05 January 2010

Arriving at Perfection

Dwell within the cell of your soul. This cell is a well in which there is earth as well as water. In the earth we recognize our own poverty: we see that we are not. We see that our being is from God. O ineffable blazing charity! I see next that as we discover the earth we get to the living water, the very core of the knowledge of God’s true and gentle will which desires nothing else but that we be made holy. So let us enter into the depths of this well. For if we dwell there, we will necessarily come to know both ourselves and God’s goodness. In recognizing that we are nothing we humble ourselves.

This is the cell of true self-knowledge, and there you will find knowledge of God’s goodness in you. This cell is really two rooms in one, and while you are in the one you must at the same time be in the other; otherwise your soul would end up either in confusion or presumption. For if you stayed in self-knowledge, spiritual confusion would be the result. And if you stayed only in knowledge of God, you would end up in presumption. So the one has to be seasoned by the other, and the two made to be one. When this is accomplished you will arrive at perfection. Here is why: From knowledge of yourself you will gain hatred for your selfish sensuality, and because of that hatred you will be a judge. You will mount the bench of your conscience and demand an account of yourself, letting no sin pass without doing it justice. From this knowledge issues the spring of humility.

In the knowledge of God you will discover the fire of divine charity, where you will find your pleasure on the cross with the spotless Lamb, searching out God’s honor and the salvation of souls in continual and humble prayer.

~ Saint Catherine of Siena ~