The Work of God    |   The Saints    |   St. Catherine

St. Catherine of Siena


From the dialogue
dictated by her, while in a state of ecstasy, to her secretaries and completed in the year of Our Lord 137


     How a soul, elevated by desire of the honour of God, and of
     the salvation of her neighbours, exercising herself in humble
     prayer, after she had seen the union of the soul, through
     love, with God, asked of God four requests. 

     The soul, who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire
for the honour of God and the salvation of souls, begins by
exercising herself, for a certain space of time, in the ordinary
virtues, remaining in the cell of self-knowledge, in order to know
better the goodness of God towards her. This she does because
knowledge must precede love, and only when she has attained love,
can she strive to follow and to clothe herself with the truth.
But, in no way, does the creature receive such a taste of the
truth, or so brilliant a light therefrom, as by means of humble
and continuous prayer, founded on knowledge of herself and of God;
because prayer, exercising her in the above way, unites with God
the soul that follows the footprints of Christ Crucified, and
thus, by desire and affection, and union of love, makes her
another Himself. Christ would seem to have meant this, when He
said: To him who will love Me and will observe My commandment,
will I manifest Myself; and he shall be one thing with Me and I
with him. In several places we find similar words, by which we can
see that it is, indeed, through the effect of love, that the soul
becomes another Himself. That this may be seen more clearly, I
will mention what I remember having heard from a handmaid of God,
namely, that, when she was lifted up in prayer, with great
elevation of mind, God was not wont to conceal, from the eye of
her intellect, the love which He had for His servants, but rather
to manifest it; and, that among other things, He used to say:
"Open the eye of your intellect, and gaze into Me, and you shall
see the beauty of My rational creature. And look at those
creatures who, among the beauties which I have given to the soul,
creating her in My image and similitude, are clothed with the
nuptial garment (that is, the garment of love), adorned with many
virtues, by which they are united with Me through love. And yet I
tell you, if you should ask Me, who these are, I should reply"
(said the sweet and amorous Word of God) "they are another Myself,
inasmuch as they have lost and denied their own will, and are
clothed with Mine, are united to Mine, are conformed to Mine." It
is therefore true, indeed, that the soul unites herself with God
by the affection of love.
     So, that soul, wishing to know and follow the truth more
manfully, and lifting her desires first for herself -- for she
considered that a soul could not be of use, whether in doctrine,
example, or prayer, to her neighbour, if she did not first profit
herself, that is, if she did not acquire virtue in herself --
addressed four requests to the Supreme and Eternal Father. The
first was for herself; the second for the reformation of the Holy
Church; the third a general prayer for the whole world, and in
particular for the peace of Christians who rebel, with much
lewdness and persecution, against the Holy Church; in the fourth
and last, she besought the Divine Providence to provide for things
in general, and in particular, for a certain case with which she
was concerned.

     How the desire of this soul grew when God showed her the
     neediness of the world.

     This desire was great and continuous, but grew much more,
when the First Truth showed her the neediness of the world, and in
what a tempest of offence against God it lay. And she had
understood this the better from a letter, which she had received
from the spiritual Father of her soul, in which he explained to
her the penalties and intolerable dolour caused by offences against
God, and the loss of souls, and the persecutions of Holy Church.
     All this lighted the fire of her holy desire with grief for
the offences, and with the joy of the lively hope, with which she
waited for God to provide against such great evils. And, since the
soul seems, in such communion, sweetly to bind herself fast within
herself and with God, and knows better His truth, inasmuch as the
soul is then in God, and God in the soul, as the fish is in the
sea, and the sea in the fish, she desired the arrival of the
morning (for the morrow was a feast of Mary) in order to hear
Mass. And, when the morning came, and the hour of the Mass, she
sought with anxious desire her accustomed place; and, with a great
knowledge of herself, being ashamed of her own imperfection,
appearing to herself to be the cause of all the evil that was
happening throughout the world, conceiving a hatred and
displeasure against herself, and a feeling of holy justice, with
which knowledge, hatred, and justice, she purified the stains
which seemed to her to cover her guilty soul, she said: "O Eternal
Father, I accuse myself before You, in order that You may punish
me for my sins in this finite life, and, inasmuch as my sins are
the cause of the sufferings which my neighbour must endure, I
implore You, in Your kindness, to punish them in my person."

