Saint Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Happy Feast of St Dominic! Again!

Today in the new calendar is the feast of Saint Dominic, in the old calendar it was on the 4th of August. Saint Dominic is my favorite Saint and he has worked many wonders for me! I had new holy cards made up this year. Happy feast day to all!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Catholic Art That Inspires Love and Devotion

The Catholic Church has a rich history in artistic achievement throughout the ages. Beginning in the early Church the faithful began crafting art which was aimed at inspiring one to love God and His Church. Over the past 2000 years up until about the sixty years or so ago, we have a witnessed a rich development and inexhaustible wealth of devotional images in Catholic churches across the world. Although being Italian I have an affection for the Italian art in Italy, my personal favorite devotional art, especially when it comes to statuary, is in the Spanish renaissance and baroque style. The realistic and inspiring statuary found in Quito, Ecuador are among the finest I have seen.

When it comes to art however, it is not just an external appreciation of the beauty of the art itself that we should be concerned. Although art can be emotionally moving, it is primarily the internal devotion it inspires in the viewer that is most important. Many Catholic art historians would argue that the iconography of the early Church until about the time of Giotto was the best and most pure representation of sacred art. Thus many would separate iconography as sacred art, and the art following the time of Giotto to be religious art. Although there is some merit to the argument, we must not forget that any art that brings us closer to God and His Church is worthy of being in the sacred space of a Church. Although the later Western art often invokes more emotion from the viewer than iconography, one can still orient themselves beyond the art to the what the art actually represents. This also goes for statuary, which many purists in the Orthodox Church adamantly oppose. I think that well done statuary can bring one closer to the person it represents, as can be seen in the images below.

I was going through my pictures from Quito, Ecuador that I took a couple of years ago during my pilgrimage. I thought I would post some of my favorites. I wish we would see a revival among Catholics today to bring this type of art into our modern churches and replace the lifeless pathetic imagery that wee prevalent today.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fighting to Stay Catholic: Don't Throw in the Towel!

As the world seems to implode and the Church seems to spin into turmoil, we must ask ourselves an important question. What we can do as practicing Catholics to keep our sanity. As Catholics it is much easier for us to face outside opposition than it is from within our Church. Over the past 60 years we have the let the attitude of the world influence the attitude of the Church. As a result it can often seem at times that our best friends have abandoned us to the wolves. The optimism for the "new evangelization" after Vatican II has been proven to have been a pipe dream. Those who claimed they knew more than the "Old Church" have been proven to be charlatans. The changes in the liturgy along with the acceptance of "New Theology" have not benefited the Church much in the way of holiness or in evangelizing those outside the Church.

So what are we to do when we read day after day the many influential "theologians" and higher clergy who are trying to destroy the Catholic faith by their modernist ideologies? We must not become disheartened as many are beginning to do. We must instead have the zeal to fight and stay Catholic. We must not be influenced by the errors being presented by these men who are trying to slowly strangle the Church's teachings. For example, the Church's teaching on marriage, communion and the importance of eradicating sin from our lives are under fire from the Church's most prominent and vocal "theologians". Instead of encouraging men to repent and give up sinful lifestyles, they instead encourage them to keep living them. The wolves are now guarding the hen house. How awful is this movement to reaffirm sin and deny the reality of divine judgement. However we must not let these men influence us. No, we cannot remain in our sins just because theologians from on high are making it seem to us that it is not so bad to do so. We must not deny reality by recognizing only God's mercy and forgetting about his justice.

It is now of the utmost importance to understand the gravity of fighting to stay a faithful Catholic. We cannot effect change by merely blathering about in a rage condemning those who are orchestrating these heinous machinations to destroy the Church. Nor can we leave the Church for greener pastures. We can do much more by actually fighting to live our faith, to stay Catholic and become saints. God can do more by the prayer of one Saint than by the works of thousands of raging, yet spiritually mediocre Catholics. Our prayers for the Church and the salvation of souls begins and ends with our own fight to become holy, live by the teachings of the Church and increase in love for God. Then when given the opportunity we can help others to do so as well.

