils, having ? Pride and ledge they
tion nor the dignity in

And been chosen by Me to be earthly angels in this life. of heaven fall from the into the of dark depths they height ness, and their darkness and iniquity are multiplied to such

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

289

an extent that they sometimes fall into a sin of which I Some of them are such incarnate devils will speak to thee. that they often appear to consecrate, when they do not in reality, through fear of My judgment, and to free themselves Such a man rises in the from any bridle and fear of sin. morning from impurity, having passed the preceding evening in disordinate banqueting, he is obliged to satisfy the people, and considering his own iniquities, sees that he cannot cele brate with a good conscience ; wherefore he fears My judg
ment, not through hatred of vice, but through self-love. See, dearest daughter, how blind he is ; he does not have
recourse to contrition, with hatred of sin and a firm purpose of amendment ; he takes the alternative remedy of not con

And the blind man does not see that his error secrating. and sin is greater than before, for he makes the congrega tion commit idolatry, causing them to adore an unconsecrated
it were the body and blood of Christ, My onlyNo ; the Host begotten Son, wholly God and wholly man. is indeed this when it is consecrated, but otherwise it is

host, as if

only bread.
they do not correct themselves, every grace of their state will turn to their perdition. What should the congregation do in order
I

See, now, how great the patience with which
"

is this

abomination, and
it.

how great

endure

But

if

not to

fall

into such a snare ?
:

They should pray under

has said that which he ought to say, I truly believe that Thou art Christ the Son of the living God, given to me as food by the fire of Thine inestimable charity ; and in memory of Thy most sweet
condition in this wise
If this minister

passion, and the great benefit of the blood which Thou didst shed with such fire of love to wash away our iniquities.

them

means the blindness of the priest will not bring into darkness, causing them to adore one thing for another, the guilt will attach to the miserable minister alone,

By

this

the congregation will only commit a material mistake. Oh sweetest daughter, what prevents the earth from swallowing

!

them up ? What prevents My power from turning them into immovable statues before all the people for their greater confusion ? My mercy. And I restrain Myself that is
T

290
to say,
I

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

of

conquer and restrain My divine justice by the force My mercy. But these obstinate devils neither know nor see My mercy, but being blinded by pride think that their
office is
it

have

given them of their due, whereas in reality they only by My free grace."

CHAPTER CXXIX
Of many other
sins

which are committed through pride and
self-love.

"

I

HAVE

told thee all this in order to give the

more matter

for bitter grief and weeping over their blindness in that they remain in a state of damnation, and that thou mayest

the better
security in

know My mercy

to place

by

faith

the greatest

it, offering them, that is, the ministers of the and all the world, before Me, praying to Me Church Holy And the more thou offerest to to have mercy upon them.

Me for them, sorrowful and amorous desires, the more wilt Because that thou show the love which thou hast for Me. service which neither thou nor My other servants can fulfil
do and show by means of them, and then Myself be constrained by the desire, prayers, and and I will have mercy on My spouse, tears of My servants her with The good good and holy pastors. reforming reform force will those under her, correcting by pastors all the evils which are because done nearly them, by the subjects are the fault of bad pastors, because had they corrected, and had the pearl of justice shone in them with an honourable and holy life, those evils would not have And dost thou know what results come from these been. It is because the one followed in the perverse methods ?
to
will I let
;

Me you must

footsteps of the other that the subjects are not obedient, because when the prelate was subject he was not obedient
to his prelate wherefore, he receives from his subject that which he rendered, and because he was a bad subject he is a bad pastor.
;

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
"

291

Pride founded in self-love

is

the cause of this and of

every other sin.
is

Ignorant and proud as he was when he was a subject, he And his ignorance is that he is a prelate. so great that, as if he were blind, he will give the office of
"

more so now

priest to a

man

not

know

his office

so unlearned that he can scarcely read and does and ofttimes, through his ignorance, not ;

and

knowing well the sacramental words, he will not consecrate, in this way he commits the same sin of not consecrating
that

those committed who, through malice, pretended to

They ought to choose men in founded and virtue, who know and under experienced but they do quite the contrary, and stand what they say do not seek them for their knowledge and experience, but for the affection they bear them, and it appears that they And they do not aim select children and not mature men. at having men of honourable and holy life who recognise the dignity to which they are called and the great mystery that they have to celebrate, but they aim solely at multiply
consecrate without doing so.
;

ing persons, but without regard to virtue. They are blind and gatherers together of the blind, and they see not that I shall require from them an account
"

and for the other things in the last extremity of and death, they will see that after they have thus made the priests dark, and given to them the care of souls that they
for this,

knew
"

how to take care For how could such as
not

of themselves.

these
it

who do

sin, correct and recognise And the sheep who and would not act against themselves. have not a shepherd who cares for them easily stray and And are ofttimes torn in pieces and devoured by wolves. care to because the shepherd is a bad one he takes no keep a dog who barks when he sees the wolf coming, but he And so these ministers keeps such a one as he is himself. and pastors having no solicitude, and not holding in their hand the stick of justice wherewith to correct the dog of conscience, he does not bark, and so they do not with care reprove themselves, and do not endeavour to bring back to the way of Truth and Justice those sheep who have strayed

own

in others ?

not recognise their They could not

292

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

it in not observing My commandments, and so prevent them from being devoured by the infernal wolf. Did this dog bark, and were their sins laid upon them with the rod of holy justice, their sheep would be delivered and would But because he is a shepherd without return to the fold. a rod, and without the dog of conscience, the sheep perish, and he does not trouble himself, because the dog of his conscience is enfeebled, and therefore does not bark, because he has not been given any food.

from

The food that should be given to this dog is the food of the Lamb, My Son, because in so far as the memory, as the vessel of the soul, is full of the Blood, so does the con
"

science feed on

it,

that is to say, that through the
is

memory

enflamed with hatred of vice and the love of virtue, the which hatred and love purify the soul from the stain of mortal sin, and give so much vigour
to

of the Blood the soul

the conscience that

it

watches over the soul so that

if

that is to say sin should wish to enter, not only the affection but even the mind, like a watch-dog, warns with its prick at the dictation of reason, and on this

any enemy

account

the

man

does not commit the

sin,

for

he

who

But such wicked possesses conscience, possesses justice. men as these, not worthy to be called My ministers or even
having become animals through their without a watch-dog through their weakness, and are also without the rod of holy justice, having been made so timid by their sins that a mere shadow frightens them,
rational
creatures,
sins, are

not with holy but with servile fear. They ought to be ready to die in order to snatch souls from the hand of the Devil, but on the contrary they place them there themselves,

depriving them of the doctrine of a good and holy life, and being unable to endure an unkind word for their salvation.

Often the soul of a subject will be entangled in very grave sins, and he will have to make satisfaction to his neighbour,

and

in order not to deprive his family through the disordinate love which he bears to them, he will not pay his debt ; his life will be known to a great number of people

and

also to his wretched priest,

who

will

ticularly informed,

so

that,

like

the physician

have been par which he

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
should be, he

293

may

heal that soul.

The wretched

minister

will go to do his duty, and for one rough word said to him, or for one evil glance directed at him, he will be afraid to

have anything more to do with the
a present will be

affair.

And sometimes

between the bribe and his servile fear he will leave that soul in the hands of the devils, and will give him the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, My only-begotten Son, while he knows all the time that the communicant is involved in the darkness of mortal sin. Nevertheless, to please worldly men, and through his disordinate fear and the gift which he has received from them, he has
to him, so that

made

administered the Sacraments and buried a

man

with great

honour in the Church, when he should have cast him forth as an animal and a corrupt member cut off from the body. Self-love and the horns "What is the reason of this? of pride. For if he had really loved Me above everything and that poor wretch s soul, he would have been humble and without fear would have sought his salvation. See, then, what evil follows these three vices which I have presented to thee under the form of three columns, from which proceed all other sins pride, avarice and im Thy ears would not be strong purity of mind and body. enough to hear how great are the evils which issue from And through their these columns like wings of the Devil. pride, dishonour, and greed it sometimes happens (and thou hast seen such cases) that they will make simple women of
"

good
in

faith like to themselves, for the

poor creatures, fearing

minds on account of their defects that they are possessed by the Devil, come to the wretched priest believing that he can liberate them, but in reality they are merely
their

And he in his applying to one devil to drive out another. greed receives their offering, and like a dishonourable, las civious brute will say to these poor souls The defect which and thus you have can only be removed in one way
he cause them miserably to sin with him. Oh demon, and more than a demon For in everything hast thou become worse than a devil. For there are many devils who hold this sin in horror, wherefore thou hast become worse than them, for thou rollest thyself therein with
will
!

!

294

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.
!

CATHERINE

delight like the pig in his stye. Oh foul animal, is this what I require of thee by virtue of the blood of which I have made

thee My minister? That instead of driving the Devil out of souls, thou should put him within them ? Dost thou not see that the axe of Divine justice is
"

already laid to the root of thy tree ? And I say to thee that thy iniquities shall be punished in due season with usury,
if

thou do not punish them with penance and contrition of
<(

heart.

respect will be paid thee, because thou art a priest, wilt rather be miserably punished and suffer, not only for thyself but for them also, for thou wilt be more

No

and thou

cruelly punished than others,

and perhaps thou

wilt

then

remember how thou wast wont the demon of concupiscence.
"

to drive out the Devil

with

be with that other wretch, who goes to sin, and binds her instead with another and greater sin, sinning himself afresh with If thou remember, thou hast seen with thine own her. such a case, on whom an evil man laid hands. eyes Truly is such a man without the dog of conscience, indeed, he stifles others consciences as well as his own. I have appointed them to chant and sing psalms during the night, reciting the divine office, and they occupy them selves in making charms and invoking the demon of mid
so will
it

And

absolve a fellow-creature in mortal

"

night in order to cause those

whom

they sinfully love to

them through their devilish incantations. It will to them that they come, but they do not really do so. I have appointed to thee to Wretched man pass the vigils of the night in prayer and watching, so that on the morrow thou mayest go rightly disposed to the altar, and give forth the odour of virtue to the people and not the
to
"

come seem

!

stench of vice.

Thou

hast been placed in an angelic state to

converse by holy meditation with the angels in this life, and at last with them to enjoy Me but thou delightest in being one of the devils and in conversing with them even before
;

The horns of thy pride have pierced the pupil of holy faith in the eye of thy intellect. Thou hast lost the light, and therefore seest not in what misery thou art ; and
thy death.

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

295

thou believest not truly that every sin is punished and every virtue rewarded, for if thou didst truly believe it thou wouldest not act so ; thou wouldest not seek or desire such conversation as the devil s ; rather wouldest thou flee in terror at the mention of his name but because thou obeyest his will and takest delight in his actions thou seekest him, one
;

blind
"

man

seeking another.

would have thee ask the Devil what reward he can give thee for the service thou payest him. He would reply that he will give thee the reward that he himself has obtained,
I

for he can give thee nothing else than the cruel torments of the fire in which he continually burns since he fell from the height of heaven in his pride.

thou, an earthly angel, fallest by thy pride from the of the height dignity of the priesthood and from the treasure of virtue, into the poverty of thy many miseries ; and if
"

And

thou do not correct thyself thou wilt fall further into the depths of hell. Thou hast made the world and thyself thy god and thy Tell the world to answer for thee before Me, the lord. supreme Judge, with all its delights which thou hast enjoyed in this life, and tell thy own sensuality to answer for thee for it is thy sensuality which has caused thee to enjoy the when I had placed you in the state of things of the world the priesthood in order to despise both thyself and the world. They will reply that they cannot help thee ; they will make
"

mock of
world.

thee, saying that success is thy own affair, and thou wilt remain confounded and guilty before Me and the

All this loss of thine thou seest not actually, because, as have said, the horns of thy pride have blinded thee ; but thou wilt see it at the extremity of death, when thou canst seek no remedy in any virtue of thine own, except only in
"

I

My mercy if thou hopest in that sweet Blood of which thou wast made the minister. This hope, indeed, will never be taken from thee, or from any one, as long as you are still
willing to hope in the Blood

one should be such a

up

till

the last

and in My mercy, although no nor thou so blind, as to go on moment without conversion.
fool,

296
"

THE DIALOGUE OF
Remember

ST.

CATHERINE
man who has
and him

that at that last extremity the

lived wickedly is accused by the Devil and the world his own fragility, and they do not deceive him or show

pleasure where is bitterness, or perfection where is imper fection, or light for darkness, as they used to do during his The life ; they show him things as they are in truth.

watch-dog of conscience, so enfeebled, begins now to bark so loudly that he leads the soul, as it were, to despair but all should lay hold with hope on the Blood, in spite of the sins which they have committed, because My mercy which ye receive in the Blood is without any comparison greater than all the sins that are committed in the world. But let no one put off his repentance, for it is a terrible thing for a man to find himself disarmed on the field of
;
"

battle in the presence of

many

enemies."

CHAPTER CXXX.
Of many other
"

sins

which the said wretched ministers commit.

THESE wretches, oh! dearest daughter, of whom I have spoken to thee, take no thought for themselves, for if they did they would not come to such a pass, neither they nor
others.

But they would be like those who live in virtue, and who would prefer to die rather than sin and defile the face of their soul, and diminish the dignity in which I have placed them ; they rather increase the dignity and beauty of their
"

souls, not

that the

priestly dignity in

itself

can increase

through virtue, or diminish through sin, as I have said, but virtue is an ornament and a dignity with which such men adorn their souls over and above its natural beauty which it

had from the beginning when I created it to My image and likeness such as these would know the truth of My good ness and their own beauty and dignity, because pride and self-love would not have darkened them or deprived them of the light of reason, and they would love Me, and the
;

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
salvation of souls.

297

But these poor wretches, being entirely of the light, and heedlessly going from vice to vice, deprived so that at last they fall into the ditch, have made of the

temple of their soul and of the holy church which should be a stable full of animals. a garden How abominable it is to Me, oh ! dearest daughter, that
"

which ought to be the homes of My servants, and of the poor, and where they should keep the breviary for their spouse, and the books of Holy Scripture for their children, and should take delight in teaching their neighbour and in living a holy life, should have become the homes of Their spouse is no breviary impurity and wicked persons. as an treat the adulteress) but a miser breviary (they able she-devil who lives with them in impurity. Their holy scriptures are a regiment of children, and with these children whom they have obtained in such foul misery they The festivals and solemnities shamelessly take pleasure. on which they should render praise and glory to My name, with divine office, offering Me the incense of devout and humble prayers, they pass at play, and in taking solace with their she-devils, and they go off with companies of seculars, hunting beasts and birds as if themselves were Oh wretched man to seculars and fine court gentlemen. what hast thou come ? Thou shouldst hunt and snare souls to the glory and praise of My name in the garden of the holy church, instead of wandering round the woods ; but because thou hast become an animal, thy soul being
their houses,
!

many mortal sins, hast thou made and a snarer of animals ; because the a hunter thyself of soul has grown wild and full of thorns, thou thy garden
filled

with the animals of

takest delight in wandering through desert places hunting wild beasts. Look on thy sins and be ashamed, oh man,
!

for thou hast matter for

shame on every

side, but thou art

without shame, having lost My true and holy fear. Shame less as a harlot, thou art proud of keeping great station in
the world, and having a fine household, and a regiment of many children, and if thou hast none thou seekest to have

them, so that they may inherit thy property ; but thou art a robber and a thief, because thou knowest well that thou

298

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

hast nothing to leave them, for thine heirs are the poor of the holy church.
"

Oh

!

incarnate devil, deprived of light, thou seekest that

which thou oughtest not to seek, thou praisest and vauntest thyself of that which should cause thee the greatest confusion and shame before Me who see the interior of thy heart, and But the horns of thy pride do not let before creatures.
I have placed him, dearest daughter, thee see thy shame. on the bridge of My doctrine and My truth to administer

you pilgrims the sacraments of the holy Church, and he remains in the river of misery under the Bridge, and
to

administers

sacraments standing in the river of the delights and miseries of the world, and he does not see that the tide of death is gaining on him, and that he travels in

My

whom he has served journey through the river without any restraint. And if he do not correct himself he will reach eternal damnation, and such punishment and reproba
company with
and allowed
his masters the devils
to direct his

tion that thy tongue

would not be able to narrate it, and For the same fault is more severely punished in him than in a secular, and with graver reprobation do his enemies rise up before him on the
indeed far more than a secular.
bridge of death to accuse him, as
I

said to

thee."

