Saint Catherine of Genoa: Spiritual Dialogue
Part I, Chapter XIV
Of the words that passed between the Spirit and Humanity. - Of the complaints made by Humanity against the fervor of the Spirit which she thought she could endure no longer.
Spirit. Tell me, Humanity, what think you of this mode of life?
Humanity. It seems to me, Spirit, that you have entered upon this course so vehemently that you will hardly be able to persevere in it; I hope that death, or at the least, infirmity, will not fail to follow, and that perhaps sooner than you think; and thus you will not be able to attain what you are seeking in this world, but will be obliged to go to purgatory, where you will suffer more in a moment than you would here in a whole lifetime. I shall be in the grave, and that will be far better for me than to live in this world. You will go into that fire where it will be worse with you than with me. Retrace your steps; I have no more to say.
Spirit. I hope that neither death nor infirmity will follow: at present, however, you are at the height of your misery. From this time forth you are purged of all bad humors; abstinence has been good for you; I see that your color and flesh are gone; the divine love will soon have consumed everything; I know that if I do not provide you with food you will wither away, but I will make such provision that everybody will be satisfied without calling on death or infirmity.
Such light was given to the Spirit that she perceived the least thing that might be injurious to her, and at once removed it. Humanity did all that was required of it without offering any resistance, for the spirit was so powerful that otherwise it would have fared all the worse. Finding itself in this situation and wholly without comfort, it said within itself:
Humanity. If I could have a little nourishment from spiritual things, and were able to content myself with what satisfies the Spirit, it would comfort me; otherwise I know not what to do, nor how to remain patient, thus tormented and imprisoned.
While occupied with these thoughts it chanced that the saint found herself in a church, and received communion, and there came upon her a ray of spiritual light with such force that both Soul and Body seemed to have entered together into life eternal (according to those words: Cor meum et caro mea exultaverunt, etc.). So great was the illumination and the feeling of divine things which they enjoyed that even Humanity feasted upon them, and said:
Now in this way I could live, but when that moment had passed, and this new vision had been seen by her in the light of pure love, she began to exclaim: Oh, Master, Master, I ask no sign from thee. I ask not for sensible delights, rather would I flee from them as from demons, for they are hindrances to pure love, which should be bare, lest man should with spirit and with body attach himself to it under the pretext of perfection. I pray thee, Lord, give not such things to me, they are not for me, nor for him who desires pure love in its simplicity.