Alarmingly I have read recently that there are now many Catholics who are thinking of throwing in the towel and becoming Eastern Orthodox. I can say this by experience, I used to be in the Orthodox Church. To jump ship is sheer madness! It is the act of an emotionally and spiritually unstable person. You are not going to find yourself in lush green pastures filled with fruit and honey. If you want doctrinal confusion on marriage they are the inventors of it! Two or three marriages, no problem. Ask yourself another question. Would you deny Our Blessed Lady in her Immaculate Conception just to avoid suffering in the Church? Isn't it ironic that so many of the Saints were persecuted by those in the Church rather than those outside of it? I think not. This is what makes us holy. The servant cannot be greater than his master, and if Jesus, our master suffered so will we. Remember it was his own that crucified him. Let us not jump ship and look for the easy way out. It is in our own fight to stay Catholic with a zealous fervor that is important for the salvation of souls. Let us use this suffering that we find now in the Church to become more holy, and through this suffering we can all help rebuild the Church.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Commandments and St. Birgitta Part II: The Punishment of God on Laity and the Pope!

Here is the second installment concerning St. Birgitta and the Commandments. In the first post I covered the judgement that God brought against the Pope and the Laity. In this post I wanted to cover the actual punishments and the circumstances surrounding the punishments. I will first look at the Pope, his advisers, bishops and priests, and then the laity.

In speaking to Birgitta, we see Jesus giving a sentence to the pope for the unrepentant sins he had committed. These sins were not personal in nature but also sins which were leading many souls into hell. One of these sins was that of condemning the good and letting the evil go free. Hence letting those who lived in sin continue and persecuting those who were faithful. The pope instead of helping his flock to live the Commandments was actually confirming them in their sins. Sadly the laity was all too happy to keep living in their sins.

The Lord added, saying to the first of the five men: "The sword of my severity will go into your body, entering at the top of your head and penetrating so deeply and firmly that it can never be drawn out. Your chair will sink like a weighty stone and not come to rest until it hits the lowest part of the deep. Your fingers, I mean your advisers, will burn in an inextinguishable and sulphurous fire. Your arms, I mean your vicars, who should have reached out for the benefit of souls but reached instead for worldly profit and honor, will be sentenced to the punishment which David speaks, 'May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow and may strangers take over his property.' What does his wife mean if not the soul that is left out of the glory of heaven  and will be widowed from God? His children, that is, the virtues they seemed to possess, and my simple folk, those who were placed under them will be separated from them. Their rank and property will fall to others, and they will inherit shame instead of their privileged rank. Their headgear will sink into the mud, an they themselves will never get up out of it. Thus just as through honor and pride they rose above others here on earth, so in hell they will sink so much more deeply than others that it will be impossible for them to rise. Their limbs, I mean, all the fawning priests who followed them, will be cut off from them and taken apart just like a wall that is torn down where stone is not left upon stone and the cement no longer adheres to the stones. Mercy will not come to them, for my love will never warm them nor build them into an eternal mansion in heaven. Instead, stripped of every good, they will be endlessly tormented along with their headmen. 
These are certainly startling punishments, which begin with the Pope, then to his advisers, bishops and then priests. Do we see any similarity to our time where the pope's advisers tell him erroneous doctrine and encourage him to enforce them with the bishops across the globe? Those clergy who continue to encourage the laity to keep living their lives in a state of mortal sin will have much to answer for as we can see here. The scandals wee see involving the clergy are also similar to what we see here. It seems now as if we have a large division between the bishops and priests of the Church concerning important doctrine, for example doctrine concerning marriage and adultery. Let us pray for our Church and clergy so that they may not inherit similar sentences for confirming people in their sin. Next the laity are to receive their sentence. Surprisingly this sentence is short and quite interesting in the language that is chosen.

I say to the second man: Since you do not want to keep the faith promised to me or show love toward me, I will send to you an animal that will come from the impetuous torrent to swallow you. And as a torrent always runs downward, so the animal will carry you down to the lowest parts of hell. As impossible as it is for you to travel upstream against an impetuous torrent, it will be just as hard for you ever to ascend from hell.  
This short description tells us a few things. For one there is the certainty of hell for those who remain unrepentant in their sins. Those who are unfaithful and who deny God his rightful place as King in their lives will be swallowed up into hell like he is being funneled down a flooding river. For the laity it seems that their punishment although still horrific is not as severe as the the clergy, who are drug down into the lowest parts of hell, in the mud as it were. However, it is interesting that Jesus says he will send the unfaithful laity "an animal" that will come from the torrent that will swallow them. What is this animal? Perhaps demons? Perhaps the corrupt clergy who confirm them in their sins? One thing is certain, we as the laity must not any excuse to live in sin or justify any sin. Even if we hear that it is OK to live in adultery, live a homosexual or promiscuous lifestyle, or in any other sinful state for that matter, we must resist such suggestions as if they are from the devils so that we may not end up being swallowed down the torrential river to hell. Let St. Birgitta's visions be a lesson for us and for our Church in our time!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Commandments and St. Birgitta Part I: The Judgement of God on Laity and the Pope!

