"What this inspiration is, which sets on fire
the human heart, and so ardently and powerfully inflames it, that it can do nothing but love,
can not be told in words. Ask of the heart which feels it. Ask of the intellect which understands it.
Ask of the mind filled with the operations which God effects by means of it, for the least conception
that can be formed of it is that given by the tongue. God fills the man with love; He draws him to
Himself by love, and by its force enables him to overcome the world, the devils, and himself; but man
cannot understand this love, nor put it into words."
- Life and Doctrine
- One of the few spiritual biographies I have read (as opposed to autobiographies, it
loses nothing of its power by having been told by someone other than Catherine herself. This book
paints more clearly than any other I have read the operations of the 'living flame of love' which
St. John of the Cross writes about at length.
As I read the details of the violence suffered to her body by the operations of this spiritual flame,
I had to marvel at how fortunate she was to have lived in a time when it was truly understood that the
flesh profited nothing; many of the physical and mental afflictions which she suffered as a result of
God's merciful purgation of her soul would have been radically misunderstood by contemporary Evangelicalism.
- Spiritual Dialogs
- This book, written by Catherine herself, is essentially a chronicle of her spiritual journey,
cast in the form of a series of conversations and revelations between her soul, body, self-love, spirit,
humanity, and the Lord Himself. The level of inner spiritual detail in this work is similar to that
of Guyon's autobiography. This is the first mystical work I have read which purports to actually
contain direct revelation from God, and I approached it at first with a degree of skepticism.
I found, however, that not only were her 'revelations' consistent with scripture and other mystical
thought, but they illuminate the scripture itself and God's workings in the soul in a wonderfully
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