Saint Catherine of Genoa: Spiritual Dialogue
Part I, Chapter II
The Soul and the Body take their turns, in which each enjoys itself according to its wishes and tastes.
Then the Soul said within itself:
Soul. I, who am pure and without a stain of sin, will begin by considering my first creation and all the other benefits I have received from God. I know that I was created for such blessedness, and of such dignity, that I can almost soar above the choirs of angels, and I find myself in possession of a mind all but divine; for I am always drawn by my pure intelligence to the meditation and contemplation of divine things, and filled with the constant desire to eat my bread with the bread of angels. I am, in truth, invisible. I would have, then, all my food and all my delight in things invisible, for to this end was I created, and here I find my rest. I have nothing to do but to draw down from heaven the strength which I need, and to put all things else beneath my feet; I will, therefore, spend this entire week in contemplation, and take heed of naught else. Let him live thus who can do so; and he who cannot must have patience.
But I see that my companions are growing restless. I will go towards them. Well, my comrades, I have finished my week; do you, O Body! treat me in yours as you see fit. But tell me, how has it fared with you while I took my turn?
Self-Love. Not well; for into your regions neither Self-Love nor mortal Body can enter. We have had not the slightest nourishment and are nearly dead; now, however, we hope to have our revenge.
Body. Now it is my turn. Come, Soul, with me. I will show you how much God has done for me. Behold the heavens and the earth with all that adorns them; the sea with its fish, the air with its birds; and then, so many kingdoms, principalities, cities, provinces, as well spiritual as temporal: great dignities, numerous treasures; songs, sounds, and food of every kind for my support in never-failing supplies to the end of time, as well as innumerable other delights. And I can enjoy all these without offending God, for he created them all for me. You have not shown me your country as I am showing you mine. But as I cannot have my will unless you deign to indulge me in it, I venture to remind you that you are under great obligations to me, and that you must not think of going into that country of yours, and leaving me starving on the earth. You cannot do it, for I should die, and it would be your fault; you would offend God, and then we should all be your enemies. I have the advantage of being able to enjoy all these things while I live, and in the next life of enjoying your country also, saving myself, as I shall do, by your means. Remember that I am concerned in your salvation, for I shall be always with you; and do not believe that I desire anything contrary to reason, or displeasing to God. Ask your comrade, Self-Love, if I am not speaking the truth. I would not be unreasonable in my demands, and I will abide by his decision. I am sure that what I am seeking for you, is not only needful, but also agreeable to the will of God.