St Birgitta of Sweden is another one of my favorite Saints. Her writings, like St Catherine of Siena's are informative, inspirational and at times even overwhelming. The wonderful trait that I find among both of these women is their love of God and their desire to speak the truth on how we should live. They did not mince words. Contrary to our modern theologians in Rome and elsewhere who are now telling us that their type of theology was rigid, dry and lacking love, they preached the truth in season and out of season because the truth is love! The lies now being told from theologians on high are now reaching the point of blasphemy; for example, those claiming that those who preach that God's Commandments must be followed are now rigid fundamentalists who are hell bent on only following the "rules" are unjust in their accusations. This "rule" type of mentality is not nor has ever been part of Catholic teaching, and none of the Saints were guilty of this, nor are Catholics today who are attempting to follow in their footsteps. Loyal Catholics follow the Commandments because Christ told us to so, and we do so not out of just following the "rules", but because we trust God's word and we want to show our love for Him by attempting to follow the Commandments. There is a sense of justice when it comes to honoring God in His Commandments. If we fail in living them we go to confession and make a firm resolve not live in that sin again, with God's help. 

In reading Book I of St. Birgitta of Sweden, Chapter 41, I thought it to be very interesting and thought provoking. We often think today that God grades everyone on a curve, at least that is what we are being told today by many theologians in the Church. For example, how about one of Pope Francis' top theologians Cardinal Coccopalmiero who refers now to marriage as "an ideal" that can not always be met, and therefore a person living in adultery could now receive communion, as long as his conscience tells him so. He gives us modernist doublespeak, “It is always the same doctrine, but it takes account of the concrete situation. You affirm the doctrine and can say they should live as brother and sister, but the reality at times does not make this possible.” Thus so we see that according to this Cardinal, God has given us a Commandment that is "impossible" to follow. Anyone who has common sense can see this error from a mile away. Let me get to the point of St. Birgitta's writing that I have come across, which in reality was a revelation given to her by Jesus concerning the just judgment and punishment he was going to inflict upon people. This punishment concerned the laity and also the Pope of her time in relation to His Commandments. The times in which she lived also saw great infidelity to Christ and His teachings, much similar to our own. I will give you a taste of what was revealed to her as a warning to all of us about taking His teachings and Commandments seriously.

The first person addressed is the pope himself.

"I now state my grievance about you, head of my church, you who sit on my seat. I gave this seat to Peter and his successors to sit on with a threefold dignity of authority: first, in order that they might have the power of binding and loosing souls from sin; second, so that they would open heaven for penitents; third, so that they would close heaven to the damned and to those who scorn me. 
But you, who should be absolving souls and presenting them to me, you are really a slayer of souls. I set up Peter as shepherd and servant of my sheep. But you scatter and wound them; you are worse than Lucifer. He was envious of me and longed to kill none but me so that he might rule in my stead. But you are all the worse in that not only do you kill me by cutting me off from yourself by your bad works but you also kill souls through your bad example. I redeemed souls with my blood and entrusted them to you as a faithful friend. But you hand them back to the enemy from whom I redeemed them. You are more unjust than Pilate. He only sentenced me to death. But you not only sentence me as if I were a worthless lord of nothing, you also sentence the souls of my chosen ones and let the guilty go free. You are more merciless than Judas. He only sold me. But you not only sell me but also the souls of my chosen ones for your own base profit and empty reputation. You are more abominable than the Jews. They only crucified my body. But you crucify and punish the souls of my chosen ones for whom your evil and transgression are harsher than any sword. And so since you are like Lucifer and more unjust than Pilate and more merciless than Judas and more abominable than the Jews, my grievance about you is justified." 
There are some interesting things to note here. Notice that Jesus is not upset about the pope holding the faithful accountable for their actions or being too strict on them for following the Commandments. Jesus is upset about just the opposite, for the pope being judgmental against those trying to live the Commandments and letting the guilty ones, those who are unfaithful to His Commandments, go free! Is Jesus not being merciful here? Is Jesus being too rigid? He is also upset because the pope is not guiding His flock which he has entrusted to them. Jesus says that the pope is in fact scattering his flock. I also found it interesting that he accuses this particular pope of being worse than Lucifer, Pilate and Judas! To say the least these accusations are not for the faint of heart. This is not the type of language our theologians today from on high would use, unless it be to criticize anyone actually trying to live their commitment to following the Commandments and not making them out to be just ideological suggestions.

