Quote/s of the Day – 13 February – Septuagesima Sunday and the Memorial of Saint Catherine de Ricci OP (1522-1590) Virgin, Mystic, Stigmatist.
Three Points on the Spiritual Life
By St Catherine de Ricci (1522-1590)
1) Detach 2) Direct 3) Accomplish
Letter to a Fellow Nun
by St Catherine de Ricci
Very dear daughter, I have already sent you a letter to exhort you to the service of our Lord and now, I send you this one, in which I am going to give—first for myself and then for you—an account of the true way of faithfullyserving our Divine Spouse and a resume of the spiritual life, so that, by following it, we shall carry out the Holy Will of God.
If, then, my daughter, you would be the true spouses of Jesus, you must do His Holy Will in all things and you will do this, if you entirely give up your own will on every occasion and if you love the divine Spouse with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole strength. Then, you must carefully attend to the following points (but it is necessary to weigh all these words), as they contain the summary of Christian perfection:
- We must force ourselves to DETACH the heart and the will from all earthly love; to love no fleeting things, except for the love of God and, above all, not to love God for our own sakes, for self-interest but with a love as pure as His own goodness.
- We must DIRECT all our thoughts, words and actions to His honour and by prayer, counsel and good example, seek His glory solely, whether for ourselves or for others, so that through our means, all may love and honour God.
This second point is more pleasing to Him than the first, as it better fulfils His will.
- We must aim more and more at the ACCOMPLISHMENT of the Divine Will – not only desiring nothing special to happen to us, bad or even good, in this wretched life and thus, keeping ourselves always at God’s disposal, with heart and soul at peace but also, believing, with a firm faith, that Almighty God loves us more than we love ourselves and takes more care of us, than we could take care of ourselves.
The more we conform to this way of acting, the more we shall find God present to help us and the more we shall experience, His most gentle love.
But no-one can reach such perfection except by constant and courageous sacrifice of self-will and, if we would learn to practice such abnegation, it is necessary to keep ourselves in a state of great and deep humility, so that, by perfect knowledge of our own misery and weakness, we may rise to learn the greatness and beauty of our God.
Consider how just and necessary it is, to serve Him unceasingly, with love and obedience.
I say just, because, God being Father and Master of all things, it is just that His Son and Servant, should obey and love Him.
I say necessary because,, by acting otherwise, we could not be saved.
Let us always remember, never doubting, that it is the Eternal, Sovereign, All-powerful God, Who does, orders, or allows, everything that happens and that nothing comes to pass, without His Divine Will.
Let us remember that He is Himself that Wisdom, which, in the government of the universe – of heaven, earth and every single creature – cannot be deceived. (He would be neither God nor most wise, if it were otherwise). Let us look upon Him as supremely good, loving and beneficent.
If, through His Mercy, this conviction becomes strongly impressed upon our wills, we shall easily take all things from His Sacred Hand, with well-contented hearts, always thanking Him for fulfilling His most holy will in us. By acting thus. (with the help of His holy grace) we shall unite ourselves to Him, by true love in this life and by glory in eternity.
May He grant it to us in His goodness! Of your charity pray for me, a wretched sinner, who commends herself to you all.”
Your sister in Christ,