Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue with God

“Catherine of Siena moved in remarkably wide circles for a woman of fourteenth century Italy, ” writes Dr. Suzanne Noffke (see Catherine of Sienna). “She was a mystic whose plunge into God plunged her deep into the affairs of society, Church, and the souls of all who came under her influence. ” Catherine wrote her most important work, The Dialogue, from 1377 to 1378, about two years before her death at age 33. In it, Catherine directs questions and prayers to God, and then reflects on God’s response. The book was one of the first books printed in Italy, Germany, Spain, and England.

A soul rises up, restless with tremendous desire for God’s honor and the salvation of souls.… Now this soul’s will was to know and follow truth more courageously. So she addressed four petitions to the most high and eternal Father, holding up her desire for herself first of all—for she knew that she could be of no service to her neighbors in teaching or example or prayer without first doing herself the service of attaining and possessing virtue.

Her first petition, therefore, was for herself. The second was for the reform of holy Church. The third was for the whole world in general, and in particular for the peace of Christians who are rebelling against holy Church with great disrespect and persecution. In her fourth petition she asked divine providence to supply in general and in particular for a certain case which had arisen. [It is not known what situation Catherine refers to here.] …

[In this section Catherine writes what she perceives to be God’s message to her.] You will find humility in the knowledge of yourself when you see that even your own existence comes not from yourself but from Me, for I loved ...

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