Catherine of Siena

In my Christian history class, we read some of the letters and prayers by Catherine of Siena. She lived in the 1300s and represents the theology of the Monastic period of Christianity. She spent lots of time in isolation and silent prayer. Her discipline and theology challenged people both then and now.

 Catherine wrote to the powerful, the famous, clergy, the pope and the ordinary person too. I found Catherine’s statements to be both encouraging and enlightening.

“God cannot free you from the world when you are smothered and suffocated by your worldly affections and disordered desires.”

“We can see neither our own dignity nor the defects which spoil the beauty of our soul, unless we look at ourselves in the peaceful sea of God’s being in which we are imaged.”

“If you had only self-knowledge, you would experience confusion of mind; and if you had only knowledge of God, you would fall into presumption. The one therefore needs to be seasoned by the other, so that together they become one and the same thing.”

“Our sin lies in nothing else, but in loving what you (God) hate and hating what you (God) love.”

“Take care not to love your neighbor for your own profit, for that would not be responding to the love which God has for you.”


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