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Posted April 17, 2011

Book: Path of Holiness: Wisdom from Catherine of Siena
Edited by Mary Lee Hill, FSP
Pauline Books and Media. Boston, MA. 2011. Pp. 98

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

How do I know if I’m living an authentic Christian life?

There are no cookie-cutter saints. Jesus calls each person to holiness, yet he call each of us in a unique way. Where can we find the guidance we need as we walk along our paths to God? Catherine’s legacy gives us a glimpse of the divine dealings with our souls. She is a sure guide along the way of loving service to our neighbors for the sake of Christ.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Soul Makes Four Requests

Inspired by a great desire for God’s glory and the good of others, having spent some time learning virtue and savoring God’s favor privately through self-knowledge, the soul arises, now full of love and anxious to seek truth and be clothed in it. To receive this enlightenment about God and herself, she realizes her need of humility and constant prayer. In truth, when one prays by following the footsteps of Christ crucified, that soul is united with God and he makes it another self because of its desire, affection, and love. This appears to be what Christ meant by saying: To those who love me and observe my word, I will make myself known and they will be one with me and I will be one with them. There are similar words in other places which illustrate that it really is by love that a soul becomes his other self. If I can make this even clearer, I recall being told by a certain servant of God how she had been in prayer, her mind elevated to God, and God revealed to her inner vision the love he has for his servants, saying for one thing: “Open your inner eye and gaze into me. See the dignity and the beauty to the soul created in my image and likeness. You can see those united with me in love are clothed in the wedding garments of charity and adorned with many virtues. Who are they, you ask me? The sweet loving Word responds: “These who have given up their own will are as another me. They are clothed with my will, united to me, conformed to me.”

Most certainly it is love that unites the soul to God. When one sincerely wants to know the truth and follow it, one must first lift up her own desires (knowing that a soul can be of little use to anyone else in teaching, example, or prayer, if she has not first mastered them personally), then turning to the gracious, eternal Father she asks these four petitions: first for himself; second for the reformation of Holy Church; third for the world in general, especially peace for those Christians who are disrespectfully in rebellion, persecuting the Church; and fourth, that Divine Providence would take care of everything, but especially fir a particular need.

Table of Contents:

1. On moderation

2. Faith comes from love

3. Pursuing God Alone

4. Spiritual practices

5. On love of God

6. On love of neighbor

7. Embracing suffering

8. Willingness to sacrifice

9. The soul filled with virtue

10. On reconciliation

11. Living a Christian life

12. Put on Jesus Christ

13. The soul makes four request

14. The needs of the world increase our desires

15. Works require love

16. The role of desire and contrition

17. God is pleased by the desire to suffer for Him

18. Our neighbor affects our virtues and defects

19. Virtues are accomplished through our neighbor

20. Virtues proved and fortified

21. Love of virtue and humble discretion

22. Living water

23. Signs of imperfect love

24. Vocal prayer leads to mental prayer

25. Signs of perfect love

26. Joy in the light

27. The pruning of the perfect

28. Loving providence

29. The vision of eternal life

30. Saint Catherine’s prayer for the whole world and the Holy Church