The second accusation however is directed at the laity. They did not get off the hook just because the pope was worse than Lucifer, Judas and Pilate. Here is some of what Jesus says on the judgement of the laity.

The Lord said to the second man, that is, to the laity: "I created all things for your use. You gave your consent to me and I to you. You pledged me your faith and promised by your oath that you would serve me. Now, however, you have departed from me like someone who does not know God. You regard my words as a lie, my works as meaningless. You say my will and my commandments are too heavy. you have violated the faith you pledged. You have abandoned my name. You have disassociated yourself from the company of my Saints and have joined the company of the devils and become their associate. You do not think anyone is worthy of praise and honor except yourself. You find difficult everything having to do with me and you are obliged to do for me, while the things you do are easy for you. That is why my grievance concerning you is justified, for yo have broken the faith you pledged me both in baptism and subsequently. 
 Here Jesus is once again upset about the very same thing! The laity are also not following the Commandments! He says instead they join the company of the devils. Is Jesus again being too severe? Is he too rigid in insisting that we keep our pledge to Him? If we listen to many of today's prominent theologians we would think so.

This gives us food for thought. In my next post I will show you what Jesus said about the punishment for these offenses.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Great Article On Casuistry!

Edward Pentin recently posted a great article by Msgr. Michel Schooyans "on what he sees as the underlying causes of the current malaise in the Church and in wider society." It is worth the read! Click on the link below.

Building a Home Chapel

Our dedication to prayer is the only solution to the grave problems we have in the Church today. It is important to create a prayerful environment in your home. I encourage everyone to make your own home chapel or at least a prayer corner in your home. Since moving into my new home I have been progressively putting together my home chapel. Here is what I have done so far.

Main chapel

Dominican side altar

Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Recommendation: Faith Comes From What Is Heard

I just finished Lawrence Feingold's new book, 'Faith Comes From What Is Heard, An Introduction to Fundamental Theology'. This book clocks in at over 600 pages so be prepared! It gives a good look at how we receive Divine Revelation through the Church, examines the credibility of God speaking to man through the Church and spends a good amount of time on Biblical exegesis. The use of multiple examples and analogies helps you to understand the content on a deeper level. I went through line by line with a colored pencil to underline important content and it took me a few weeks of nightly reading to finish it.

The book follows a simple layout and begins with the topics of Revelation and Faith. next faith and reason are covered followed by Tradition and the Magisterium. The last three parts of the book deal primarily with Sacred Scripture, its inspiration, historicity and typology. Feingold does his best to incorporate several sources ranging from the Church Fathers, other Saints, Popes Pius X, Leo III as well as John Paul II which forms a theological continuity throughout. If you are looking for a bedtime read you probably won't find this work to fit in that mold. However, if you are looking to understand how the Catholic faith has been handed down to us faithfully for 2000 years then this book should be an edifying read.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Has Pope Francis Responded to the Dubia? Yes! You are sitting at the table aren't you?

So far there has been no direct reply to the four Cardinals who submitted their questions (dubia) concerning Amoris Laetitia. Pope Francis has also not granted their request for a meeting. Does this mean however that Pope Francis has not responded? I think the answer is now clear, he has responded by his many actions which concern the documents interpretation. This cannot go unnoticed. If you ask someone a direct question in their presence and they ignore you and tell someone sitting across the table the answer to your question, have they not answered? 

Thus far we do have several responses from Pope Francis on the document, the question is, what are the cardinals going to do now? Would a statement that goes against what Pope Francis has thus far taught in action and words mean anything to him or those in the hierarchy who agree with him? For those Catholics who already know the true teaching of the Church, how much does it change for them? For those laity who look for teachings that tickle their ears so that they can live in an adulterous relationship, is this a game changer for them? Would they go back to not receiving communion or living a life of adultery? These are questions that have been raised, and are all more practical reasons rather than reasons concerning the faith.

I for one think that it is a duty for these cardinals to speak up even if it means no one would listen, although I think there may be a few souls who would be saved by their open criticism. I believe that  even if one soul be saved from eternal damnation it is worth it. Before we get to that point however, what has been Pope Francis' open interpretation of the document? One clear interpretation was given to the Argentinian bishops through the pope’s letter in response to “Basic criteria for the application of chapter 8 of 'Amoris Laetitia'. In this letter the Pope clearly says that some of those who are living in a state of adultery can after discernment receive the Holy Eucharist after receiving the Sacrament of confession with no firm purpose of amendment. Read the text below carefully. (Source)

“When the concrete circumstances of a couple make it feasible, especially when both are Christians with a journey of faith, one may propose that they commit to living in continence.” Amoris Laetitia “does not ignore the difficulties of this option (cf. note 329) and leaves open the possibility of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation when one fails in this intention” (cf. note 364).
In other more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity,” the document continues, “the aforementioned option may not, in fact, be viable. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment.” And “if one arrives at the recognition that, in a concrete case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. notes 336 and 351). These in turn disposes the person to continue maturing and growing with the strength of grace.
Pope Francis added the following statement which makes his stance clear: “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations. And I am certain that it will do much good. May the Lord reward this effort of pastoral charity.” At this point this is the text we must deal with.