     How finite works are not sufficient for punishment or
     recompense without the perpetual affection of love.

     Then, the Eternal Truth seized and drew more strongly to
Himself her desire, doing as He did in the Old Testament, for when
the sacrifice was offered to God, a fire descended and drew to Him
the sacrifice that was acceptable to Him; so did the sweet Truth
to that soul, in sending down the fire of the clemency of the Holy
Spirit, seizing the sacrifice of desire that she made of herself,
saying: "Do you not know, dear daughter, that all the sufferings,
which the soul endures, or can endure, in this life, are
insufficient to punish one smallest fault, because the offence,
being done to Me, who am the Infinite Good, calls for an infinite
satisfaction? However, I wish that you should know, that not all
the pains that are given to men in this life are given as
punishments, but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when
he offends; though it is true that both the guilt and the penalty
can be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is, by true
contrition, not through the finite pain endured, but through the
infinite desire; because God, who is infinite, wishes for infinite
love and infinite grief. Infinite grief I wish from My creature in
two ways: in one way, through her sorrow for her own sins, which
she has committed against Me her Creator; in the other way,
through her sorrow for the sins which she sees her neighbours
commit against Me. Of such as these, inasmuch as they have
infinite desire, that is, are joined to Me by an affection of
love, and therefore grieve when they offend Me, or see Me
offended, their every pain, whether spiritual or corporeal, from
wherever it may come, receives infinite merit, and satisfies for a
guilt which deserved an infinite penalty, although their works are
finite and done in finite time; but, inasmuch as they possess the
virtue of desire, and sustain their suffering with desire, and
contrition, and infinite displeasure against their guilt, their
pain is held worthy. Paul explained this when he said: If I had
the tongues of angels, and if I knew the things of the future and
gave my body to be burned, and have not love, it would be worth
nothing to me. The glorious Apostle thus shows that finite works
are not valid, either as punishment or recompense, without the
condiment of the affection of love."

     How desire and contrition of heart satisfies, both for the
     guilt and the penalty in oneself and in others; and how
     sometimes it satisfies for the guilt only, and not the

