10 Quotes from The Treatise of Prayer by St. Catherine of Siena

Today is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, the Mystic of the Incarnate Word. Although she is well known for being a mediator of parties and for bringing the Papacy back to Rome after the 70 year Avignon “captivity”, her most famous writing is The Dialogue. The Dialogue, which was completed in 1370, is a document that focuses on four treatises – Divine Providence, Discretion, Prayer, and Obedience. The Dialogue was written by her own hands, to her secretaries, while she was in a state of ecstasy.

St. Catherine of Siena2

Here are 10 Quotes from The Treatise of Prayer…

1. “When the soul has passed through the doctrine of Christ crucified, with true love of virtue and hatred of vice, and has arrived at the house of self-knowledge and entered therein, she remains, with her door barred, in watching and constant prayer, separated entirely from the consolations of the world.”

2. “And so, with exercise in perseverance, she [the soul] will taste prayer in truth, and the food of the Blood of My only-begotten Son, and therefore I told you that some communicated virtually with the Body and Blood of Christ, although not 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.”

3. “Then 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.”

4. “Then said the Supreme and Sweet Truth of God, “Oh, beloved and dearest daughter, you beg knowledge of the reasons and fruits of tears…These are the tears of damnation. The former are those of fear, and belong to men who abandon sin from fear of punishment, and weep for fear. The third are the tears of those who, having abandoned sin, are beginning to serve and taste Me, and weep for very sweetness; but since their love is imperfect, so also is their weeping, as I have told you. The fourth are the tears of those who have arrived at the perfect love of their neighbor, 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 peace, as I will explain to you. I will tell you also of the tears of fire, without bodily tears of the eyes, which satisfy those who often would desire to weep and cannot. And I wish you 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.”

5. “I did not impose this law upon you, in order that My rational creature should be conquered by it, but in order that he should prove and increase the virtue of his soul, because virtue cannot be 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.”

6. “My Providence will never fail you, and every man, if he be humble, shall receive that which he is fit to receive; 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.”

7. “Wherefore, as I have said to you, I, God, have become man, and man has become God by the union of My Divine Nature with your human nature. This greatness is given 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 administered to you.”

8. “By receiving this Sacrament she dwells in Me and I in her, as the fish in the sea, and the sea in the fish — thus do I dwell in the soul, and the soul in Me — the Sea Pacific. In that soul grace dwells, for, since she has received this Bread of Life in a state of grace, My grace remains in her, after the accidents of bread have been consumed.”

9. “They are My anointed 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. The angel himself has no such dignity, for I have given it to those men whom I have chosen for My ministers, and whom I have appointed as earthly angels in this life. In all souls I demand purity and charity, that they should love Me and their neighbor, helping him by the ministration of prayer…”

10. “You have soothed me because with Your love and gentleness You have manifested Yourself to me, Sweet above all sweetness, and have illuminated the eye of my intellect with the light of most holy faith, with which light, according as it has pleased You to manifest it to me, I have known the excellence of grace which You have given to the human race, administering to it the entire God-Man in the mystic body of the holy Church.”

Saint Catherine of Siena…Pray For Us.

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