Necessary Adversities

To attain union with God, all the adversities that He sends us are necessary; for His only aim is to consume all our evil inclinations from within and from without. Therefore, slights, injuries, insults, infirmities, poverty, abandonment by friends and relatives, humiliations, temptations of the devil, and many other things opposed to our human nature, — all are extremely needed by us, that we may fight until by means of victories we hare extirpated all our evil inclinations, so that we may feel them no longer. Nay more, until all adversities no longer seem bitter to us, but rather sweet for God, we shall never arrive at the divine union. -St. Catherine of Genoa

“That such is the truth in this matter,” added the Saint, “I have proved by my own experience. For Divine Love sees that we hold so tenaciously to what we have chosen, because it seems to us good, and right, and beautiful, and that we will not listen to a word against it, as we are blinded by self-love, and so it makes a ruin of all that we love, by means of death, illness, poverty, hatred, discord, and detractions, together with scandals, lies, and disgrace falling upon our relatives, our friends, or ourselves, so that we do not know what to do with ourselves, as we are thus drawn away from everything we had cared for, and receive from all only pain and confusion, and know not why the Lord permits these events, which seem quite contrary to reason, both as regards God and the world; therefore, we torment ourselves, and strive and seek and hope to escape from so many ills, but can find no outlet. When Divine Love has held the soul for a time in this suspense, and in despair and disgust with all she had hitherto loved, then He reveals Himself to her with a countenance full of beauty and splendor. And as soon as the soul, stripped and destitute of every other help, beholds Him, she casts herself into His arms.”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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