     "I have shown you, dearest daughter, that the guilt is not
punished in this finite time by any pain which is sustained purely
as such. And I say, that the guilt is punished by the pain which
is endured through the desire, love, and contrition of the heart;
not by virtue of the pain, but by virtue of the desire of the
soul; inasmuch as desire and every virtue is of value, and has
life in itself, through Christ crucified, My only begotten Son, in
so far as the soul has drawn her love from Him, and virtuously
follows His virtues, that is, His Footprints. In this way, and in
no other, are virtues of value, and in this way, pains satisfy for
the fault, by the sweet and intimate love acquired in the
knowledge of My goodness, and in the bitterness and contrition of
heart acquired by knowledge of one's self and one's own thoughts.
And this knowledge generates a hatred and displeasure against sin,
and against the soul's own sensuality, through which, she deems
herself worthy of pains and unworthy of reward."
     The sweet Truth continued: "See how, by contrition of the
heart, together with love, with true patience, and with true
humility, deeming themselves worthy of pain and unworthy of
reward, such souls endure the patient humility in which consists
the above-mentioned satisfaction. You ask me, then, for pains, so
that I may receive satisfaction for the offences, which are done
against Me by My Creatures, and you further ask the will to know
and love Me, who am the Supreme Truth. Wherefore I reply that this
is the way, if you will arrive at a perfect knowledge and
enjoyment of Me, the Eternal Truth, that you should never go
outside the knowledge of yourself, and, by humbling yourself in
the valley of humility, you will know Me and yourself, from which
knowledge you will draw all that is necessary. No virtue, my
daughter, can have life in itself except through charity, and
humility, which is the foster-mother and nurse of charity. In
self-knowledge, then, you will humble yourself, seeing that, in
yourself, you do not even exist; for your very being, as you will
learn, is derived from Me, since I have loved both you and others
before you were in existence; and that, through the ineffable love
which I had for you, wishing to re-create you to Grace, I have
washed you, and re-created you in the Blood of My only-begotten
Son, spilt with so great a fire of love. This Blood teaches the
truth to him, who, by self-knowledge, dissipates the cloud of
self-love, and in no other way can he learn. Then the soul will
inflame herself in this knowledge of Me with an ineffable love,
through which love she continues in constant pain; not, however, a
pain which afflicts or dries up the soul, but one which rather
fattens her; for since she has known My truth, and her own faults,
and the ingratitude of men, she endures intolerable suffering,
grieving because she loves Me; for, if she did not love Me, she
would not be obliged to do so; whence it follows immediately, that
it is right for you, and My other servants who have learnt My
truth in this way, to sustain, even unto death, many tribulations
and injuries and insults in word and deed, for the glory and
praise of My Name; thus will you endure and suffer pains. Do you,
therefore, and My other servants, carry yourselves with true
patience, with grief for your sins, and with love of virtue for
the glory and praise of My Name. If you act thus, I will satisfy
for your sins, and for those of My other servants, inasmuch as the
pains which you will endure will be sufficient, through the virtue
of love, for satisfaction and reward, both in you and in others.
In yourself you will receive the fruit of life, when the stains of
your ignorance are effaced, and I shall not remember that you ever
offended Me. In others I will satisfy through the love and
affection which you have to Me, and I will give to them according
to the disposition with which they will receive My gifts. In
particular, to those who dispose themselves, humbly and with
reverence, to receive the doctrine of My servants, will I remit
both guilt and penalty, since they will thus come to true
knowledge and contrition for their sins. So that, by means of
prayer, and their desire of serving Me, they receive the fruit of
grace, receiving it humbly in greater or less degree, according to
the extent of their exercise of virtue and grace in general. I say
then, that, through your desires, they will receive remission for
their sins. See, however, the condition, namely, that their
obstinacy should not be so great in their despair as to condemn
them through contempt of the Blood, which, with such sweetness,
has restored them.
     "What fruit do they receive?
     "The fruit which I destine for them, constrained by the
prayers of My servants, is that I give them light, and that I wake
up in them the hound of conscience, and make them smell the odour
of virtue, and take delight in the conversation of My servants.
     "Sometimes I allow the world to show them what it is, so
that, feeling its diverse and various passions, they may know how
