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A Spiritual Retreat with St. Catherine of Siena Part II

"The soul can not live without love, but always wants to love something, because she is made of love and, by love, I created her."

As humans we were created to love.  Love is as natural to the human as the air is to the atmosphere.  We, as humans were created for a transcendent purpose.  The opposite is also true.  The evil person also loves however, in their case the evil person loves evil.  So how is love manifested in each person? Through goodness and virtue, but most importantly a person loves most purely when that love is connected to the ultimate source of love, which is God.  Since God created humans out of love he is the source of love and the closer a person is to that source the more he/she will love.  The opposite is also true.  The evil person will love the source of all evil which is the devil.  When it comes to love no human can remain neutral; either one loves God or loves the devil.

"The number one is excluded, for, unless a man has a companion, I can not be in the midst; this is no indifferent trifle, for he who is wrapped up in self love is solitary."

I mentioned in my previous post how we as humans we were not created to be solitary.  There might be the need to be solitary from time to time in order to pray or contemplate, but once this is done the person needs to re enter society and live out virtue through interaction with other humans.  Humans can't grow in virtue through a solitary existence.

"...the powers of the soul, the memory, the intellect, and the will; the memory to retain the remembrance of my benefits and My goodness, the intellect to gaze into the ineffable love, which I have shown thee by means of My only begotten Son, whom I have placed as the object of the vision of your intellect, so that, in Him, you behold the fire of my charity, and the will to love and desire Me, who am you End."

St. Catherine lists three components which make up the soul: the memory, the intellect, and the will.  The role of the memory is to remember the goodness of God in one's life.  The intellect to peer into the deeper mysteries of God, and the will to carry out those insights, which were brought about through the memory, and intellect, into every day existence.
  
"The intellect is the most noble part of the soul, and is moved by the affection, and nourishes it and the hand of love-that is the affection-fills the memory with the remembrance of Me and of the benefits received, which it does with care and gratitude, and so one power spurs on another, and the soul is nourished in the life of grace."

As I mentioned in the previous quote the soul is made of 3 components.  In this passage St. Catherine elaborates on the importance of the intellect in the life of the soul.  One of the most beautiful aspects of the Catholic faith is that faith and reason coexist.  An honest thinking person can and will discover God through using reason.   St. Catherine is simply reiterating how the intellect when formed correctly will always lead to God who is the author of reason itself.

   

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