CHAPTER CXXXI.
Of the
difference between the death of a just man and that of a sinner, and first of the death of the just man.

4t

HAVING

told thee

how

the world and the devils accuse

these wretches, which is indeed the truth, I wish to speak to thee in more detail on this point (so that thou mayest

have greater compassion on these poor wretches),
thee

telling

how

different are the struggles

man

to those

of

a

sinner,

and

of the soul of a just how different are their

deaths, and how the peace

of the just

man s death

is

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
greater or less according to the For I wish thee to know that
rational creatures

299
soul.

all

perfection of his the sufferings

which

their will

endure depend on their will, because if with mine they would endure no suffering, not that they would have no labours on that account, but because labours cause no suffering to a will which gladly endures them, seeing that they are ordained

were

in accordance

by

My

will.

Such men

as

these

wage war with the

world, the Devil, and their own sensuality through holy hatred of themselves. Wherefore when they come to the
point of death, they die peacefully, because they have The world vanquished their enemies during their life. cannot accuse such a man, because he saw through its deceptions and therefore renounced it with all its delights. His sensual fragility and his body do not accuse him, because he bound sensuality like a slave with the rein of reason, macerating his flesh with penance, with watchings, and humble and continual prayer. The will of his senses he slew with hatred and dislike of vice, and with love of He has entirely lost all tenderness for his body, virtue. which tenderness and love between the soul and the body makes death seem difficult, and on account of it man but since the virtue of a just and naturally fears death
;

perfect man transcends nature, extinguishing his fear and overcoming it with holy hatred of

natural

himself

and

desire of arriving at his last end, his natural tender ness cannot make war on him, and his conscience remains
;

his life his conscience kept a good him when enemies were coming to attack guard, warning the city of his soul, like a watch-dog which stands at the door, and when it sees enemies warns the guards by its barking, for in this way the dog of conscience warns the sentry of reason, and the reason together with the free-will know by the light of the intellect whether the stranger be friend or enemy. To a friend, that is to say, to virtue and holy he thoughts, gave his delighted love, receiving and using

in peace

for during

these with great solicitude ; to an enemy, that is to say, to vice and wicked thoughts, he gave hatred and displeasure. And with the knife of hatred of self, and love of Me, and

300

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

with the light of reason, and the hand of free-will he struck his enemies ; so that at the point of death his
conscience, having been a faithful guardian, does not
"

gnaw

but remains in peace. It is true that a just soul, through humility, and because at the moment of death she realizes better the value of
to herself to

time and of the jewels of virtue, reproves herself, seeming have used her time but little ; but this is not
afflictive pain,

an

lected

in

herself,

but rather profitable, for the soul recol is caused by it to throw herself before

the Blood of the humble and immaculate

Lamb My

Son.

The

does not turn his head to admire his past virtues, because he neither can nor will hope in his own virtues, but only in the Blood in which he has found mercy ;
just

man

and as he lived in the memory of that Blood, so in death he inebriated and drowned in the same. How is it that the devils cannot reprove him of sin ? Because during his life he conquered their malice with wisdom, yet they come round him to see if they can acquire anything, and appear in horrible shapes in order to frighten him with hideous aspect, and many diverse phantasms, but the poison of sin not being in his soul, their aspect causes him no terror or fear, as it would do to another who had lived wickedly in the world. Wherefore the devils, seeing that the soul has entered into the Blood with ardent love, cannot endure the But their sight, but stand afar off shooting their arrows. war and their shouts cannot hurt that soul, who already is
is

beginning to taste eternal

life,

as

I

said to thee in another

place, for with the eye of the

intellect

illuminated

by the

pupil of the holy faith, she sees Me, the Infinite and Eternal Good, whom she hopes to obtain by grace, not as her due, but by virtue of Jesus Christ Son.

My

Wherefore opening the arms of hope and seizing Him with the hands of love, she seems to enter into His posses sion before she actually does so, in the way which I have
"

narrated

to in

thee

in

another

place.

Passing suddenly,

drowned

the Blood, by the narrow door of the Word she reaches Me, the Sea Pacific. For sea and door are

united together.

I

and the Truth,

My

only-begotten Son

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

301

What joy such a soul being one and the same thing. who sees herself so sweetly arrived at this pass, for in Truth she tastes the happiness of the angelic nature This joy is received by all those who pass in this sweet
receives
!

whom

manner, but to a far greater extent by My ministers, of I spoke to thee, who have lived like angels, for in this life have they lived with greater knowledge, and with I do not speak greater hunger for the salvation of souls. all can have in general, virtue which of of the light only but of the supernatural light which these men possessed

over and above the light of virtuous living, the light, that of My is, of holy science, by which science they knew more

who

Truth, and he who knows more loves Me more, and he Your reward is loves Me more receives more. measured according to the measure of your love, and if thou shouldest ask Me, whether one who has no science

can attain to this love, I should reply, yes it is possible that he may attain to it, but an individual case does not make a general law and I always discourse to thee in
general.
"

They

also receive greater dignity

on account of

their

priesthood, because they have personally received the office For just as every one has of eating souls in My honour. the office of remaining in charity with his neighbour, to

them
"

is

given the
souls.
if

office of

administering the Blood, and of

governing

Wherefore

they do this solicitously and with love of

virtue they receive, as has been said, more than others. Oh ! how happy are their souls when they come to the For they have been the defenders extremity of death !

and preachers of the faith to their neighbour. This faith they have incarnated in their very marrow, and with it they see their place of repose in Me. The hope with which they have lived, confiding in My providence and losing all trust
in themselves, in that they did not hope in their own ledge, and having lost hope in themselves, placed

know
no
in

ordinate

love

in

any
in

fellow-creature

or in

any

created

thing

;

having lived
great
delight

with

voluntary poverty, causes them now to lift their confidence towards Me.

302

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Their heart, which was a vessel of love, inscribed by their ardent charity with My name, they showed forth with the example of their good and holy life and by the doctrine of This heart then arises and their words to their neighbour.
seizes Me,

Who am

its

End, with ineffable
it

love, restoring to

always carried before it, doing justice to all and discreetly rendering to each his Wherefore this man renders to Me justice with true due. humility, and renders glory and praise to My Name, because he refers to Me the grace of having been able to run his course with a pure and holy conscience, and with himself he is indignant, deeming himself unworthy of re ceiving such grace. His conscience gives good testimony of him to Me, and I justly give him the crown of justice, adorned with the that is, of the fruit which love has pearls of the virtues
"

Me

the pearl of justice which

drawn from the
art in that

virtues. Oh, earthly angel happy thou thou hast not been ungrateful for the benefits received from Me, and hast not been negligent or ignorant,
!

but hast solicitously opened thine eye by the true light, and kept it on thy subjects, and hast faithfully and manfully followed the doctrine of the Good Shepherd, sweet Christ
Jesus,

My only begotten Son, wherefore thou art really now passing through Him, the Door, bathed and drowned in His blood, with thy troop of lambs of whom thou hast brought
hast

grace. to such as these the vision of "Oh, dearest daughter! the devils can do no harm, because of the vision which they

many by thy holy doctrine and example left many behind thee in a state of

to eternal life,

and

have of Me, which they see by faith and hold by love ; the darkness and the terrible aspect of the demons do not give them trouble or any fear, because in them is not the poison There is no servile fear in them, but holy fear. of sin. Wherefore they do not fear the demon s deception, because with supernatural light and with the light of Holy Scripture they know them, so that they do not cause them darkness or disquietude. So thus they gloriously pass, bathed in the blood, with hunger for the salvation of souls, all on fire with love for the neighbour, having passed through the door of

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
the

303

into Me ; and by My goodness each arranged in his place, and to each one is measured of the affection of love according as he has measured to Me.

word and entered
is

one

1

CHAPTER CXXXII.
Of the death
"

of sinners,

and of their pains

in the

hour of death.

NOT

other poor wretches
related

so excellent, dearest daughter, is the end of these who are in great misery as I have
!

to thee. How terrible and dark is their death Because in the moment of death, as I told thee, the Devil accuses them with great terror and darkness, showing his face, which thou knowest is so horrible that the creature would rather choose any pain that can be suffered in this world than see it and so greatly does he freshen the sting The disordinate of conscience that it gnaws him horribly. delights and sensuality of which he made lords over his reason, accuse him miserably, because then he knows the truth of that which at first he knew not, and his error
;

brings him to great confusion. In his life he lived unfaithfully to
"

Me

self-love

veiled

the

pupil

of

the most holy faith

having wherefore the

Devil torments him with infidelity in order to bring him to

Oh ! how hard for them is this battle, because it despair. finds them disarmed, without the armour of affection and
because, as members of the Devil, they have been Wherefore they have not the super deprived of it all. natural light, neither the light of science, because they did
charity
;

not understand

it,

the horns of their pride not letting them
its

understand the sweetness of
in the great battle

marrow.

Wherefore now

they know

not what to do.

They

are

not nourished in hope, because they have not hoped in Me, neither in the Blood of which I made them ministers, but
in themselves alone,

and

the
all

world.

And
to

the

in the dignities and delights of incarnate wretch did not see that
interest,

was counted

him with

and that as a debtor

304

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
to

he would have to render an account

Me

;

now he

finds

himself denuded and without any virtue, and on whichever side he turns he hears nothing but reproaches with great
confusion.

His

injustice

which he practised

in

his

life

accuses him to his conscience, wherefore he dares not ask other than justice.
"

And

I

tell

thee that so great
life
is,

is

that

shame and confu

sion that unless in their

hoping in

My

mercy, that

they have taken the habit of have taken the milk of mercy

(although on account of their sins this is great presumption, for you cannot truly say that he who strikes Me with the arm of My mercy has a hope in mercy, but rather has pre sumption), there is not one who would not despair, and with despair they would arrive with the Devil in eternal

damnation.

But arriving at the extremity of death, and recognising his sin, his conscience unloaded by holy confession, and presumption taken away, so that he offends no more, there
"

remains mercy, and

with

this

mercy he can,

if

he

will,

This is the effect of My mercy to take hold on hope. cause them to hope therein during their life, although 1 do
not grant them this, so that they should offend Me by means of My mercy, but rather that they should dilate themselves in charity, and in the consideration of My

But they act in a contrary way, because they hope which they have in My mercy. And nevertheless, I keep them in this hope so that at the last moment they may have something which they may lay hold of, and by so doing not faint away with the condemnation which they receive, and thus arrive at despair for this final sin of despair is much more displeasing to Me and injures them much more than all the other sins which they And this is the reason why this sin is have committed. more dangerous to them and displeasing to Me, because they commit other sins through some delight of their own sensuality, and they sometimes grieve for them, and if they grieve in the right way their grief will procure them mercy. But it is no fragility of your nature which moves you to despair, for there is no pleasure and nothing but intolerable
goodness.
offend

Me

in the

;

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

30$

One who despairs despises suffering in it. mercy, his sin to be greater than making mercy and goodness, Wherefore, if a man fall into this sin, he does not repent,

My

My

and does not truly grieve for his offence against me as he should, grieving indeed for his own loss, but not for the offence done to Me, and therefore he receives eternal
See, therefore, that this sin alone leads him to where he is punished for this and all the other sins which he has committed ; whereas had he grieved and repented for the offence done to Me, and hoped in My mercy he would have found mercy, for, as I have said to thee,

damnation.
hell,

My
sins

mercy is greater without any comparison than all the which any creature can commit wherefore it greatly
;

displeases
greater.
"

Me

that they should consider their sins

to

be

is that sin which is pardoned neither here nor and it is because despair displeases Me so much hereafter, that I wish them to hope in My mercy at the point of death, even if their life have been disordered and wicked. This is why during their life I use this sweet trick with them, making them hope greatly in My mercy, for when,

Despair

having fed themselves with this hope, they arrive at death, they are not so inclined to abandon it, on account of the severe condemnation they receive, as if they had not so nourished themselves.
"All

this is given

them by the

fire

and abyss of

My

inestimable

love, but because they have used it in the darkness of self-love, from which has proceeded their every sin, they have not known it in truth, but in so far as they have turned their affections towards the sweetness of My

mercy they have thought of

And

this is

it with great presumption. another cause of reproof which their conscience

gives them in the likeness of the Devil, reproving them in that they should have used the time and the breadth of

My

mercy in which they hoped, in charity and love of virtue, and that the time which I gave them through love should have been spent in holiness, whereas with all their time and great hope of My mercy they did nothing but offend

Me

miserably.

Oh

!

blinder than the blind

!

Thou u

hast

306

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

hidden thy pearl and thy talent which I placed in thy hands in order that thou mightest gain more with it, but thou in thy presumption wouldst not do My will, rather thou didst hide it under the ground of disordinate self-love, which now
renders thee the
"

fruit

of death.

Thy miseries are not hid from thee now, for the worm of conscience sleeps no longer, but is gnawing thee, the
devils shout and render to thee the reward which they are accustomed to give their servants, that is to say, confusion

they wish to bring thee to despair, so of death thou mayest not escape from their hands, and therefore they try to confuse thee, so that afterwards when thou art with them they may render to
;

and condemnation

that at the

moment

thee of the part which
in

is theirs. Oh, wretch the dignity which I placed thee, thou now seest shining as it really is, and thou knowest to thy shame that thou hast held and used in such guilty darkness the substance of the holy Church, that thou seest thyself to be a thief, a debtor, who ought to pay his debt to the poor and the holy Church. Then thy conscience represents to thee that thou hast spent the money on public harlots, and hast brought up thy children and enriched thy relations, and hast thrown it away on gluttony and on many silver vessels and other adornments for thy house. Whereas thou shouldst have
!

lived in voluntary poverty.
"Thy

which thou didst

conscience represents to thee the divine office neglect, by which thou didst fall into the

guilt of mortal sin,

and how even when thou didst

recite

it

with thy mouth thy heart was far from Me. Conscience also shows thee thy subjects, that is to say, the love and

hunger which thou shouldest have felt towards nourishing them in virtue, giving them the example of thy life and striking them with the hand of mercy and the rod of justice, and because thou didst the contrary thy conscience and the
horrible likeness of the Devil reproves thee. "And if as a prelate thou hast given prelacies or

any

charge of souls unjustly to one of thy subjects, that is, that thou hast not considered to whom and how thou wert giving the Devil puts this also before thy conscience, because it,

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

307

thou oughtest to have given it, not on account of pleasant words, nor in order to please creatures, nor for the sake of gifts, but solely with regard to virtue, My honour and the And since thou hast not done so thou salvation of souls.

and confusion thou the and hast before thy conscience light of thine intellect hast done and that which thou ought not to have done, and that which thou oughtest to have done and hast not done. I wish thee to know, dearest daughter, that whiteness is better seen when placed on a black ground, and blackness
art reproved,

and

for thy greater pain

"

on a white, than when they are separated.