little stability it has, and may come to lift their desire beyond
it, and seek their native country, which is the Eternal Life. And
so I draw them by these, and by many other ways, for the eye
cannot see, nor the tongue relate, nor the heart think, how many
are the roads and ways which I use, through love alone, to lead
them back to grace, so that My truth may be fulfilled in them. I
am constrained to do so by that inestimable love of Mine, by which
I created them, and by the love, desire, and grief of My servants,
since I am no despiser of their tears, and sweat, and humble
prayers; rather I accept them, inasmuch as I am He who give them
this love for the good of souls and grief for their loss. But I do
not, in general, grant to these others, for whom they pray,
satisfaction for the penalty due to them, but, only for their
guilt, since they are not disposed, on their side, to receive,
with perfect love, My love, and that of My servants. They do not
receive their grief with bitterness, and perfect contrition for
the sins they have committed, but with imperfect love and
contrition, wherefore they have not, as others, remission of the
penalty, but only of the guilt; because such complete satisfaction
requires proper dispositions on both sides, both in him that gives
and him that receives. Wherefore, since they are imperfect, they
receive imperfectly the perfection of the desires of those who
offer them to Me, for their sakes, with suffering; and, inasmuch
as I told you that they do receive remission, this is indeed the
truth, that, by that way which I have told you, that is, by the
light of conscience, and by other things, satisfaction is made for
their guilt; for, beginning to learn, they vomit forth the
corruption of their sins, and so receive the gift of grace.
     "These are they who are in a state of ordinary charity,
wherefore, if they have trouble, they receive it in the guise of
correction, and do not resist over much the clemency of the Holy
Spirit, but, coming out of their sin, they receive the life of
grace. But if, like fools, they are ungrateful, and ignore Me and
the labours of My servants done for them, that which was given
them, through mercy, turns to their own ruin and judgment, not
through defect of mercy, nor through defect of him who implored
the mercy for the ingrate, but solely through the man's own
wretchedness and hardness, with which, with the hands of his free
will, he has covered his heart, as it were, with a diamond, which,
if it be not broken by the Blood, can in no way be broken. And
yet, I say to you, that, in spite of his hardness of heart, he can
use his free will while he has time, praying for the Blood of My
Son, and let him with his own hand apply It to the diamond over
his heart and shiver it, and he will receive the imprint of the
Blood which has been paid for him. But, if he delays until the
time be past, he has no remedy, because he has not used the dowry
which I gave him, giving him memory so as to remember My benefits,
intellect, so as to see and know the truth, affection, so that he
should love Me, the Eternal Truth, whom he would have known
through the use of his intellect. This is the dowry which I have
given you all, and which ought to render fruit to Me, the Father;
but, if a man barters and sells it to the devil, the devil, if he
choose, has a right to seize on everything that he has acquired in
this life. And, filling his memory with the delights of sin, and
with the recollection of shameful pride, avarice, self-love,
hatred, and unkindness to his neighbours (being also a persecutor
of My servants), with these miseries, he has obscured his
intellect by his disordinate will. Let such as these receive the
eternal pains, with their horrible stench, inasmuch as they have
not satisfied for their sins with contrition and displeasure of
their guilt. Now, therefore, you have understood how suffering
satisfies for guilt by perfect contrition, not through the finite
pain; and such as have this contrition in perfection satisfy not
only for the guilt, but also for the penalty which follows the
guilt, as I have already said when speaking in general; and if
they satisfy for the guilt alone, that is, if, having abandoned
mortal sin, they receive grace, and have not sufficient contrition
and love to satisfy for the penalty also, they go to the pains of
Purgatory, passing through the second and last means of
     "So you see that satisfaction is made, through the desire of
the soul united to Me, who am the Infinite Good, in greater or
less degree, according to the measure of love, obtained by the
desire and prayer of the recipient. Wherefore, with that very same
measure with which a man measures to Me, do he receive in himself
the measure of My goodness. Labor, therefore, to increase the fire
of your desire, and let not a moment pass without crying to Me
with humble voice, or without continual prayers before Me for your
neighbours. I say this to you and to the father of your soul, whom
I have given you on earth. Bear yourselves with manful courage,
and make yourselves dead to all your own sensuality."

