Saint Catherine of Genoa: Spiritual Dialogue
Part I, Chapter XVII
God pours into and diffuses throughout the soul a divine sweetness, whereat she complains, not desiring any proof of love. - God, notwithstanding, leaves her plunged in a sea of divine love. - He gives her, also, a vision of pure Love, and another of Self-Love and of her own evil inclinations.
When the Spirit had thus satisfied Humanity, it left her and returned to its first simple and pure object, steadily pursuing that intimate and penetrating love which was so interiorly restrained that it left Humanity scarcely any breath for either natural or spiritual things, so that she seemed like one beside herself.
From the time that God established her in pure and simple love, he began to try this, his creature, with suitable temptations, mostly spiritual. He infused into her the great sweetness and divine tenderness of a most sweet love, and both Soul and Body were so overpowered by it that they could scarcely live. But as the eye of love sees all, suddenly the Soul beheld these great things, and she commenced to grieve and to say that she did not wish for such sweetness and delight in this present life, nor desire these proofs of love because they corrupt love itself.
I will guard myself, she said, as far as I am able, and neither approach them nor provide any quiet and solitary spot where I might feed upon these things, for they are poison to pure love. Yet God pursued her and kept her in the fountain of this divine sweetness; and however much the soul might protest against these proofs of his love, she nevertheless remained plunged in them as in a sea; not always in one vision, but in many and diverse.
One of these visions was that God showed her a ray of that purest love wherewith he himself loved the Soul; and the sight was such that if he had not tempered the amorous flame with a vision of Self-Love with which, the Soul saw herself stained, she could not have lived.
He showed her at another time a vision of herself, that is, of her evil inclinations, so contrary to pure love, and thus tempered that devouring flame; for after beholding it she would have rather died than offended his love in the least, not alone by sin but by imperfection. The Soul, thus occupied, neither thought nor even wished to think of her body any more than if she had none, and in this way was relieved from its annoyances, and habituated it to do her will.