So

it

happens

to these wretches, to these in particular and to all others in general, for at death when the soul begins to see its woes,

and the

just

man

a wicked man, and there
science places

his beatitude, his evil life is represented to is no reason that any one should

remind him of the sins that he has committed, for his con

them before him, together with the virtues which he ought to have practised. Why the virtues ? For his greater shame. For vice being placed on a ground of virtue is known better on account of the virtue, and the better he knows his sin, the greater his shame, and by com parison with his sin he knows better the perfection of virtue, wherefore he grieves the more, for he sees that his own life was devoid of any and I wish thee to know that in this knowledge which dying sinners have of virtue and vice they see only too clearly the good which follows the virtue of a just man, and the pain that comes on him who has lain in the darkness of mortal sin. I do not give him this knowledge so that he may despair, but so that he may come to a per fect self-knowledge and shame for his sins, with hope, so that with that pain and knowledge he may pay for his sins, and appease My anger, humbly begging My mercy. The virtuous man increases thereby in joy and in knowledge of My love, for he attributes the grace of having followed virtue in the doctrine of My truth to Me and not to himself, wherefore he exalts in Me, with this truly illuminated know ledge, and tastes and receives the sweet end of his being in the way which I have related to thee in another place. So
;

that the one, that is to say, the just

man, who has lived

in

308

THE DIALOGUE OF
charity,

ST.

CATHERINE
the

ardent
"

exalts in joy,

while

wicked

man

is

darkened and confounded

in sorrow.

To the just man the appearance and vision of the Devil causes no harm or fear, for fear and harm can only be caused to him by sin ; but those who have passed their lives lasciviously and in many sins, receive both harm and
fear from the appearance of the devils, not indeed the

harm

of despair

but the suffering of con demnation, of the refreshing of the worm of conscience, and of fear and terror at their horrible aspect. See now, dearest
if
it,

they do not wish

daughter, how different are the sufferings and the battle of death to a just man and to a sinner, and how different is
their end.
"

I

have shown to the eye of thy

intellect

a very small

part of what happens, and so small is what I have shown thee with regard to what it really is, to the suffering, that and the happiness of the other, that it is but a is, of the one,
trifle.

See how great

is

the blindness of man, and in particular

of these ministers, for the more they have received of Me, and the more they are enlightened by the Holy Scripture, the greater are their obligations and more intolerable con
fusion do they receive for not fulfilling them ; the more they knew of Holy Scripture during their life, the better do they know at their death the great sins they have committed, and
their torments are greater than those of others, just as good men are placed in a higher degree of excellence. Theirs is

the fate of the false Christian, who is placed in Hell in greater torment than a pagan, because he had the light of faith and renounced it, while the pagan never had it.
"

So these wretches

will

be punished more than other

Christians for the same sin, on account of the ministry which I entrusted to them, appointing them to administer the sun

of the holy Sacrament, and because they had the light of science, in order to discern the truth both for themselves and others had they wished to ; wherefore they justly receive

But the wretches do not know the greater pains. did they consider their state at all, they would not

this, for

come

to

such misery, but would be that which they ought to be and For the whole world has thus become corrupt, are not.

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
they being
their state
;

309

much more
for

guilty than seculars,
defile

with their stench they
their subjects,

according to the face of

their soul,

and corrupt

and suck the blood

from

My spouse, that is, these sins they make her
own advantage, when they ought

the holy Church, wherefore through

grow pale, because they divert to themselves the love and charity which they should have to this divine spouse, and think of nothing but stripping her
for their
perties,

seizing prelacies, and great pro
to

through their

Wherefore become irreverent and dis obedient to the holy Church, not that they ought on that account to do so, or that their sins are excused through the
be seeking souls.
evil life, seculars

sins of

My

ministers."

CHAPTER
A

CXXXIII.
how

brief repetition of many things said above, and gether forbids that priests should be touched

GOD

alto

seculars

:

and how He
priests.

invites this

by the hand of soul to weep over these

wretched
"

THERE

are
I

many

other sins of which
to

I

might speak to

thee, but
I

do not wish

make

thine ears itch any longer.

have told thee so much in order to satisfy thy desire, and so that thou mayest be more solicitous to offer before Me

And I have told thy sweet, amorous, and bitter longings. thee that the excellence to which I have appointed them, and of the treasure which is administered to you by their
hands, that is, of the holy Sacrament, wholly God and wholly man, illustrating this truth to thee by the figure of the sun in order that thou mightest see that the virtue of
the Sacrament
therefore
it

is

is

My

not diminished by their sins, and that will that your reverence towards them

should not diminish on that account. And I have shown thee the excellence of My virtuous ministers in whom shines the pearl of holy justice and the other virtues. I have also

shown

thee

how

displeasing to

Me

is

the offence committed

310

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

in

by persecutors of the holy Church, and also the irreverence which they hold the Blood. For the persecutions directed
against

My

ministers

I

consider as directed against the

Blood and not against them, for I have forbidden My Christs I have also related to thee somewhat of the to be touched. shameful life of My ministers, how wretchedly they live, and what pain and confusion they receive at their death, and how much more cruelly than others they are punished after I have now fulfilled My promise to thee, which was death.
to
tell
fulfil
"

My
I

life and, having consented to promise, have satisfied thy demand. now repeat to thee what I said at first, that however

thee something of their

great their sins might be, even if they were greater than I have mentioned, I do not wish any secular to occupy him self in punishing them ; and if they do so their sin will not

remain unpunished unless they punish it themselves, amend For both secular ing their lives with contrition of heart. and priest are incarnate devils, and through the divine justice one devil punishes another, and both sin, so that the secular is not excused through the sin of the prelate, nor
the prelate through the sin of the secular. I now invite thee, dearest daughter, and
all

My

other

servants, to weep over these corpses, and to remain like lambs in the garden of the holy Church, feeding there with

holy desire and continued prayers, offering them before Me for their sakes, for I wish to do mercy to the world ; and do not leave this food of yours either, through injuries or

through prosperity, for

I

do not wish

My

servants to

lift

their heads with impatience or disordinate joy, but humbly honour and the salvation of to devote yourselves to

My

And souls, and to the reformation of the holy Church. this will be a proof to Me that thou and other servants in truth. Thou knowest well that I showed thee love

My

Me
I

how

wished thee and

My

other servants to be lambs ever

feeding in the garden of the holy Church, enduring with fatigue up to the last moment of their lives, and if in truth

thou doest so

I

will fulfil

thy

desires."

A TREATISE OF PRAYER

3"

CHAPTER CXXXIV.
How
THEN
this

devout soul, praising and thanking prayer for the Holy Church.
if

GOD, made

a

this

soul, as

inebriated,

tormented,

and on

fire

turned with love, her heart wounded with great bitterness, Eternal Goodness, saying: and the to herself Supreme Eternal God! oh! Light above every other light, "Oh!

Oh Fire above every fire, from whom issues all light without the art Thou because only Fire who burnest all sin and self-love found in consumest and consuming,
! !

the

soul,

tiable

sated,

not afflicting her, but fattening her with insa and though the soul is filled she is not love, desires Thee, and the more of Thee she ever but

more she seeks and the more she desires, the more she finds and tastes of Thee Supreme and Eternal Oh Supreme and Eternal Good, Fire, Abyss of Charity. Infinite God, to illuminate me, Thy who has moved Thee, of the with finite creature Thy Truth ? Thou, the same light it is always love which because the Fire of Love art cause, create us in Thine to Thee constrains constrained and us do to and mercy, giving immea image and similitude, Oh creatures. rational to surable and infinite graces Thy is who He art alone Thou Goodness above all goodness the Word, Thou nevertheless and gavest Supremely Good,
has, the
! !

!

Thy

us filthy ones and only-begotten Son, to converse with Love. of this ? cause the was What filled with darkness. Good! Oh! were. we before us Because Thou lovedst

oh!

Eternal Greatness!

Thou madest Thyself low and

small to

On which ever side I turn I And fire of Thy charity. and find nothing but the abyss the and the Thee to graces can a wretch like me pay back so with showest and shown hast burning charity that Thou common me to beyond much burning love in particular showest to all Thy charity, and the love that Thou amorous creatures ? No, but Thou alone, most sweet and and thankful grateful for me, Father, art He who will be
make man
great.

312

THE DIALOGUE OF
is,

ST.

CATHERINE

that

that the affection of
I

Thee thanks, because

am

she

Thy charity itself will render who is not, and if I spoke

own
is

as being anything of myself, I should be lying by my head, and should be a lying daughter of the Devil, who
the father of
lies,

because

Thou

alone art

He who
Thou
them

is.

And my

being and every further grace that

hast
to

me

bestowed upon me, I have from Thee, through love, and not as my due.
"

who

givest

Oh

!

sweetest Father,

when

the

human

race lay sick

through the sin of Adam, Thou didst send it a Physician, the sweet and amorous Word Thy Son ; and now, when I was lying infirm with the sickness of negligence and much ignorance, Thou, most soothing and sweet Physician, Eternal God, hast given a soothing, sweet, and bitter medicine, that I may be cured and rise from my infirmity. Thou hast soothed me because with Thy love and gentle ness Thou hast manifested Thyself to me, Sweet above all sweetness, and hast illuminated the eye of my intellect with the light of most holy faith, with which light, according as it has pleased Thee to manifest it to me, I have known the excellence of grace which Thou hast given to the human

God-Man in the mystic And I have known the dignity of Thy ministers whom Thou hast appointed to administer Thee to us. I desired that Thou wouldest fulfil the promise that Thou madest to me, and Thou gavest much more, more even than I knew how to ask for. Wherefore I know in truth that the heart of man knows not how to ask or desire as much as thou canst give, and thus I see that Thou art He Who is the Supreme and Eternal Good, and that we And because Thou art infinite, and are they who are not. we are finite, Thou givest that which Thy rational creature
race, administering to
it

the entire

body of the holy Church.

for she cannot desire it in itself, cannot desire enough nor in the way in which Thou canst and wilt satisfy the
;

filling her with things for which she does not ask Thee. Moreover, I have received light from Thy Great ness and Charity, through the love which Thou hast for the

soul,

whole human

who ought

race, and in particular for Thy anointed ones, to be earthly angels in this life. Thou hast

A TREATISE OF PRAYER
shown me
ones
the virtue and beatitude of these

313

Thy

anointed

lived like burning lamps, shining with the Pearl of Justice in the holy Church. And by comparison with these I have better understood the sins of those who
live

who have

wretchedly.
at

sorrow

Thy

offence

Wherefore I have conceived a very great and the harm done to the whole

harm to the world, being mirrors of sin when they ought to be mirrors of virtue. And because Thou hast manifested and grieved over their iniquities to me a wretch who am the cause and instrument of many
world, for they do

plunged in intolerable grief. oh inestimable love, hast manifested this to me, Thou, me a sweet and bitter medicine that I might wholly giving arise out of the infirmity of my ignorance and negligence, and have recourse to Thee with anxious and solicitous desire, knowing myself and Thy goodness and the offences which are committed against Thee by all sorts of people, so that I might shed a river of tears, drawn from the know ledge of Thy infinite goodness, over my wretched self and over those who are dead in that they live miserably. Wherefore I do not wish, oh eternal Father, ineffable Fire
I
"

sins

am

!

!

of Love, that
fail

my

heart should ever

through tears, in desiring

Thy

grow weary, or my eyes honour and the salvation

of souls, but I beg of Thee, by Thy grace, that they may be as two streams of water issuing from Thee, the Sea
Pacific.

granted
neither
grief

me

Thanks, thanks to Thee, oh Father, for having that which I asked Thee and that which I
!

knew nor Thou hast

asked, for by
invited

me

to

Thus giving me matter for offer before Thee sweet,

loving,

and yearning desires, with humble and continual Now I beg of Thee that Thou wilt do mercy to prayer. the world and to the holy Church. I pray Thee to fulfil that which Thou didst cause me to ask Thee. Alas what a wretched and sorrowful soul is mine, the cause of all these
!

evils.

Do

not put off any longer

Thy
fulfil

towards the world, but descend and
servants.
"

merciful designs the desire of Thy

Ah me
!

!

Thou

causest them to cry in order to hear their

voices

Thy

truth told us to cry out,

and we should be

314

THE DIALOGUE OF
;

ST.

CATHERINE
;

answered to knock, and it would be opened to us to beg, and it would be given to us. Oh eternal Father, Thy servants do cry out to Thy mercy do Thou then reply. I know well that mercy is Thine own attribute, where fore Thou canst not destroy it or refuse it to him who asks for it. Thy servants knock at the door of Thy truth,
!

;

"

because
fire

in the truth of

Thy

the ineffable love which

Thou

only-begotten Son they know hast for man, wherefore the

of Thy love ought not and cannot refrain from opening him who knocks with perseverance. Wherefore open, unlock, and break the hardened hearts of Thy creatures, not for their sakes who do not knock, but on account of Thy infinite goodness, and through love of Thy servants who knock at Thee for their sakes. Grant the prayer of those,
to

Eternal Father, who, as

Thou

seest, stand

at the
?

door of

Thy

truth

and pray.

For what do they pray

the Blood of this door

Thy

truth

For with hast Thou washed

our iniquities and destroyed the stain of The Blood is ours, for Thou hast made
wherefore
asks for

Adam s
it

sin.

our bath,

canst not deny it to any one who truly Give, then, the fruit of Thy Blood to Thy Place in the balance the price of the blood of creatures. Thy Son, so that the infernal devils may not carry off Thy

Thou

it.

lambs.

Thou

art the

Good Shepherd who,
life

to

fulfil

Thy
for

obedience, laid down His us a bath of His Blood.
"That

for

Thy

lambs, and

made

is what Thy hungry servants beg of Thee begging Thee through it to do mercy to the world, and to cause Thy holy Church to bloom with the fragrant flowers of good and holy pastors, who by their sweet odour shall extinguish the stench of the putrid flowers

Blood

at this door,

of

sin.

Thou

hast said, eternal Father, that through the love

which Thou hast for Thy rational creatures, and the prayers and the many virtues and labours of Thy servants, Thou wouldest do mercy to the world, and reform the Church, and thus give us refreshment wherefore do not delay, but turn the eye of Thy mercy towards us, for Thou must first
;

reply to us

before

we

can cry out with the voice of

Thy

mercy.

Open

the door of

Thy

inestimable love which

Thou

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

31$

hast given us through the door of Thy Word. I know indeed that Thou openest before even we can knock, for it is with the affection of love which Thou hast given to Thy
servants, that they knock honour and the salvation

and cry

to

of souls.

bread of

life,

that is to say, the fruit

Thee, seeking Thy Give them then the of the Blood of Thy

only begotten Son, which they ask of Thee for the praise For and glory of My name and the salvation of souls.
will be Thine in saving so many than in creatures, leaving them obstinate in their hardness of heart. To Thee, Eternal Father, everything is possible,

more glory and praise

and even though Thou hast created us without our own I beg of Thee tohelp, Thou wilt not save us without it. force their wills, and dispose them to wish for that for which they do not wish and this I ask Thee through Thy infinite mercy. Thou hast created us from nothing, now, that are in existence, do mercy to us, and we therefore, remake the vessels which Thou hast created to Thy image and likeness. Re-create them to Grace in Thy mercy and the Blood of Thy Son sweet Christ Jesus."
;

CHAPTER CXXXV.
A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
Here begins the
treatise of obedience, and first of where obedience found, and what it is that destroys it, and what is the sign of a man s possessing it, and what accompanies and nourishes obedience.

may be

THE Supreme and

Eternal Father, kindly turning the eye of
"

His mercy and clemency towards her, replied Thy holy desire and righteous request, oh dearest daughter, have a right to be heard, and inasmuch as I am the Supreme Truth, I will keep My word, fulfilling the promise which I made to And if thou ask Me where thee, and satisfying thy desire. obedience is to be found, and what is the cause of its loss, and the sign of its possession, I reply that thou wilt find it
:

!