     How very pleasing to God is the willing desire to suffer for

     "Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire
to bear every pain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation
of souls, for the more the soul endures, the more she shows that
she loves Me; loving Me she comes to know more of My truth, and
the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels
at the offences committed against Me. You asked Me to sustain you,
and to punish the faults of others in you, and you did not remark
that you were really asking for love, light, and knowledge of the
truth, since I have already told you that, by the increase of
love, grows grief and pain, wherefore he that grows in love grows
in grief. Therefore, I say to you all, that you should ask, and it
will be given you, for I deny nothing to him who asks of Me in
truth. Consider that the love of divine charity is so closely
joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave
the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to
love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode
or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot be proved
in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with
love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselves with manly
courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to
be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company
of those who relish the taste of My honour, and the salvation of

     How every virtue and every defect is obtained by means of our

     "I wish also that you should know that every virtue is
obtained by means of your neighbour, and likewise, every defect;
he, therefore, who stands in hatred of Me, does an injury to his
neighbour, and to himself, who is his own chief neighbour, and this
injury is both general and particular. It is general because you
are obliged to love your neighbour as yourself, and loving him, you
ought to help him spiritually, with prayer, counselling him with
words, and assisting him both spiritually and temporally,
according to the need in which he may be, at least with your
goodwill if you have nothing else. A man therefore, who does not
love, does not help him, and thereby does himself an injury; for
he cuts off from himself grace, and injures his neighbour, by
depriving him of the benefit of the prayers and of the sweet
desires that he is bound to offer for him to Me. Thus, every act
of help that he performs should proceed from the charity which he
has through love of Me. And every evil also, is done by means of
his neighbour, for, if he do not love Me, he cannot be in charity
with his neighbour; and thus, all evils derive from the soul's
deprivation of love of Me and her neighbour; whence, inasmuch as
such a man does no good, it follows that he must do evil. To whom
does he evil? First of all to himself, and then to his neighbour,
not against Me, for no evil can touch Me, except in so far as I
count done to Me that which he does to himself. To himself he does
the injury of sin, which deprives him of grace, and worse than
this he cannot do to his neighbour. Him he injures in not paying
him the debt, which he owes him, of love, with which he ought to
help him by means of prayer and holy desire offered to Me for him.
This is an assistance which is owed in general to every rational
creature; but its usefulness is more particular when it is done to
those who are close at hand, under your eyes, as to whom, I say,
you are all obliged to help one another by word and doctrine, and
the example of good works, and in every other respect in which
your neighbour may be seen to be in need; counselling him exactly as
you would yourselves, without any passion of self-love; and he (a
man not loving God) does not do this, because he has no love
towards his neighbour; and, by not doing it, he does him, as you
see, a special injury. And he does him evil, not only by not doing
him the good that he might do him, but by doing him a positive
injury and a constant evil. In this way sin causes a physical and
a mental injury. The mental injury is already done when the sinner
has conceived pleasure in the idea of sin, and hatred of virtue,
that is, pleasure from sensual self-love, which has deprived him
of the affection of love which he ought to have towards Me, and
his neighbour, as has been said. And, after he has conceived, he
brings forth one sin after another against his neighbour, according
to the diverse ways which may please his perverse sensual will.
Sometimes it is seen that he brings forth cruelty, and that both
in general and in particular.
     "His general cruelty is to see himself and other creatures in
danger of death and damnation through privation of grace, and so
cruel is he that he reminds neither himself nor others of the love
of virtue and hatred of vice. Being thus cruel he may wish to
extend his cruelty still further, that is, not content with not
giving an example of virtue, the villain also usurps the office of
the demons, tempting, according to his power, his fellow-creatures
to abandon virtue for vice; this is cruelty towards his neighbours,
for he makes himself an instrument to destroy life and to give
death. Cruelty towards the body has its origin in cupidity, which
not only prevents a man from helping his neighbour, but causes him
to seize the goods of others, robbing the poor creatures;
sometimes this is done by the arbitrary use of power, and at other
times by cheating and fraud, his neighbour being forced to redeem,
to his own loss, his own goods, and often indeed his own person.
     "Oh, miserable vice of cruelty, which will deprive the man
who practices it of all mercy, unless he turn to kindness and
benevolence towards his neighbour!
     "Sometimes the sinner brings forth insults on which often
follows murder; sometimes also impurity against the person of his
neighbour, by which he becomes a brute beast full of stench, and in
this case he does not poison one only, but whoever approaches him,
with love or in conversation, is poisoned.
     "Against whom does pride bring forth evils? Against the
neighbour, through love of one's own reputation, whence comes
hatred of the neighbour, reputing one's self to be greater than he;
and in this way is injury done to him. And if a man be in a
position of authority, he produces also injustice and cruelty and
becomes a retailer of the flesh of men. Oh, dearest daughter,
grieve for the offence against Me, and weep over these corpses, so
that, by prayer, the bands of their death may be loosened!
     "See now, that, in all places and in all kinds of people, sin
is always produced against the neighbour, and through his medium;
in no other way could sin ever be committed either secret or open.
A secret sin is when you deprive your neighbour of that which you
ought to give him; an open sin is where you perform positive acts
of sin, as I have related to you. It is, therefore, indeed the
truth that every sin done against Me, is done through the medium
of the neighbour."

