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Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa
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CHAPTER X

Of the view which the Soul has of the goodness and providence of God.—Of her faults and imperfections.—Of her esteem of herself and hatred of her Humanity.

And thus this enlightened Soul began to see all her irregularities and the perils, both of the spirit and the flesh, which she had unawares encountered, and to which she would have fallen a victim, had not the divine Providence interposed. She was overwhelmed with astonishment at the great mercy of God towards a being so deeply plunged in sin. But when man begins to see the goodness and providence of God, then God shows him also all his defects, for which he will supply the remedy, and the soul perceives them in an instant by that divine light, the light of pure love. The Soul, having these two clear views, so definite and precise, the one of the goodness of God in his bounty, granted in virtue of love, and the other of herself, plunged in sins, and voluntarily acting in opposition to the infinite goodness of God, took thought and said:

Soul. O Lord! never more will I offend thee, nor do anything in opposition to thy goodness; for this thy great goodness has so overpowered me and drawn me so closely unto thee, that I have resolved never more to withdraw from thy disposal, even should it cost life itself.

Then this Soul looked within, and seeing all her defects and evil instincts, said:

Soul. Does it seem to you that you are prepared to present yourself before your Maker? How is it with you? Who will deliver you from all your difficulties? Now you see how wretched and vile you are, although you believed yourself so beautiful and good. And this happened because you were so blinded by Self-Love, that you believed in no other paradise than that of sensual delights. And now, behold how all these things appear in the divine presence—truly no better than the work of the devil!

Then this Soul turned with a deep and bitter hatred toward Humanity, and said:

Soul. I warn you, O Humanity! that if henceforth you speak to me of aught unseemly, you shall suffer for it. For the future, I shall treat you as if you were an evil spirit, for you have ever been, and ever will be, diabolical in your behavior, since nothing else is known to you. And as you now see as well as I what a terrible thing it is to offend God, I know not how you will ever have the courage to think or speak according to your own natural appetites, when you know that you are thereby acting contrary to his will; however, should you do so, I shall inflict a penance upon you that you will not speedily forget.

When Humanity heard the Soul utter these words, and became conscious of the greatness of her offences, she answered not a word, but stood with downcast looks, like a criminal led to justice.

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