3i6

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE
Word,

in its completeness in

the sweet and amorous

My

So prompt in Him was this virtue, only-begotten Son. that, in order to fulfil it, He hastened to the shameful death of the Cross. What destroys obedience ? Look at the
first man and thou wilt see the cause which destroyed the obedience imposed on him by Me, the eternal Father. It

was

pride,

which was produced by

self-love,

and desire to

This was the cause that deprived please his companion. him of the perfection of obedience, giving him instead dis obedience, depriving him of the life of grace, and slaying
he fell into impurity and great misery, and not only he, but the whole human race, as I said to thee. The sign that thou hast this virtue is patience,
his innocence, wherefore

and impatience the sign that you have it not, and thou wilt find that this is indeed so, when I speak to thee further con cerning this virtue. But observe that obedience may be kept in two ways, of which one is more perfect than the other, not that they are on that account separated, but united as I The one explained to thee of the precepts and counsels. way is the most perfect, the other is also good and perfect for no one at all can reach eternal life if he be not obedient, for the door was unlocked by the key of obedience, which had been fastened by the disobedience of Adam. I, then,
;

being constrained by My infinite goodness, since I saw that man whom I so much loved, did not return to Me, his End, took the keys of obedience and placed them in the hands of My sweet and amorous Word the Truth and He

becoming the porter of that door, opened it, and no one can enter except by means of that door and that Porter. Wherefore He said in the Holy Gospel that no one could When He returned come to Me, the Father, if not by Htm. to Me, rising to Heaven from the conversation of men at the Ascension, He left you this sweet key of obedience ; for as thou knowest He left His vicar, the Christ on earth, whom you are all obliged to obey until death, and whoever
outside his obedience is in a state of damnation, as I have already told thee in another place. Now I wish thee to see and know this most excellent virtue in that humble and immaculate Lamb, and the source whence it proceeds.
is

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

317
?

What
which

caused the great obedience of the

Word

He had

for

My
?

honour and your salvation.

The love Whence

proceeded this love

From

the clear vision with which

His soul saw

the divine essence and

the

eternal Trinity,

thus always looking on Me, the eternal God. His fidelity ob tained this vision most perfectly for Him, which vision you
imperfectly enjoy by the light of holy faith. He was faithful to Me, His eternal Father, and therefore hastened as one

enamoured along the road of obedience, lit up with the light And inasmuch as love cannot be alone, but is of glory. accompanied by all the true and royal virtues, because all He possessed them the virtues draw their life from love. in which you do. from that but in a different way all, is the marrow which Among the others he possessed patience, whether a soul be of obedience, and a demonstrative sign, love or not. Wherefore in a state of grace and truly charity, the mother of patience, has given her as a sister to obedience, and so closely united them together that one cannot be lost without the other. Either thou hast them both or thou hast
neither.

This virtue has a nurse
;

who

feeds her, that

is,

true humility

obedient in proportion to her humility, and humble in proportion to her obedience. This humility is the foster-mother and nurse of charity,
is

therefore a soul

and with the same milk she feeds the virtue of obedience. Her raiment given her by this nurse is self-contempt, and insult, desire to displease herself, and to please Me. Where In sweet Christ Jesus, My onlydoes she find this ? begotten Son. For who abased himself more than He did He was sated with insults, jibes, and mockings. He caused pain to Himself in His bodily life, in order to please Me. And who was more patient than He ? for His cry was never heard in murmuring, but He patiently embraced His injuries like one enamoured, fulfilling the obedience imposed on Him by Me, His Eternal Father. Wherefore in Him thou wilt
!

find

rule

He left you this which gives you life, for it is the He is straight way, having first observed them Himself. He was the Way, the Truth, the way, wherefore He said, For he who travels by that way, travels in and the Life.
obedience perfectly accomplished.
this doctrine,

and

1

3i8

THE DIALOGUE OF
light,
fall,

ST.

CATHERINE

the

caused to

cannot stumble, or be without perceiving it. For He has cast from Himself the darkness of self-love, by which he fell into dis

and being enlightened

obedience ; for as I spoke to thee of a companion virtue proceeding from obedience and humility, so I tell you that disobedience comes from pride, which issues from self-love

The sister given by selfdepriving the soul of humility. love to disobedience is impatience, and pride, her fostermother, feeds her with the darkness of infidelity, so she hastens along the way of darkness, which leads her to
eternal death.
All this
find

you should read
described
this

in

that glorious

book,

where you

and every other

virtue."

CHAPTER CXXXVI.
How obedience is the
key with which Heaven
is

opened, and

how

the

soul should fasten it by means of a cord to her girdle, excellences of obedience.
"

and of the

Now

that

found, and

I have shown thee where obedience is to be whence she comes, and who is her companion, I

and who her foster-mother,
the

will

obedient

and

of

the

disobedient
is

continue to speak of together, and of

obedience in general, which
;

the obedience of the pre

and in particular, which is that of the counsels. cepts The whole of your faith is founded upon obedience, for by it you prove your fidelity. You are all in general by My truth to obey the commandments of the law, the chief of which is to love Me above everything, and your neighbour as yourself, and the commandments are so bound up together, that you cannot observe or transgress one without
observing or
principal
faithful

transgressing

all.

He who
all

observes
others
;

this

commandment observes

the

and his neighbour, for is therefore obedient, becoming subject to and My the commandments of the law, and to creatures for My
to

Me

he is he loves Me and

creature,

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

319

sake, and with humble patience he endures every labour, and even his neighbour s detraction of him. This obedi

of such excellence that ye all derive grace from it, Wherefore just as from disobedience you all derive death. it is not enough that it should be only in word, and not

ence

is

I have already told you that this word practised by you. is the key which opens heaven, which key My Son placed This vicar placed it in the in the hands of His vicar.

hands of every one who receives holy baptism, promising therein to renounce the world and all its pomps and So that each man has in his own delights, and to obey. person that very same key which the Word had, and if a man does not unlock in the light of faith, and with the hand of love the gate of heaven by means of this key, he
never will enter there, in spite of
its having been opened you without yourselves, I will not save you without yourselves. Wherefore you must take the key in your hand and walk by the doctrine of My Word, and not remain seated that is to say, placing your love in finite things, as do foolish men who follow the first man, their first father, following his example, and casting the

by the Word

;

for

though

I

created

key of obedience into the
the

it with with self-love. It would have been entirely destroyed had not My only begotten Son, the Word, come and taken this key of obedience in His

mud

of impurity, breaking

hammer

of pride, rusting

it

hands and purified it in the fire of divine love, having drawn it out of the mud, and cleansed it with His blood, and straightened it with the knife of justice, and hammered
your
iniquities into

So

perfectly did

He

shape on the anvil of His own body. repair it that no matter how much a

man may have

spoilt his key by his free-will, by the self same free-will, assisted by My grace, he can repair it with the same instruments that were used by My Word. Oh
!

blinder than the blind, for, having spoilt the key of obedi Dost thou think ence, thou dost not think of mending it
!

forsooth that the disobedience which

closed the door of

Heaven
foul

the pride which fell can rise ? Dost thou think to be admitted to the marriage feast in
will

open

it

? that

and disordered garments?

Dost

thou

think

that

3 20

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

sitting

down and binding thyself with the chain of mortal thou canst walk ? or that without a key thou canst sin, the Do not imagine that thou canst, for it is door ? open
a fantastical delusion
;

thou must be firm, thou must leave

mortal sin by a holy confession, contrition of heart, satis Then thou wilt throw faction, and purpose of amendment.

hideous and defiled garment and, clothed in the shining nuptial robe, wilt hasten, the key of obedience in But bind this key with the thy hand, to open the door. cord of self-contempt, and hatred of thyself and of the
off that

world, and fasten it to the love of pleasing Me, Thy creator, of which thou shouldest make a girdle to thyself to bind thy loins with it, for fear thou lose it. Know, My

daughter, there are many who take up this key of obedi ence, having seen by the light of faith that in no other way can they escape eternal damnation ; but they hold it in their hand without wearing this girdle, or fastening the
it with the cord of self-contempt, that is to say that, not perfectly clothed with My pleasure, but still are they seek to please themselves ; they do not wear the cord of

key

to

self-contempt, for they do not desire to be despised, but Such as these rather take delight in the praise of men. are apt to lose their key ; for if they suffer a little extra

mental or corporal tribulation, and if, as often hand of holy desire loosens its grasp, they will the happens, lose it. They can indeed find it again if they wish to
fatigue, or

while they
find
it
it,

live,

but

if

and what

will

they do not wish they will never prove to them, that they have lost

?

Impatience, for patience

was united

to obedience,

and

their impatience proves that obedience does not dwell in Oh how sweet and glorious is this virtue, their soul.
!

which contains all the rest, for she is conceived and born of charity, on her is founded the rock of the holy faith. She is a queen whose consort will feel no trouble, but only peace and quiet the waves of the stormy sea cannot hurt
;

nor can any tempest reach the interior of the soul in whom she dwells. Such a one feels no hatred when injured, because he wishes to obey the precept of forgive
her,

ness, he suffers not

when

his appetites are

not satisfied,

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

32 c

because obedience has ordered him to desire Me alone, who can and will satisfy all his desires, if he strip himself

And so in of worldly riches. he who has too long to relate,
!

things which would be chosen as spouse Queen Obedience, the appointed key of heaven, finds peace and Oh blessed obedience thou voyagest without quiet. fatigue, and reachest without danger the port of salvation,
all
!

thou art conformed to

My

only begotten Son,

the

Word,

thou boardest the ship of the holy cross, forcing thyself to endure, so as not to transgress the obedience of the Word, nor abandon His doctrine, of which thou makest a table

when thou

eatest the food of souls, dwelling in the love of thy neighbour, being anointed with true humility, which saves thee from coveting, contrary to will, his posses

My

sions, thou walkest erect, without bending, for thy heart is

sincere and not false, loving generously and truly creatures, thou art a sunrise drawing after thee the light of divine grace, thou art a sun which makes the earth, that is to say, the organs of the soul, to germinate with the

My

heat of charity, all of which as well as those of the body produce life-giving fruit for thyself and thy neighbour. Thou art even cheerful, for thy face is never wrinkled with impatience, but smooth and pleasant with the happiness of patience, and even in its fortitude thou art great by thy long endurance, so long that it reaches from earth to Thou art a hidden heaven and unlocks the celestial door.
pearl,

to

all

creatures.

trampled by the world, abasing thyself, submitting Yet thy kingdom is so great that no one

can rule thee, for thou hast come out of the mortal servi tude of thy own sensuality, which destroyed thy dignity,

and having

slain this

enemy with hatred and
liberty."

dislike of thy

own

pleasure hast re-obtained thy

322

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER CXXXVII.
Here both the misery of the disobedient and the excellence
of the obedient are spoken
this,
of.

dearest daughter, has been done by
I

ness and providence as

dence the Word men devoid of every virtue do the contrary, they, like unbridled horses, without the bit of obedience, go from bad to worse, from sin to sin, from misery to misery, from darkness to darkness, from death to death, until they
finally reach the

My good have told thee, for by My provi repaired the key of obedience, but worldly

worm

edge of the ditch of death, gnawed by the of their conscience, and though it is true that they can obey the precepts of the law if they will, and have the

time repenting of their disobedience, it is very hard for them to do so, on account of their long habit of sin. Therefore let no man trust to this, putting off his finding
of the key of obedience to the

of his death, for although every one may and should hope as long as he has life, he should not put such trust in this hope as to delay

moment

What is the reason of all this, and of such repentance. blindness that prevents them recognising this treasure.
The
cloud of self-love and wretched pride, through which they abandoned obedience, and fell into disobedience. Being disobedient they are impatient, as has been said, and
in their

impatience endure intolerable pain, for it has seduced them from the way of Truth, leading them along a way of lies, making them slaves and friends of the devils with whom, unless indeed they amend themselves with
patience, they will go to the eternal torments.

Contrari

beloved sons, obedient and observers of the law and exult in My eternal vision with the Immaculate rejoice humble and Lamb, the Maker, Fulfiller, and Giver of this
wise,

My

law of obedience.
taste

Observing

this

law

in

this

life

they

peace without any disturbance, they receive and clothe themselves in the most perfect peace, for there they possess every good without any evil, safety without any

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
fear, riches

323

without any poverty, satiety without disgust,

hunger without pain, light without darkness, one supreme infinite good, shared by all those who taste it truly.

What
of the

has placed them in so blessed a state
virtue of

?

The blood

which the key of obedience has Lamb, by lost its rust, so that, by the virtue of the blood, it has been Oh fools and madmen, delay able to unlock the door. no longer to come out of the mud of impurity, for you seem like pigs to wallow in the mire of your own lust.
!

Abandon
tions,

the injustice, murders, hatreds, rancours, detrac

murmurings, false judgments, and cruelty, with which use your neighbours, your thefts and treacheries, and you the disordinate pleasures and delights of the world ;
cut off the horns

of pride, by which amputation

you

will

extinguish the hatred which is in your heart against your neighbours. Compare the injuries which you do to Me

and
will

your neighbour with those done to you, and you see that those done to you are but trifles. You will
to

see that remaining in hatred you injure Me by transgress ing My precept, and you also injure the object of your hate for you deprive him of your love, whereas you have been
to love Me above everything, and your neigh bour as yourself. No gloss has been put upon these words as if it should have been said, if your neighbour injures you do not love him but they are to be taken naturally and simply, as they were said to you by My Truth, who Himself literally observed this rule. Literally also should you observe it, and if you do not you will injure your own

commanded

;

soul, depriving it of the life of grace. Take, oh ! take then, the key of obedience with the light of faith, walk no longer in such darkness or cold, but observe obedience in

the

fire

of love, so that ye

may

taste eternal life together
law."

with the other observers of the

324

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER CXXXVIII.
Of those who have such
love for obedience that they do not remain content with the general obedience of precepts, but take on themselves a particular obedience.

THERE are some, sweet and amorous
"

My
fire

dearest daughter, in whom the of love towards obedience burns

so high (which fire of love cannot exist without hatred of self-love, so that when the fire increases so does this selfhatred), that they are not content to observe the precepts of the Law with a general obedience as you are all obliged to

do

death, but take upon particular obedience, following the greatest so that they become observers of the counsels perfection, Such as these wish to bind both in deed and in thought.
if

you

will

have

life

and

not

themselves a

themselves more tightly through self-hatred, and in order to
in everything their own will. They either place themselves under the yoke of obedience in holy religion, or, without entering religion, they bind themselves to some

restrain

creature,

ditiously to unlock the

submitting their will to his, so as more expedoor of Heaven. These are they,

have told thee, who have chosen the most perfect I have already spoken to thee of obedience in as I know it to be thy will that I should and general, to thee of this particular and most perfect obedience, speak I will now relate to thee somewhat of this second kind, which is not divided from the first, but is more perfect, for, as I have already told thee, these two kinds of obedience are so closely united together that they cannot be separ I have told thee where general obedience is to be ated. found and whence it proceeds, and the cause of its loss.
as
I

obedience.