     How virtues are accomplished by means of our neighbour, and
     how it is that virtues differ to such an extent in creatures.

     "I have told you how all sins are accomplished by means of
your neighbour, through the principles which I exposed to you, that
is, because men are deprived of the affection of love, which gives
light to every virtue. In the same way self-love, which destroys
charity and affection towards the neighbour, is the principle and
foundation of every evil. All scandals, hatred, cruelty, and every
sort of trouble proceed from this perverse root of self-love,
which has poisoned the entire world, and weakened the mystical
body of the Holy Church, and the universal body of the believers
in the Christian religion; and, therefore, I said to you, that it
was in the neighbour, that is to say in the love of him, that all
virtues were founded; and, truly indeed did I say to you, that
charity gives life to all the virtues, because no virtue can be
obtained without charity, which is the pure love of Me.
     "Wherefore, when the soul knows herself, as we have said
above, she finds humility and hatred of her own sensual passion,
for she learns the perverse law, which is bound up in her members,
and which ever fights against the spirit. And, therefore, arising
with hatred of her own sensuality, crushing it under the heel of
reason, with great earnestness, she discovers in herself the
bounty of My goodness, through the many benefits which she has
received from Me, all of which she considers again in herself. She
attributes to Me, through humility, the knowledge which she has
obtained of herself, knowing that, by My grace, I have drawn her
out of darkness and lifted her up into the light of true
knowledge. When she has recognised My goodness, she loves it
without any medium, and yet at the same time with a medium, that
is to say, without the medium of herself or of any advantage
accruing to herself, and with the medium of virtue, which she has
conceived through love of Me, because she sees that, in no other
way, can she become grateful and acceptable to Me, but by
conceiving, hatred of sin and love of virtue; and, when she has
thus conceived by the affection of love, she immediately is
delivered of fruit for her neighbour, because, in no other way, can
she act out the truth she has conceived in herself, but, loving Me
in truth, in the same truth she serves her neighbour.
     "And it cannot be otherwise, because love of Me and of her
neighbour are one and the same thing, and, so far as the soul loves
Me, she loves her neighbour, because love towards him issues from
Me. This is the means which I have given you, that you may
exercise and prove your virtue therewith; because, inasmuch as you
can do Me no profit, you should do it to your neighbour. This
proves that you possess Me by grace in your soul, producing much
fruit for your neighbour and making prayers to Me, seeking with
sweet and amorous desire My honour and the salvation of souls. The
soul, enamoured of My truth, never ceases to serve the whole world
in general, and more or less in a particular case according to the
disposition of the recipient and the ardent desire of the donor,
as I have shown above, when I declared to you that the endurance
of suffering alone, without desire, was not sufficient to punish a
     "When she has discovered the advantage of this unitive love
in Me, by means of which, she truly loves herself, extending her
desire for the salvation of the whole world, thus coming to the
aid of its neediness, she strives, inasmuch as she has done good
to herself by the conception of virtue, from which she has drawn
the life of grace, to fix her eye on the needs of her neighbour in
particular. Wherefore, when she has discovered, through the
affection of love, the state of all rational creatures in general,
she helps those who are at hand, according to the various graces
which I have entrusted to her to administer; one she helps with
doctrine, that is, with words, giving sincere counsel without any
respect of persons, another with the example of a good life, and
this indeed all give to their neighbour, the edification of a holy
and honourable life. These are the virtues, and many others, too
many to enumerate, which are brought forth in the love of the
neighbour; but, although I have given them in such a different way,
that is to say not all to one, but to one, one virtue, and to
another, another, it so happens that it is impossible to have one,
without having them all, because all the virtues are bound
together. Wherefore, learn, that, in many cases I give one virtue,
to be as it were the chief of the others, that is to say, to one I
will give principally love, to another justice, to another
humility, to one a lively faith, to another prudence or
temperance, or patience, to another fortitude. These, and many
other virtues, I place, indifferently, in the souls of many
creatures; it happens, therefore, that the particular one so
placed in the soul becomes the principal object of its virtue; the
soul disposing herself, for her chief conversation, to this rather
than to other virtues, and, by the effect of this virtue, the soul
draws to herself all the other virtues, which, as has been said,
are all bound together in the affection of love; and so with many
gifts and graces of virtue, and not only in the case of spiritual
things but also of temporal. I use the word temporal for the
things necessary to the physical life of man; all these I have
given indifferently, and I have not placed them all in one soul,
in order that man should, perforce, have material for love of his
fellow. I could easily have created men possessed of all that they
should need both for body and soul, but I wish that one should
have need of the other, and that they should be My ministers to
administer the graces and the gifts that they have received from
Me. Whether man will or no, he cannot help making an act of love.
It is true, however, that that act, unless made through love of
Me, profits him nothing so far as grace is concerned. See then,
that I have made men My ministers, and placed them in diverse
stations and various ranks, in order that they may make use of the
virtue of love.
     "Wherefore, I show you that in My house are many mansions,
and that I wish for no other thing than love, for in the love of
Me is fulfilled and completed the love of the neighbour, and the
law observed. For he, only, can be of use in his state of life,
who is bound to Me with this love."