*Now

speak to thee of this particular obedience, not altering, however, the fundamental principle of the virtue."
I

will

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

325

CHAPTER CXXXIX.
How
41

a soul advances from general to particular obedience of the excellence of the religous orders.

;

and

THE

soul

who

with love has submitted to the yoke of

obedience, to the

My

Commandments, following the doctrine of truth virtuously exercising herself, as has been said,
obedience will advance to the second

in this general kind of

kind by means of the same light which brought her to the first, for by the light of the most holy faith she would

humble Lamb, My truth have for her, and her own fragility, which cannot respond to Me with due perfection. So she wanders, seeking by that light in what place and in what way she can pay her debt, trampling on her own fragility, and restraining her own will. Enlightened in her
have
learnt, in the blood of the
I

the ineffable love which

search by faith, she finds the place namely, holy religion which has been founded by the Holy Spirit, appointed as the ship to receive souls who wish to hasten to perfection, The Captain and to bring them to the port of salvation. of this ship is the Holy Spirit, who never fails in Himself through the defects of any of His religious subjects who

may

transgress

the rule

of

the

order.

The

ship

itself

cannot be damaged, but only the offender. It is true that the mistake of the steersman may send her down into the billows, and these are wicked pastors and prelates ap The ship herself is so pointed by the Master of the ship.
I say, then, delightful that thy tongue could not narrate it. that the soul, on fire with desire and a holy self-hatred,

having found her place by the light of faith, enters there as one dead, if she is truly obedient ; that is to say, if she And even if have perfectly observed general obedience. she should be imperfect when she enters, it does not follow
that she

attains

On the contrary, she herself in the virtue of obedience ; by exercising most of those There are who are enter indeed, imperfect. some who enter already in perfection, others in the childcannot attain perfection.
it

326

THE DIALOGUE OF
virtue, others

ST.

CATHERINE
others through penance,

hood of

through

fear,

others through allurements, everything depends on whether after they have entered they exercise themselves in virtue,

and persevere till death, for no true judgment can be made on a person s entrance into religion, but only on their perseverance, for many have appeared to be perfect who have afterwards turned back, or remained in the order with much imperfection, so that, as I have said, the act of
different

entrance into this ship ordained by Me, who call ways, does not supply material for

men
a

in

real

judgment, but only the love of those who persevere therein with true obedience. This ship is rich, so that there is no need for the subject to think about his necessities either
temporal or spiritual, for if he is truly obedient, and observes his order, he will be provided for by his Master, who is the Holy Spirit, as I told thee when I spoke to
thee of

My providence, saying that though thy servants No more are might be poor, they were never beggars. these, for they find everything they need, and those who observe this order find this to be indeed true. Wherefore,
their temporal substance never failed them, but they had their needs demanded. But because the stench
self-love has entered

see that in the days when the religious orders lived virtu ously, blossoming with true poverty and fraternal charity,

more than
of
private

and

caused

each

to

keep his

possessions and to fail in obedience, their tem poral substance has failed, and the more they possess to the greater destitution do they come. It is just that even
in the smallest matters they should experience the fruit of

disobedience, for had they been obedient and observed the vow of poverty, each would not have taken his own, and
lived

See the riches of these holy rules, so privately. thoughtfully and luminously appointed by those who were See with what judgment temples of the Holy Spirit. Benedict ordered his ship see with what perfection and
;

order of poverty Francis ordered his ship, decked with the pearls of virtue, steering it in the way of lofty perfection
,

to give his order for spouse, true and holy poverty, whom he had chosen for himself, embracing self-

being the

first

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
contempt

327

and self-hatred, not desiring to please any creature but only thy will ; desiring rather to be thought vile by the world, macerating his body and slaying his will,

clothing himself in insults, sufferings, and jibes, for love of he was fastened and nailed the humble Lamb, with

Whom

by love, so that by a singular grace there in his body the very wounds of thy Truth, show appeared of his body that which was in the love of in the vessel ing
to the

cross

his soul, so he prepared the way. But thou wilt say, Are not
"

all

the other religious

orders equally founded on this point ? Yes, but though are all founded on in no other is this the principal it, they

foundation
their
life

as with the virtues, though all the virtues draw from charity, nevertheless, as I explained tothee in another place, one virtue belongs especially to one man, and another to another, and yet they all remain in charity, so with the principal foundation of the religious orders.
;

Poverty belonged especially to My poor man Francis, who placed the principal foundation of his order in love for this
poverty, and made it very strict for those who were perfect, I say few for the few and the good, not for the majority.

because they are not many who choose this perfection, though now through their sins they are multiplied in numbers and deficient in virtue, not through defect of the ship, but

Now look through disobedient subjects and wicked rulers. at the ship of thy father Dominic, My beloved son he it sons most that his should ordered perfectly, wishing apply themselves only to My honour and the salvation of souls, with the light of science, which light he laid as his
:

principal foundation, not, however, on that account, being deprived of true and voluntary poverty, but having it also. And as a sign that he had it truly, and that the contrary

displeased him, he

left

as an heirloom to his sons his curse

and Mine,

if they should hold any possessions, either privately or in community, as a sign that he had chosen for his spouse Queen Poverty. But for his more immediate and personal object he took the light of science in order to

extirpate the

errors which

had arisen
of

in

his

time, thus

taking on him

the

office

My

only-begotten

Son,

the

328

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Word. Rightly he appeared as an apostle in the world, and sowed the seed of My Word with much truth and He was a light, dissipating darkness and giving light. light which I gave the world by means of Mary, placed in the mystical body of the Holy Church as an extirpator of heresies. Why do I say by means of Mary ? Because Mary gave him his habit this office was committed to her At what table does he feed his sons by My goodness. At the table of the cross, which with the light of science ?
is

honour.

the table of holy desire, when souls are eaten for My Dominic does not wish his sons to apply them

selves to anything, but remaining at this table, there to seek with the light of science, the glory and praise of name alone, and the salvation of souls. And in order that

My

they might do nothing else, he chose poverty for them, so It that they might not have the care of temporal things.
is

true that some failed in faith, fearing that they would not be provided for, but he never. Being clothed in faith, and hoping with firm confidence in My providence. He

wishes his sons to observe obedience and do their duty, and since impure living obscures the eye of the intellect, and not only the eye of the intellect, but also of the body,

he does not wish them to obscure their physical light with which they may more perfectly obtain the light of science wherefore he imposed on them the third vow of continence, and wishes that all should observe it, with true and perfect
obedience,

;

although to-day

it

is

badly observed.

They

also prevent the light of science with the darkness of pride, not that this light can be darkened in itself, but only in their souls, for there, where pride is, can be no obedience.

have already told thee that a man s humility is in propor and his obedience to his humility, and similarly, when he transgresses the vow of obedience, it rarely happens that he does not also transgress the vow of continence, either in thought or deed so that he has rigged his ship with the three ropes of obedience, continence, and true poverty he made it a royal ship, not obliging his subjects under pain of mortal sin, and illuminated by Me the true light, he provided for those who should be less
I

tion to his obedience,

;

;

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
perfect, for

329

though all who observe the order are perfect in one kind, yet possesses a higher degree of perfection than

another, yet all perfect or imperfect live well in this ship. He allied himself with My truth, showing that he did not
desire the death

of a sinner, but rather that he should be con Wherefore his religion is a delightful verted and broad joyous and fragrant, but the wretches garden, the order, but transgress its vows, have not observe do who and defiled it with their scanty virtue a desert into it turned

and

live.

and light of science, though they are nourished at its breast. I do not say that the order itself is in this condition, for it still possesses every delight, but in the beginning its sub and jects were not as they are now, but blooming flowers, to be another seemed Each men of great perfection.
St. Paul, their

eyes so illuminated that the darkness of error

was dissipated by their glance. Look at My glorious Thomas, who gazed with the gentle eye of his intellect at
Truth, whereby he acquired supernatural light and science infused by grace, for he obtained it rather by means

My

He was a brilliant light, of prayer than by human study. illuminating his order and the mystical body of the Holy Look at My Church, dissipating the clouds of heresy.
Peter, virgin and martyr, who by his blood gave light among the darkness of many heresies, and the heretics hated him

so that at last they took his life yet while he lived he applied himself to nothing but prayer, preaching, and disput ation with heretics, hearing confessions, announcing the
;

truth,

without any fear, to such an extent that he not only confessed it in his life but even at the moment of his death, for when he was at the last ex

and spreading the

faith

tremity, having neither voice nor ink left, having received his death-blow, he dipped his finger in his blood, and this glorious martyr, having not paper on which to write, leaned

over, confessing the faith, and wrote the Credo on the ground. His heart burnt in the furnace of charity, so that he

My

never slackened his pace nor turned his head back, though he knew that he was to die, for I had revealed to him his death, but like a true knight he fearlessly came forth on to
the battle-field
;

and

I

could

tell

thee the

same of many

330
others,

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

who though they did not actually experience martyr dom, were martyrs in will like Dominic great labourerswere these sent by My Father to labour in His vineyard
;

to extirpate the thorns of vice, planting the virtues in their stead. Of a truth Dominic and Francis were two columns

specially his
learning."

of the holy Church. Francis with the poverty which was own, as has been said, and Dominic with his

CHAPTER CXL.
Of the
disobedient
"

excellence of the obedient, and of the misery of the members of the religious orders.

that places suitable for obedience have been found r namely, these ships commanded by the Holy Spirit through the medium of their superiors, for, as I told thee, the Holy
Spirit is the true

Now

Master of these ships, which are

built in

the light of the most holy faith by those who have the light to know that My clemency, the Holy Spirit, will steer

them, and having thus
its
I

shown thee

perfection, speak disobedience of those who travel in such a ship, speaking of all together and not of one ship that is, one order in
particular,

will

to thee of the

the place of obedience and obedience and of the

showing thee the

sin of the disobedient

and the

virtue of the obedient, so that a man may better know the one by contrast with the other, and how he should walk if

he would enter the ship of a religious order. How should he walk who wishes to enter this state of perfect and par ticular obedience ? With the light of holy faith, by which he will know that he must slay his self-will with the knife of hatred of every sensual passion, taking the spouse which

The spouse is charity gives him, together with her sister. true and prompt obedience, and the sister, patience ; and he must also take the nurse of humility, for without this
nurse obedience would perish of hunger, for obedience soon dies in a soul deprived of this little virtue of humility.

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
"

331

Humility is not alone but has the handmaid of con tempt of self and of the world, which causes the soul to hold herself vile, and not to desire honour but shame. Thus dead to himself, should he who is old enough enter
the ship of a religious order, but however he may enter it (for I have told thee that I call souls in diverse ways), he

should acquire and preserve this affection, hurrying gene rously to seize the key of the obedience of his order, which

door which is in the panel of the door Such as these have undertaken to open the little door, doing without the great key of general obedience, which opens the door of Heaven, as I have said to thee. They have taken a little key, passing through a low and narrow opening in the great door. This small door is part
will

open the

little

of Heaven.

of the great door, as thou mayest see in any real door. They should keep this key when they have got it, and not throw it away. And because the truly obedient have seen

with the light of faith that they will never be able to pass through this little door with the load of their riches and the
losing their
will without great fatigue and without that they cannot walk with head erect and life, without breaking their neck, whether they wish to or not, they cast from them the load of their riches, and of their

weight of their

own

own

will

observing the

vow

to possess anything, for they see

of voluntary poverty, refusing by the light of faith to

what ruin they would come if they transgressed obedience, and the vow of poverty which they promised to keep. The disobedient walk in pride, holding their heads erect, and if sometimes it suits their convenience to obey they do not incline their heads with humility, but proudly do so, because they must, which force breaks the neck of their
will,

for

they

fulfil

their obedience with hatred

of

their

and of their superior. Little by little they are ruined on another point, for they transgress the vow of continence, for he who does not constrain his appetite or
order
strip himself of temporal substance

makes many

relations

and finds plenty of friends who love him for their own From these relations they go on to close intimacies, profit. their body they tend luxuriously, for being without either

332

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

the nurse of humility or her sister, self-contempt, they live in their own pleasure richly and delicately, not like religious

but

like

nobles,

without

watching or prayer.

This and

many other things happen to them because they have money to spend, for if they had it not they could not spend it. They fall into mental and physical impurity, for if
sometimes
from

shame or through

lack

of

means they

abstain physically, they indulge themselves mentally, for it is impossible for a man with many worldly relations, of
delicate habits and disordinate greediness, who watches not nor prays, to preserve his mind pure. Wherefore the per fectly obedient man sees from afar with the light of holy faith the evil and the loss which would come to him from temporal possessions and from walking weighed down by his own will he also sees that he is obliged to pass by this narrow door, and that in such a state he would die
;

having no key of said to thee, he is Wherefore it is that whether obliged to pass through it. he will or no he should not leave the the ship of the order, but should walk the narrow path of obedience to his
before
it,

he would be able to pass
it,

obedience wherewith to open

for as

I

superior.
"

himself

Wherefore the perfectly obedient man rises above and his own sensuality, and rising above his
feelings with living faith, places self-hatred as servant house of his soul to drive out the enemy of self-love,

own

in the

for he does not wish that his spouse, Obedience, given him with the light of faith by her mother, Chanty, should be offended so he drives out the enemy and puts in his place the nurse and companions of his spouse.
;

The love of obedience places in the house of his soul the lovers of his spouse, Obedience, who are the true and royal virtues, the customs and observances of his order, so
"

sweet spouse enters his soul with and her nurse, Humility, together contempt and Self-hatred, and when she has possesses peace and quiet, for her enemies
that
this

her
with

sister,

Patience,

Self-

entered she

have

been

exiled.

garden of true continence, with the sun of intellectual light shining in, the eye of holy faith
in the

She dwells

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
fixed on the object of and the fire of love with

333
is

My

truth, for

her object

My

truth,

which she observes the rules of* the order, warms all her servants and companions. Who are her enemies who have been expelled? The
"

chief is self-love,

producing pride, the enemy of humility
is

and

charity.

Impatience
of
true

the

enemy

of

patience,

obedience, infidelity of faith, pre sumption and self-confidence do not accord with the true hope which the soul should have in Me ; injustice cannot

disobedience

be conformed to

justice, nor imprudence to prudence, nor intemperance to temperance, nor the transgression of the commandments of the order to perfect observance of them nor the wicked conversation of those who live in sin to the
r

good conversation of enemies, causing him
tions of his order.

My

servants.

to leave the

These are a man s good customs and tradi
;

He

has also those other cruel enemies,
cruelty, against

anger, which wars against his benevolence
his

kindness

virtue,

wrath, against his benignity ; hatred of against the love of virtue ; impurity, against
; ;

chastity

negligence, against solicitude

;

ignorance, against

knowledge, and sloth against watchfulness and continued
prayer.

were

knew by the light of faith that all these enemies who would defile his spouse, holy obedience, he appointed hatred to drive them out, and love to replace them with her friends. Wherefore with the knife of hatred he slew his perverse self-will, who, nourished by self-love, gave life to all these enemies of
"

And

since he

his

the

true obedience, and having cut off the source by which all others are preserved in life, he remains free and in

peace without any war, for there is no one to make war on him, for the soul has cut of from herself that which kept her in bitterness and in sadness. What makes war on
obedience ?
Injuries ?

No,

for

the

obedient

man

is

The weight patient, patience being the sister of obedience. of the observances of the order ? for obedience No,
fulfil them. Does the weight of obedience him ? for he has trampled on his own will, give pain No, and does not care to examine or judge the will of his

causes him to

334

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

superior, for with the light of faith he sees

My

will in

him,

believing truly that My clemency causes him to command Is he according to the needs of his subject s salvation. disgusted and angry at having to perform the humble duties

of the order or to endure the mockeries, reproofs, jibes, and insults which are often cast at him, or to be held at little

worth ? No, for he has conceived love for self-contempt Wherefore he rejoices with patience, and self-hatred. exulting with delight and joy in the company of his spouse true obedience, for the only thing which saddens him is to His conversation is with see Me, his Creator, offended. those who truly fear Me, and if he should converse with those who are separated from My Will, it is not in order to conform himself to their sins, but to draw them out of their misery, for through the brotherly love which he has in his heart towards them he would like to give them the good which he possesses, seeing that more glory and praise would be given to My name by many observing aright Wherefore he their order than by him doing so alone. endeavours to convert religious and seculars by his words and by prayer, and by every means by which he can draw them out of the darkness of mortal sin. Thus the conversations of a truly obedient man are good and perfect, whether they be with just men or with sinners, through his Of rightly ordered love and the breadth of his charity. his cell he makes a heaven, delighting there to converse with Me, his supreme and eternal Father, with the affection of love, flying idleness with humble and continual prayer, and when, through the illusion of the Devil, thoughts come crowding into his cell, he does not sit down on the bed of negligence embracing idleness, nor care to examine by reason the thoughts or opinions of his heart, but he flies sloth, rising above himself and his senses with hatred and true humility, patiently enduring the weariness which he feels in his mind, and resisting by watching and humble prayer, fixing the eye of his intellect on Me, and seeing with the light of faith that I am his helper, and both can and will help him, and open to him the eyes of My kind ness, and that it is I who permit this suffering in order

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
that he

335

eager to fly himself and come to Me. seem to him that on account of his great And if it should of his mind, mental prayer is darkness the weariness and

may be more

impossible, he recites vocal prayers, or busies himself with some corporal exercises, so that by these means he may

looks at Me with the light which I give which draws forth true humility, for he him through love, of the peace and quiet of mind of deems himself unworthy but rather worthy of pain, for he My other servants, mind with hatred and selfdespises himself in his own reproach, thinking that he can never endure enough pain,

avoid idleness.

He

hope nor My providence fail him, but with and the key of obedience he passes over this stormy sea in the ship of his order, dwelling thus in his cell as has been said, and avoiding idleness. The obedient man wishes to be the first to enter choir and the last to leave it, and when he sees a brother more obedient than himself he regards him in his eagerness with a holy envy, stealing from him the virtue in which he excels, not wishing, however, that his brother should have less thereof, for if he wished this he would be separated The obedient man does not leave the from brotherly love. refectory, but visits it continually and delights at being at And as a sign that he delights table with the poor. therein, and so as to have no reason to remain without, he has abandoned his temporal substance, observing so per fectly the vow of poverty that he blames himself for His cell is considering even the necessities of his body. full of the odour of poverty, and not of clothes he has no
for neither his
faith
"

;

fear

that

thieves will

come

to rob
;

him, or that rust or

moths

will corrupt his

to him,

garments and if anything is given he does not think of laying it by for his own use,

but freely shares it with his brethren, not thinking of the morrow, but rather depriving himself to-day of what he needs, thinking only of the kingdom of heaven and how he

may

best observe true obedience.
in order that

"And

he may better keep to the path of

humility, he submits to small and great, to poor and rich, and becomes the servant of all, never refusing labour, but

336

THE DIALOGUE OF
all

ST.

CATHERINE

serving
to fulfil

The obedient man does not wish with charity. his obedience in his own way, or to choose his

time or place, but prefers the
superior. All this the truly

way

of his order and of his and perfectly obedient man

He passes with does without pain and weariness of mind. this key in his hand through the narrow door of the order, easily and without violence, because he observes the vows
of poverty, true obedience, and continence, having abandoned the heights of pride, and bowed his head to obedience

through humility.

He

does not break his neck through

impatience, but is patient with fortitude and enduring perse Thus he passes by the verance, the friends of obedience.
assaults of the devils, mortifying

and macerating

his

flesh,

stripping it bare of all pleasures and delights and clothing it with the labours of the order in a faith which despises nothing, for as a child who does not remember the blows

and

injuries inflicted

the spirit does not
inflicted

on him by his father, so this child of remember the injuries, pains, or blows

on him by his superior in the order, but calling him humbly, turns to him without without anger, hatred, or rancour, but with meekness and benevolence. These are those little ones of whom My Truth spoke to the disciples, who were contending among themselves which of them should be the greater, for calling a child, He Allow the little ones to come to Me, for of such is the said
"

:

whoever will not humble himself like keep this childlike condition), For he who humbles shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

kingdom of heaven
this child (that
is,

to be ;

who

will not

himself, dearest daughter, will be exalted, and he who exalts himself will be humbled, which also was said to you by

My Truth. Justly, therefore, are these humble little ones, humiliated and subjected through love, with true and holy obedience, who do not kick against the pricks of their order or superior, exalted by Me, the supreme and eternal Father,
with the true citizens of the blessed
life,

when they

are

rewarded

for all their labours,
life."

and

in this life

also do they

taste eternal

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

337

CHAPTER
How
eternal
fold.
life
;

CXLI.

the truly obedient receive a hundredfold for one, and also

and what

is

meant by

this one,

and

this

hundred

"

IN them

is fulfilled

Word,

My

the saying of the sweet and amorous only-begotten Son, in the gospel when He

Master, we have left everything replied to Peter s demand, and love s have sake, followed Thee, what wilt Thou for thy

give us ?

My

fold for one,

and you

truth replied, / will give you a hundred shall possess eternal life? As if
"

My

Truth had wished to say, Thou hast done in no other way couldest thou follow Me.
life,

well, Peter, for

will give thee a hundredfold

for

one.

And I, in this And what is

this

hundredfold, beloved daughter, besides which the To what did My Truth apostle obtained eternal life ?
refer?
"

To

temporal substance?

Do I not, however often cause Properly speaking, no. In one who gives alms to multiply in temporal goods ? In return for the gift of his return for what do I this ? own will. This is the one for which I repay him a

What is the meaning of the number a hundred ? A hundred is a perfect number, and cannot be So added to except by recommencing from the first. the most is of all the so virtues, perfect charity perfect that no higher virtue can be attained, except by re commencing at the beginning of self-knowledge, and thus
hundredfold.
increasing

many hundredfold
is

in

merit

;

but

you always
This
is

necessarily arrive at the

number one hundred.
to those

that

hundredfold which
the unit of their

given given Me in both will, general obedience, and in the particular obedience of the religious life. And in

who have

own

addition to this hundred
charity

you

also possess eternal
life,

life,

for

alone

enters

into

eternal
all

like

a

mistress

the other virtues, while remain their outside, bringing fruit, I say, into Me, the they eternal life, in whom the obedient taste eternal life. It is

bringing with her the fruit of

338

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

not by faith that they taste eternal life, for they experience in its essence that which they have believed through faith ;

nor by hope, for they possess that for which they had hoped, and so with all the other virtues, Queen Charity alone enters and possesses Me, her possessor. See, there fore, that these little ones receive a hundredfold for one, and also eternal life, for here they receive the fire of divine charity figured by the number a hundred (as has been And because they have received this hundredfold said). from Me, they possess a wonderful and hearty joy, for there is no sadness in charity, but the joy of it makes the heart large and generous, not narrow or double. A soul wounded by this sweet arrow does not appear one thing in face and tongue while her heart is different. She does not act towards or her with serve, neighbour dissembling and because is an book to be read by ambition, charity open Wherefore the soul who possesses charity never all. falls into trouble, or the affliction of sadness, or jars with obedience, but remains obedient until death."

CHAPTER

CXLII.
;

Of the perversities, miseries, and labours of the disobedient man and of the miserable fruits which proceed from disobedience.
"

CONTRARIWISE, a wicked disobedient man dwells in the ship of a religious order with so much pain to himself and others, that in this life he tastes the earnest of hell, he remains always in sadness and confusion of mind, tormented by the sting of conscience, with hatred of his order and superior, insupportable to himself. What a terrible thing it is, My daughter, to see one who has once taken the key of obedience of a religious order, living in disobedience, to which he has made himself a slave, for of disobedience he has made his mistress with her companion impatience, nourished by pride, and his own pleasure, which pride (as has been said) issues from self-love. For

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

339

him everything is the contrary to what it would be for For how can this wretch be in any other the obedient man.
state

than suffering, for he

is

deprived of charity, he

is

obliged by

force to incline the neck of his

own

will,

and

pride keeps it erect, all his desires are in discord with the The order commands obedience, and he will of the order.
loves disobedience

and he
order

avoids

it,

commands

commands voluntary poverty, possessing and acquiring riches ; the continence and purity, and he desires
;

the order

lewdness.

By transgressing

a religious comes to ruin, and

these three vows, My daughter, falls into so many miseries,

that his aspect is no longer that of a religious but of an incarnate devil, as in another place I related to thee at

greater length.

I will,

however,

tell

thee something

now

of

their delusion, and of the fruit which they obtained disobedience to the commendation and exhortation

by
of

obedience.

This wretched

man

is

because the eye of his intellect

is

deluded by his self-love, fixed, with a dead faith,

his self-will, and on things of the world. He left the world in body, but remained there in his affections,

on pleasing

and because obedience seems wearisome

to

him he wishes

to disobey in order to avoid weariness ; whereby he arrives at the greatest weariness of all, for he is obliged to obey

either

and

less
!

Oh

by force or by love, and it would have been better wearisome to have obeyed by love than without it. how deluded he is, and no one else deceives him but

himself.

Wishing to please himself he only gives himself displeasure, for the actions which he will have to do, through the obedience imposed on him, do not please him.

He wishes to enjoy delights and make this life his eternity, but the order wishes him to be a pilgrim, and continually
it to him ; for when he is in a nice pleasant resting where he would like to remain for the pleasures and delights he finds there, he is transferred elsewhere, and the change gives him pain, for his will was active against his obedience, and yet he is obliged to endure the discipline and labours of the order, and thus remains in continual

proves
place,

torment.

See, therefore,
fly pain,

how he

deludes

himself
it,

;

for,

wishing to

he on the contrary

falls into

for his

340

THE DIALOGUE OF
is

ST.

CATHERINE

blindness does not

which

My

let him know the road of true obedience, a road of truth founded by the obedient Lamb, only -begotten Son, who removed pain from it, so that

he walks by the road of

lies, believing that he will find delight there, but finding on the contrary pain and bitter is his guide ? ness. Self-love, that is his own

Who

passion for disobedience.

Such

a

man

thinks like a fool

to navigate this tempestuous sea, with the strength of his own arms, trusting in his own miserable knowledge, and
will not navigate
it in the arms of his order, and of his Such a one is indeed in the ship of the order in body, and not in mind ; he has quitted it in desire, not

superior.

observing the regulations or customs of the order, nor the three vows which he promised to observe at the time of his
profession
fro
;

he swims

in the

tempestuous

sea, tossed to

and

by contrary winds, fastened only to the ship by his clothes, wearing the religious habit on his body but not on his heart. Such a one is no friar, but a masquerader, His life is lower than an a man only in appearance. animal s, and he does not see that he labours more swim
his arms, than the good religious in the ship, or that he is in danger of eternal death ; for if his clothes should be suddenly torn from the ship, which will happen

ming with

at the

moment

does not

see, for

of self-love,

No, he he has darkened his light with the cloud whence has come his disobedience, which
of death, he will have no remedy.

prevents him seeing his misery, wherefore he miserably deceives himself. What fruit is produced by this wretched

tree?
"The

fruit

of death, because the root of his affection is

which he has drawn from self-love. Wherefore everything that issues from this root flowers, is corrupt, and the three boughs of this leaves, and fruit tree, which are obedience, poverty, and continence, which
planted
in

pride,

corrupted.
in the

spring from the foot of the tree ; that is, his affections are The leaves produced by this tree, which are

his words, are so corrupt that they would be out of place mouth of a ribald secular ; and if he have to preach

My

doctrine, he does so in polished terms, not simply, as

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
one who should feed souls with the seed of

341

My Word,

Look at the stinking flowers but with eloquent language. of this tree, which are his diverse and various thoughts,
which he voluntarily welcomes with delight and pleasure, not flying the occasions of them, but rather seeking them in order to be able to accomplish a sinful act, the which is the fruit which kills him, depriving him of the light of And what stench grace, and giving him eternal death. comes from this fruit, sprung from the flowers of the tree ?

The stench
;

of disobedience, for, in the secret of his heart,

he wishes to examine and judge unfaithfully his superior s will a stench of impurity, for he takes delight in many
foul conversations,
"

Wretch

wretchedly tempting his penitents. that thou art, dost thou not see that under the

colour of devotion thou concealest a troop of children ? This comes from thy disobedience. Thou hast not chosen
the virtues for thy children as does the truly obedient religious ; thou strivest to deceive thy superior when thou seest that he denies thee something which thy perverse

using the leaves of smooth or rough words, Thou canst not speaking irreverently and reproving him. endure thy brother, nor even the smallest word and reproof
will desires,

which he may make to

thee, but

in

such a case thou im

mediately bringest forth the poisoned fruit of anger and hatred against him, judging that to be done to thy hurt

which was done for thy good, and thus taking scandal, thy soul and body living in pain. Why has thy brother Because thou livest for thy own sensual displeased thee ?
pleasure, thou fliest thy cell as
if it

were a prison,

for

thou

of self-knowledge, and thus fallen into disobedience, wherefore thou canst not remain in thy material cell. Thou wilt not appear in the refectory against
hast abandoned the
cell

thy will whilst thou hast anything to spend hast nothing left necessity takes thee there.
"

;

when thou

to observe their

Therefore the obedient have done well, who have chosen vow of poverty, so that they have nothing

to spend, and therefore are not led away from the sweet table of the refectory, where obedience nourishes both body

and soul

in peace

and

quiet.

The

obedient religious does

342

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

not think of laying a table, or of providing food for himself
like this wretched man, to whose taste it is painful to eat in the refectory, wherefore he avoids it ; he is always the last to enter the choir, and the first to leave it ; with his lips he approaches Me, with his heart he is far from Me.

He
he he

gladly escapes from through fear of penance.
is
felt it

the

When

chapter-house when he can he is obliged to be there,

covered with shame and confusion for the faults which

What is the cause of this ? does not watch in prayer, and not only does he omit mental prayer, but even the Divine office to He has no fraternal charity, because which he is obliged.
no shame
to commit.

Disobedience.