     How virtues are proved and fortified by their contraries.

     "Up to the present, I have taught you how a man may serve his
neighbour, and manifest, by that service, the love which he has
towards Me.
     "Now I wish to tell you further, that a man proves his
patience on his neighbour, when he receives injuries from him.
     "Similarly, he proves his humility on a proud man, his faith
on an infidel, his true hope on one who despairs, his justice on
the unjust, his kindness on the cruel, his gentleness and
benignity on the irascible. Good men produce and prove all their
virtues on their neighbour, just as perverse men all their vices;
thus, if you consider well, humility is proved on pride in this
way. The humble man extinguishes pride, because a proud man can do
no harm to a humble one; neither can the infidelity of a wicked
man, who neither loves Me, nor hopes in Me, when brought forth
against one who is faithful to Me, do him any harm; his infidelity
does not diminish the faith or the hope of him who has conceived
his faith and hope through love of Me, it rather fortifies it, and
proves it in the love he feels for his neighbour. For, he sees that
the infidel is unfaithful, because he is without hope in Me, and
in My servant, because he does not love Me, placing his faith and
hope rather in his own sensuality, which is all that he loves. My
faithful servant does not leave him because he does not faithfully
love Me, or because he does not constantly seek, with hope in Me,
for his salvation, inasmuch as he sees clearly the causes of his
infidelity and lack of hope. The virtue of faith is proved in
these and other ways. Wherefore, to those, who need the proof of
it, My servant proves his faith in himself and in his neighbour,
and so, justice is not diminished by the wicked man's injustice,
but is rather proved, that is to say, the justice of a just man.
Similarly, the virtues of patience, benignity, and kindness
manifest themselves in a time of wrath by the same sweet patience
in My servants, and envy, vexation, and hatred demonstrate their
love, and hunger and desire for the salvation of souls. I say,
also, to you, that, not only is virtue proved in those who render
good for evil, but, that many times a good man gives back fiery
coals of love, which dispel the hatred and rancour of heart of the
angry, and so from hatred often comes benevolence, and that this
is by virtue of the love and perfect patience which is in him, who
sustains the anger of the wicked, bearing and supporting his
defects. If you will observe the virtues of fortitude and
perseverance, these virtues are proved by the long endurance of
the injuries and detractions of wicked men, who, whether by
injuries or by flattery, constantly endeavour to turn a man aside
from following the road and the doctrine of truth. Wherefore, in
all these things, the virtue of fortitude conceived within the
soul, perseveres with strength, and, in addition proves itself
externally upon the neighbour, as I have said to you; and, if
fortitude were not able to make that good proof of itself, being
tested by many contrarieties, it would not be a serious virtue
founded in truth."


The Work of God Apostolate