He

he loves no one but himself, and that not with a reasonable but with a bestial love. So great are the evils which fall on the disobedient ; so many are the fruits of sorrow which he produces, that thy tongue could not relate them. Oh ! the soul of which the of obedi disobedience, deprives light Disobedience ence, destroying peace, and giving war and life the destroys gives death, drawing religious out of the ship of the observance of his order, to drown him in the sea, making him swim in the strength of his own arms, and not repose on those of the order. Disobedience clothes
!

him with every misery, causes him to die of hunger, taking away from him the food of the merit of obedience, it gives him continual bitterness, depriving him of every sweetness and good, causing him to dwell with every evil. In this life it gives him the earnest of cruel torments to endure, and if he do not amend before his clothes are loosened from
the ship at death, disobedience will lead the soul to eternal damnation, together with the devils who fell from heaven,

because they rebelled against Me. In the same way hast oh disobedient rebelled thou, man, having against obedi ence and cast from thee the key which would have opened the door of heaven, opened instead the door of hell with the
!

key of

disobedience."

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

343

CHAPTER
Of the imperfection

CXLIII.

of those who live tepidly in religion, because they guard against mortal sin only and of the remedy by which they can be cured of their tepidity.
;

"

How many
"

are

these,

dearest

daughter,

who

live

thus

to-day in this ship ?

Many,

for

there

are

but

few of the opposite

sort,

who are truly obedient. There are, however, between those who are perfect and these wretches, a goodly number of those who live in an ordinary way in
that is to say,
order, neither perfectly as they ought, nor wickedly ; preserving, that is to say, their conscience in that they do not sin mortally, but living in tepidity and coldness of heart.
their

Wherefore, if these do not exercise themselves a little in the observance of the order, they are in great danger, and stand in need of much watchfulness, and of being roused from their tepidity, for if they remain as they are they are
very apt to fall, and even if they do not fall, they live according to their own choice and human pleasure, under colour of a religious life, studying rather to observe the ceremonies of the order, than the order itself so that
often through their scanty light they will be disposed to judge those who observe the order more perfectly than they do, though fulfilling the ceremonies to which they are so devoted with less perfection. Wherefore, in every way it
is dangerous for them to remain in this commonplace obedience for they coldly fulfil their obediences with much
;

labour and pain, because to a cold heart

it is wearisome to endure anything, and however much they may endure, they have but little fruit of it. They offend against their own perfection on which they have entered, and which they are bound to observe, and although they do less evil than those others of whom I have spoken to thee, they yet do evil. For they did not leave the world to content themselves with the key of obedience in general, but in order to unlock the door of Heaven with the special key of the obedience of

344

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

their order, which should be fastened with the cord of selfcontempt to the girdle of humility, as has been said, and

held tightly in the hand of burning love. dearest daughter, that these are indeed

Thou must know,
fit

to reach great perfection if they choose, because they are nearer to it than those other wretches, but in another sense it is harder to

their imperfections, than the wicked man Dost thou know why ? Because the sinner he does evil, and his conscience shows knows clearly that it him, and self-love which has weakened him is the reason why he does not struggle to abandon the sin which he sees Wherefore if you ask to be evil, with a natural light. a one Dost it such thou not know to be evil to do this ?

raise

them from
sin.

from his

He

will reply

Yes, but so great
it.

is

my

fragility that I

do

not seem able to escape from with My help he can escape

It is

not indeed true, for
;

he wish nevertheless, he knows that he is doing wrong, which knowledge renders it easy for him to abandon his sin, if he really wills to do so. But these tepid ones who neither do much harm nor much good do not recognise their state of obedience, nor how uncertain is their position not knowing it they take no pains to rise from it nor do they care to have it pointed out to them, and indeed, even when it is shown them, they remain bound by the chain of habit and custom through the
if
;

coldness of their heart.

from

their condition ?

How shall they be made to rise Let them take self-knowledge and

hatred of their

as fuel on the

pleasure and reputation and place them of My divine charity, betrothing them selves afresh, as they did when they entered the order, to the spouse of true obedience with the ring of holy faith,
fire

own

and let them no longer sleep in that state which is very Rightly can displeasing to Me and dangerous to them. the word be said to them, Be accursed, ye who are luke

warm
In the

;

will vomit

if only ye were altogether cold ; if ye do not amend, I mouth. And how will this happen ? you out of

My

way which
I

I

they are apt to

fall,

have told thee, for if they do not rise and if they fall they will be reprobated

would prefer that they should be as ice, that is to say, that they should have remained in the world under

by Me.

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

345

general obedience, which is, as it were, a block of ice, Wherefore compared with the fire of the truly obedient.
I have explained the words I said, If only you were cold. to thee in order that thou mightest not fall into the error of

thinking that

I

would rather

that

a

man

should be in the

ice of mortal sin, than in the tepidity of imperfection. No, it is not possible for Me to wish any man to be in sin, for

the poison of sin has no place in Me ; on the contrary, sin displeased Me so much in man, that I did not let it pass

without punishment, and since man was not sufficient to I rent the Word endure the pain due to his sin My only and He obediently worked out this pain in begotten Son, Let them arise therefore and exercise His own body. themselves in watching and humble and continual prayer let them look at their order, and on their founders who were men as they are, fed by the same food, bound in the same My Power way, and having the same God then as now. has not grown weak My will desires your salvation no less than theirs My wisdom has not grown dim, but still illuminates you, so that you may know My truth. There
;
;

fore they can rise if they will if, that is to say they will the their state before of their intellect, piercing eye place

the cloud of

self-love,

and running

in the light with those

who

are perfectly obedient. In this way they will join them, but in no other so this is their remedy."

CHAPTER

CXLIV.
of the advantages lays hold of it.

Of the excellence of obedience, and brings to him who truly
4
i

which

it

THIS

is

man, who renews

the true remedy, possessed by the really obedient the virtue of it every day, increasing

obedience with the light of faith, longing for insults and mockery, that heavy labours should be imposed on him by his superior for the virtue of obedience, and of her sister
patience not to

grow

rusty.

So

that

when

the time comes

346

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

that they are needed, they never fail or become difficult to exercise, wherefore the obedient man is continually sounding

the instrument of his desire, and lets no opportunity pass, so great is his appetite for obedience. Obedience is an

eager

spouse
!

who does

not wish

to
!

remain

idle.

Oh

!

Oh ! pleasant Oh ! sweet ! Oh t delightful obedience ! illuminative For thou hast scattered the darkness of
self-love.

Thou, oh

!

vivifying obedience, givest the

life

of

grace to the soul,
his own Thou art
rational

who has chosen

will, which brings war so generous that thou subjectest thyself to every

thee for spouse, slaying and death to the soul.

Thou art benignant and kind, and the greatest weights, for thou art accom panied by fortitude and true patience. Thou art crowned with true perseverance, thou dost not fail through the importunity
creature.

meekly bearest

of thy superior on account of the heavy loads which he indis creetly may impose upon thee, but with the light of faith

endurest everything. Thou art so closely bound to humility that no creature can snatch thee from the hand of the soul
holy desire) who possesses thee. more can we say, dearest and beloved daughter, of this most excellent virtue ? will say that it is a good

(which

is

"What

We

without any admixture of evil that it remains hidden in the ship so that no contrary wind may hurt it, that it causes the soul to advance leaning on the arms of the order

and of her superior, and not on her own, because the truly obedient man has not to give an account of himself to Me
his superior has that responsibility.
"

virtue.

Become enamoured, oh beloved daughter, of this Dost thou wish to show gratitude for the

glorious benefits

which thou hast received from Me, thy Eternal Father? Be obedient, for obedience proceeding from charity shows
It will prove to thee thy own gratitude, if thou gratitude. art not ignorant, because it proceeds from knowledge of It is a good which can be seen in the example of truth.

My

who as your model taught you the way of obedience, being obedient Himself unto the shameful death of the Cross, with which obedience He unlocked the Gate
the word,

of Heaven, and established both general obedience and the

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

347

particular obedience of religion, as I related to thee at the This obedience beginning of this treatise of obedience.

gives

faithful to

a light in the soul, which shows whether she is Me and her order and superior, in which light of

holy faith she forgets herself; for, by the obedience which she has acquired through the light of faith, she shows that

her will

is

dead to

its

own

feeling,

and seeks the advantage

Just as the disobedient man who examines the will of his superior, and judges it accord ing to his own low opinion and darkened knowledge instead of judging his own perverse will, which gives him death,
of others and not her own.

the truly obedient man, illuminated by faith, judges the will of his superior to be good, and therefore does not examine head and nourishes his soul with the it, but inclines his

odour of true and holy obedience.

And

this virtue increases

in the soul in proportion to the shining of the light of faith,

with which the soul knows herself, and Me, whom she loves, and humbles herself ; and the more she loves Me and

humbles

herself, the more obedient she becomes, for obedience and her sister patience prove whether the soul is in truth clothed with the nuptial garment of charity, which
is

In this way their necessary to enter into eternal life. obedience opens the door of Heaven, while Charity, who

gave this key to the soul, enters with the fruit of obedience. I have told thee that Charity alone enters, while every other virtue remains without. But obedience is rightly the key which opens the door, because the disobedience of the first man closed it, and it was the obedience of the humble, that faithful, immaculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son, opened the door of eternal life, which had so long remained
closed.

348

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER CXLV.
A
distinction
religious,
"As

between two kinds of obedience the one that of and the other that paid to any secular person.
;

I have said to thee, He left this sweet obedience as His rule and doctrine, giving it to you as the key to open He left it by the door by which you reach your end. command in the case of general obedience, and by counsel for those of you who should wish to advance to great per fection and pass through the narrow door of religious life. And there are also those who belong to no religious order, and yet are in the ship of perfection. Such as these observe

the perfection of the counsels, outside religion, having re nounced the riches and pomps of the world, both in fact and in thought, and observing continence, some in the
virginal state

and some without

virginity.

They observe

obedience, submitting, as I told thee in another place, to some creature whom they strive to obey perfectly until
death.

they religious order have greater merit, I should reply that the merit of obedience is not measured according to the act or place, as being greater when per
in a

And if who dwell

thou shouldest ask

Me

whether these or

formed by a good man than by a bad man, or by a secular than by a religious, but according to the measure of love of him who obeys for to a truly obedient man the imperfec tion of a wicked superior does no harm ; rather it sometimes profits him, because through the persecutions and unwiselygiven weight of a too heavy obedience he may acquire both the virtue of obedience and her sister patience. Nor does
;

the imperfection of the place hurt him.
tion,"

I

"

say

imperfec

more perfect, firm, and stable than any other condition of life. Wherefore the place of those who
for religion is
little

hold the

key of obedience, observing the counsels out

side a religious order, I indeed call imperfect, but not so their obedience, which is of no less merit ; because all obedi

ence, as has been said, and every other virtue, is measured by the degree of love. It is indeed true that in many other

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

349

ways, both by the vow which is made to the superior, and also because a religious has more to endure, obedience is better proved in religion than in the world, because in religion every action of the body is bound to this yoke, from which a man cannot free himself when he wishes without
mortal sin, because of his vow and the sanction of the holy But these others are not in the same condition. Church.

They

are

for obedience, but not with a

bound voluntarily by the love which they have solemn vow. Wherefore they

can leave the obedience of any mortal creature without mortal sin, if they have legitimate reasons, though their own for if they leave their obedience defects are not such their own defects, they would not do so without a through not incur mortal sin in the would grave fault, though they
;

strict

Dost thou know the difference sense of the word. between these two ? This man is like one who should take back what he has
"

given his neighbour through love without any intention of asking for it again, but without having made an agreement
to that effect

while the religious gives himself and draws ; the agreement of his profession, abandoning himself to up the hands of his superior and promising to observe obedi
ence, continence, and voluntary poverty, and the superior on his side promises him eternal life if he observe his vow
until

his
is

death.

religion

more

observance, place, and manner, perfect, and obedience in the world less
In

perfect. In the former a man is safer, and if he fall is more likely to rise, because he has more help ; and the latter is

more doubtful and
he
fall to

less secure,

and a man

is

more

likely if

turn his face backwards, because he does not feel himself bound by a vow, like a religious before he is pro fessed ; for until profession he can leave the order, though afterwards he cannot.
thee, is

But merit, as
obedient

I

given

to the truly
;

man

said and repeat to according to the

measure of his love and he may obtain perfect merit in One man I call any state, for it is founded on love alone. to one state, and another to another, according to the fitness
of each;
but
;

all

are
if

measure

so that

filled with love according to their a particular secular loves more than a

350

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

ticular religious if

a par particular religious he receives more, and the same he love more than a particular secular

and

this is true for all other

men."

CHAPTER CLXVI.
How God
does not reward merit according to the labour of the obe
dient, nor according to the length of time which it takes, but according to the love and promptitude of the truly obedient ; and of the miracles which God has performed by means of this vir

tue ; and of discretion in obedience, and of the works and reward of the truly obedient man.
I HAVE appointed you all to labour in the vineyard of obedience in different ways, and every man will receive a
"

price, according to the measure of his love, and not accord ing to the work he does, or the length of time for which he

works, that is to say, that he who comes early will not have more than he who comes late, as My Truth told you in the holy gospel by the example of those who were standing idle and were sent by the lord of the vineyard to labour ; for he gave as much to those who went at dawn, ,as to those who went at prime or at tierce, and those who went at sext, at none, and even at vespers, received as much as the first. My Truth showing you in this way that you .are rewarded not according to time or work, but according to the measure of your love. Many are placed in their
childhood to

work

in the vineyard
;

;

some enter
latter

later in life,

and others
such
fire

in old

age

sometimes these

labour with

of love, seeing the shortness of the time, that they who entered in their childhood, because they those rejoin have advanced but slowly. By love of obedience then,
filling

does the soul receive her merit,

the vessel of her

There are many whose obe heart in Me, the Sea Pacific. dience is so prompt, and has become, as it were, so incarnate in them, that not only do they wish to see reason in what
is

;the

ordered them by their superior, but they hardly wait until word is out of his mouth, for with the light of faith

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

351

Wherefore the truly obe they understand his intention. dient man obeys rather the intention than the word, judging that the will of his superior is fixed in My will, and that therefore his command comes from My dispensation, and from My will, wherefore I say to thee that he rather obeys
the intention than the word.

having

He also obeys the word, obeyed in affection his superior s will, seeing and judging it by the light of faith to be Mine. This is well shown in the lives of the fathers, where you read of a religious, who at once obej ed in his affection the
first

spiritually

command

of his superior, commencing to write the letter
;

o,

though he had not space to finish it wherefore to show how pleasing his prompt obedience was to Me, My clemency gave him a proof by writing the other half of the letter in gold. This glorious virtue is so pleasing to Me, that to no other have I given so many miraculous signs and testimonies, for it proceeds from the height of faith.
"

In order to

show how pleasing
of

it

is to

Me, the earth

obeys this under the

virtue, the
feet

water grows solid animals obey it And as for the the obedient man.

obedience of the earth, thou rememberest having read of that disciple who, being given a dry stick by his abbot, and being ordered by obedience to plant it in the earth and water it every day, did not proceed to ask how could
it

possibly do

any good,
fulfilled his

but,

without

inquiring

about

possibilities,

he

obedience in such virtue of faith

that the dry wood brought forth leaves and fruits, as a sign that that soul had risen from the dryness of disobedience, and, covered by the green leaves of virtue, had brought
forth the fruit of obedience, wherefore the fruit of this tree

was

called

by the

Thou
for

wilt also

find that

holy fathers the fruit of obedience. animals obey the obedient man ;

a certain disciple,

his purity

commanded by obedience, through and virtue caught a dragon and brought it to his

abbot, but the abbot, like a true physician of the soul, in order that he might not be tossed about by the wind of
vain-glory, and to prove his patience, sent him away with Beast that thou art, thou hast harsh words, saying another with thyself. And as to fire, beast brought along
:

352

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

thou hast read in the holy scripture that many were placed in the fire, rather than transgress My obedience, and, at My command were not hurt by it. This was the case of the three children, who remained happily in the furnace

and of many others of whom I could tell thee. The water bore up Maurus who had been sent by obedience to save he did not think of himself, but a drowning disciple
;

thought only with the light of faith of how to fulfil the command of his superior, and so walked upon the water as In if he had been on dry land, and so saved the disciple.
everything,
wilt find
if

thou openest the eye of the

intellect,

thou

shown

forth the excellence of this virtue.

Every

thing else should be abandoned for the sake of obedience.
If thou wert lifted up in such contemplation and union of mind with Me, that thy body was raised from the earth, and an obedience were imposed on thee (speaking generally, and not in a particular case, which cannot give a law), thou

oughtest,

if

possible, to force thyself to arise, to

fulfil

the

obedience imposed on thee, though thou shouldest never I leave prayer, except for necessity, charity, or obedience.
the obedience of
to

say this in order that thou mayest see how prompt I wish My servants to be, and how pleasing it is
of merit to him.

Everything that the obedient man does is a source If he eats, obedience is his food, if he sleeps, his dreams are obedience if he walks, if he remains if he watches everything that he does is still, if he fasts, obedience if he serve his neighbour, it is obedience that he How is he guided in the choir, in the refectory, serves.

Me.

;

;

or his cell ?
faith,

By obedience, with the light of the most holy with which light he has slain and cast from him his humbled self-will, and abandoned himself with self-hatred
arms of his order and superior. Reposing with obedience in the ship, allowing himself to be guided by his superior, he has navigated the tempestuous sea of this life, with calm and serene mind and tranquillity of heart, because obedience and faith have taken all darkness from
to the

him and
all

he remains strong and firm, having lost all weakness having destroyed his own will, from which comes And what is the food feebleness and disordinate fear.
;

fear,

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

353

She eats knowledge of self, and of this spouse obedience ? of Me, knowing her own non-existence and sinfulness, and
knowing

My
The

thus eating and knowing What does she drink ? truth in the Incarnate Word.
that
I
is,

am He who

Blood, in which the
ineffable

Word

and the

love which

I

has shown her, My Truth, have for her, and the

obedience imposed on Him by Me, His Eternal Father, so she becomes inebriated with the love and obedience of the Word, losing herself and her own opinions and knowledge,

and possessing
light of faith in
"The

Me by

grace, tasting

Me by

love, with the

holy obedience. obedient man speaks words of peace

all

his

life,

and

at

his death receives that

which was promised him

at his death

his superior, that is to say eternal life, the vision of peace, and of supreme and eternal tranquillity and rest, the inestimable good which no one can value or understand,

by

for, being the infinite good, it cannot be understood by anything smaller than itself, like a vessel, which, dipped into the sea, does not comprehend the whole sea, but only that

quantity which it contains. So I, the Sea Pacific, am

The

sea alone contains

itself.

He who

and value Myself truly. And comprehension of Myself I rejoice, and this joy, the good which I have in Myself, I share with you, and with all, I do not leave according to the measure of each. you
empty, but
fill

alone can comprehend in My own estimate and

Thus, then, the obedient man, with the light of faith in the truth burning in the furnace of charity, anointed with humility, inebriated with the
Blood, in

comprehends and knows which it is given to him.

you, giving you perfect beatitude ; each man My goodness in the measure in

company with

contempt, fortitude, other virtues (that is, with the fruit of the virtues), receives
his end from Me, his
Creator."

his sister patience, and with selfand enduring perseverance, and all the

354

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

CHAPTER
This
"

CXLVII.

is

a brief repetition of the entire book.
satis

I

HAVE now, oh dearest and best beloved daughter,

fied

from the beginning to the end thy desire concerning
If

obedience.

thou rememberest well, thou didst make four petitions with anxious desire, or rather I caused thee to make them in order to increase the fire of My love in thy soul one for thyself, which I have satisfied, illuminating thee
"

of

Me

:

with
thee

My

truth,

this truth

and showing thee how thou mayest know which thou didst desire to know explaining to
;

mightest come to the knowledge of it the knowledge of thyself and Me, through the light through The second request thou didst make of Me was of faith.
that
I

how thou

should do mercy to the world.

In the third thou
I

didst pray for the mystical
its iniquities at

body of the holy Church, that
it,

would remove darkness and persecutions from

punishing
to

own

desire in thy person.

As

this

I

explained that no penalty inflicted in finite time can satisfy for a sin committed against Me, the Infinite Good, unless it
is

united with the desire of the soul and contrition of the

heart.
I

How

this is to

be done
I

I

have also

told thee that

wish

to

have explained to thee. do mercy to the world,

proving to thee that mercy is My special attribute, for through the mercy and the inestimable love which I had for man, I sent to the earth the Word, My only-begotten Son, whom, that thou mightest understand things quite clearly,
I

from earth
"

represented to thee under the figure of a Bridge, reaching to heaven, through the union of My divinity with
I

your human nature.
also

showed

thee, to give thee further light

concerning
;

on three steps that is, These soul. three steps I also three of the the on powers under thou to as knowest, thee, figures of thy represented the mouth the and the feet, side, by which I also body

My

truth,

how

this

Bridge

is built

figured three states of soul

the imperfect state, the perfect

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE
state,

355

which the soul arrives have shown thee clearly in each state the means of cutting away imperfection and reaching perfection, and how the soul may know by which road she is walking and of the hidden delusions of the devil and of spiritual self-love. Speaking of these three states I have also spoken of the three judgments which My clemency one in this life, the second at death on those who delivers

and the most perfect

state, in
I

at the excellence of unitive love.

die in mortal sin without hope, of whom I told thee that they went under the Bridge by the Devil s road, when I

of the

spoke to thee of their wretchedness. last and universal judgment.

And the third is And I who told

that

thee

somewhat of the
the blessed,

when

suffering of the damned and the glory of all shall have reassumed their bodies

given by Me, also promised thee, and now again I repeat my promise, that through the long endurance of My servants
I

will reform

My spouse.

Wherefore

I

invite thee to endure,

Myself lamenting with thee over her iniquities. have shown thee the excellence of the ministers

And
I

I

have

given her, and the reverence in which I wish seculars to hold them, showing thee the reason why their reverence towards My ministers should not diminish on account of the sins of the latter, and how displeasing to me is such
diminution of reverence
live like angels.
ject,
I
;

and of the virtue of those who

while speaking to thee on this sub also touched on the excellence of the sacraments.

And

And

further wishing thee to
I

know
to

of the states of tears and

whence they proceed,
told thee that all

thee on the subject and spoke tears issue from the fountain of the heart,

and pointed out
11

their causes to thee in order.

told thee not only of the four states of tears, but also I have also answered of the fifth, which germinates death.
1

thy fourth request, that I would provide for the particular case of an individual; I have provided as thou knowest. Further than this, I have explained My providence to thee,
in general
is

and

in particular,

showing thee how everything

divine providence, from the first beginning of the world until the end, giving you and permitting every thing to happen to you, both tribulations and consolations

made by

356

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

temporal and spiritual, and every circumstance of your life your good, in order that you may be sanctified in Me, and My truth be fulfilled in you, which truth is that I
for

created
this
"

you

in order to possess eternal

life,

and manifested

with the blood of
I

have also
of

in

My My last words
;

only-begotten Son, the Word.
fulfilled

promise to speak of the perfection of obedience
perfection

thy desire and My and the im

and how obedience can be I have shown it to thee as a destroyed. universal key, and so it is. I have also spoken to thee of particular obedience, and of the perfect and imperfect, and of those in religion, and of those in the world, explaining the condition of each distinctly to thee, and of the peace given by obedience, and the war of disobedience, and how
disobedience
obtained and

how

the disobedient

came
I,

deceived, showing thee how death by the disobedience of Adam, and how the Eternal Father, supreme and eternal Truth, give thee
is

man

into the world

this conclusion of the

the only begotten
that first old
all

whole matter, that in the obedience of Word, My Son, you have life, and as from
contracted the infection of death, so

man you

of you who will take the key of obedience have contracted the infection of the life of the new Man, sweet Jesus, of
I

whom

made
I

And now

a Bridge, the road to Heaven being broken. urge thee and My other servants to grief, for by

your grief and humble and continual prayer I will do mercy to the world. Die to the world and hasten along this way
of truth, so as not to be taken prisoner if thou goest slowly. I demand this of thee now more than at first, for now I

have manifested to thee

My truth.

Beware

that thou never

leave the cell of self-knowledge, but in this cell preserve and spend the treasure which I have given thee, which is a
doctrine of truth founded upon the living stone, sweet Christ Jesus, clothed in light which scatters darkness, with which
doctrine
clothe
thyself,
truth."

My

best

beloved

and

sweetest

daughter, in the

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

357

CHAPTER
How
this

CXLVIII.

most devout soul, thanking and praising God, makes prayer whole world and for the Holy Church, and commending the virtue of faith brings this work to an end.
for the

THEN

that soul, having seen with the eye of the intellect,
light of

and having known by the

holy faith the truth and

excellence of obedience, hearing and tasting it with love and ecstatic desire, gazed upon the divine majesty and gave thanks to him saying, Thanks, thanks to Thee, oh eternal Father,
"

despised my desires, Thou, the Light, hast not regarded my darkness ; Thou, true Life, hast not regarded my living death ; Thou, the Physician,
hast not been repelled by my grave infirmities ; Thou, the eternal Purity, hast not considered the many miseries of

for Thou hast not despised me, turned Thy face from me, nor

the

work of Thy hands, nor

which
that
folly
finite
I
;

I am full Thou, who art the Infinite, hast overlooked am finite Thou, who art Wisdom, hast overlooked my Thy wisdom, Thy goodness, Thy clemency, Thy in
; ;

good, have overlooked these infinite evils and sins, and the many others which are in me. Having known the truth through Thy clemency, I have found Thy charity, and the
love of

What has constrained me ? Not neighbour. my virtues, but only Thy charity. May that same charity constrain Thee to illuminate the eye of my intellect with the

my

light of faith,

so that

I

may know and understand
to

the truth

which Thou hast manifested

me.

Grant that

may
burn

be capable of retaining
in the fire of
I

Thy

benefits, that

my memory my will may
work
in

Thy

and that by that blood give my given for love of the Blood, together with the key of obe I ask this of dience, I may unlock the door of Heaven.
that
all my heart, for every rational creature, both general and in particular, in the mystical body of the I confess and do not deny that Thou didst holy church.

me

charity, and body to blood,

may

that fire so

Thee with
in

love

me

before

I

existed,

and that

Thy

love

for

me

is

ineffable, as if

Thou wast mad with

love for

Thy

creature.

358

THE DIALOGUE OF

ST.

CATHERINE

Oh, eternal Trinity ! oh Godhead ! Which Godhead gave value to the Blood of Thy Son, Thou, oh eternal Trinity, art
a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek the soul cannot be
;

satiated in

Thy abyss, continually hungers after Thee, the eternal Trinity, desiring to see Thee with light
in

for she

Thy

light.

As

the hart

desires the spring of living

water, so

body
from

soul desires to leave the prison of this dark and see Thee in truth. long, oh ! Eternal

my

How

Trinity, fire

will thy face be hidden Melt at once the cloud of my body. The knowledge which Thou hast given me of Thyself in Thy truth, constrains me to long to abandon the heaviness of

and abyss of
?

love,

my

eyes

my

body, and to give
for I

Thy Name,
trinity,

my life for the glory and praise of have tasted and seen with the light of

Thy light, the abyss of Thee the eternal and the beauty of Thy creature, for, looking at myself in Thee, I saw myself to be Thy image, my life being given me by Thy power, oh eternal Father, and Thy wisdom, which belongs to Thy only-begotten Son, shining in my intellect and my will, being one with Thy Holy Spirit, who proceeds from Thee and Thy Son, by
the intellect in
!

whom I am my creator,

able to love Thee.

Thou, Eternal Trinity,
I

art

and

I

am

the

work of Thy hands, and

know

through the new creation which Thou hast given me in the blood of Thy Son, that Thou art enamoured of the beauty of Thy workmanship. Oh Abyss, oh Eternal Godhead, oh Sea Profound what more couldst Thou give me than Thyself, Thou art the fire which ever burns without being consumed ; Thou consumest in Thy heat all the soul s selflove Thou art the fire which takes away all cold ; with
!
!

!

!

;

Thy Thy

light

truth

Thou dost illuminate me so that I may know all Thou art that light above all light, which
;

illuminates supernaturally the eye of my intellect, clarifying the light of faith so abundantly and so perfectly, that I see
that

my

soul

is alive,

and

in

this light receives

Thee

the

true light. By the Light of faith I have acquired wisdom in the wisdom of the Word Thy only-begotten Son. In the light of faith I am strong, constant, and persevering.

A TREATISE OF OBEDIENCE

359

This

In the light of faith I hope, suffer me not to faint by the way. light, without which I should still walk in darkness,

teaches

me

Father, that

holy

faith.

Thou Of a

the road, and for this hast illuminated
truth

I

said,

Oh

!

Eternal
the soul

me

with the light of

this light is

a sea, for

Sea Pacific. The water of the sea is not turbid, and causes no fear to the soul, for it is a deep which manifests sweet she knows the truth the light of Thy faith abounds, the that where so secrets, This water is a soul is certain of what she believes. which Eternal into the mirror Thou, Trinity, biddest magic me gaze, holding it with the hand of love, that I may see
revels in Thee, Eternal Trinity, the
;

myself,

and Thyself

who am Thy creature, there represented in Thee, in me through the union which Thou didst make of Thy godhead with our humanity. For this light I know to represent to myself Thee the Supreme and Infinite Good, Good Blessed and Incomprehensible, Good Inestimable. Beauty above all beauty Wisdom above all wisdom for Thou art wisdom itself. Thou, the food of the angels, hast given Thyself in a fire of love to men
;
;

Thou, the garment which covers all our nakedness, feedest Oh Sweet, without any the hungry with Thy sweetness. I have oh Eternal known in Thy light, Trinity, bitter, which Thou hast given me with the light of holy faith, the many and wonderful things thou hast declared to me,
!

!

explaining to
that
I

me

may no longer serve thee

the path of supreme perfection, so that I in darkness, but with light, and

be the mirror of a good and holy life, and arise miserable my sins, for through them I have hitherto I have not known Thy truth served Thee in darkness.

may

from

and have not loved it. Why did I not know Thee ? Because I did not see Thee with the glorious light of the because the cloud of self-love darkened the holy faith of my intellect, and Thou, the Eternal Trinity, hast eye
;

Thy light. Who can attain and Thy Greatness, give Thee thanks for such im measurable gifts and benefits as Thou hast given me in this doctrine of truth, which has been a special grace over and above the ordinary graces which Thou givest also to
dissipated the darkness with
to

360

THE DIALOGUE OF
other creatures ?

ST.

CATHERINE

Thou hast been willing to con descend to my need and to that of Thy creatures the need of introspection. Having first given the grace to ask the question, Thou repliest to it, and satisfiest Thy servant, penetrating me with a ray of grace, so that in that

Thy

light

I

may
!

Thee, oh

give Thee thanks. Eternal Truth, that

I

may run my

Clothe me, clothe me with mortal course

with true obedience and the light of holy faith, with which light I feel that my soul is about to become inebriated
afresh."

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