Since that letter was sent we now have at least two bishops conferences, the German conference, and the conference of Malta are now following the document as Pope Francis' letter teaches. We now have at least one bishops conference, that of Poland who will not follow the document as the letter says it should be. Thus we do now have a clear position of the pope and the willingness or unwillingness of the bishops to follow along with this novel teaching. For those who are saying that unless Pope Francis responds to the dubia directly that he has not in effect answered, I find to be problematic. Again, if you are sitting at the dinner table and you ask someone a question and they rudely turn away from you and give the answer to another party across the table, do you not have your answer? Sure it wasn't formally addressed to you, but you did hear his answer to the question. You also see the result of his answer when the party across the table starts to follow his answer. You also should be concerned when you have another party who overheard the answer rejects it openly.

So now what? This is where the difficulty lies with these cardinals who brought forth the dubia. For those Catholics who are attacking these cardinals, I would ask that you actually ponder on the gravity of what these cardinals have done thus far, and are going to have to do in the future, unless pope Francis makes a pronouncement changing his stance. Its one thing to be a blogger behind a keyboard and play 'I wanna be St Athanasius' and another to be an actual cardinal who is going to have to do something that really has not been done before in the history of the Church. They are in effect going to have to call out the pope in public and accuse him of teaching false doctrine though his document and formal letter! I do not fault the speed at which these cardinals are moving, because this is a serious matter and it must be done with much prayer and care for Church. What we should be doing as Catholic laity is praying for these cardinals like we have never prayed before so they can be guided by the Holy Spirit to do what they have to do, in God's time not ours. I am one talk, since most people who know me understand that impatience is one of my weaknesses. I do think that they do need to speak, since silence is to give a place to error, which in turn rots souls! Let us however overcome our weak inclinations so that when the cardinals act, and I believe they will, will act in accordance with truth and charity according to God's will.

In summary, we are facing a crisis in the Church today that we have not really faced in this manner before. It appears to me that although the pope has not bound anyone to follow his document, he has indeed answered. Since the pope has not bound anyone to follow his Argentinian interpretation to the document, we have yet to see any formal heresy taught from the chair of Peter, which I think will not happen. However, this does not mitigate the immense damage done by his letter giving his teaching on the document. I would never dare presume to formally declare any pope a formal heretic, it is not my God given competency to do so. There have been in the past many strange things that have happened with past popes and I think we are sure to see something happen in the future that baffles us. I also am not one to fall into the sede-vacantism camp. We must remain faithful however to constant teaching of the Church which teaches that one who is living in adultery cannot receive Holy Communion. They must first live as brother and sister and make a firm purpose of amendment. Any teaching which goes against this clear and objective teaching is wrong and as Catholic laity we are bound to follow this teaching of Christ. Not even the pope can change this teaching, which even Cardinal Muller, of the CDF has said. For more on his recent response click on this link.

Finally can we say that Pope Francis has answered, although not directly to the cardinals? I think the answer is yes. So let us now pray for the cardinals who are seeking to uphold the true teaching for the salvation of souls. Let us pray that the confusion that has been brought about by this document will be done away with. There is also a great summary given yesterday by Father Gerald Murray which sums up the past year well on the document. Let us pray for Cardinal Burke and the other Cardinals who are carrying a heavy cross.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Latin Mass! EWTN Live - 2017-06-14 - Peter Kwasniewski Phd

Check out one of the latest live shows with Dr. Peter Kwasniewski.

Don't forget to pick up his latest book! I am into chapter 3 already!

World Over - 2017-06-22- Cardinals Plea to Pope, Edward Pentin Fr Gerald...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching- Book Review

Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching

I spent the past two weeks reading this wonderful book after having just finished reading Catherine's Dialogue a few weeks ago. McDermott's book is a wonderful spiritual journey through the life of the great St Catherine of Siena. It covers the important spiritual events in her life and then digs deeper to explain them, which allows you to eventually apply her spiritual teachings to your own life. After a biographical account of her life the author covers the spiritual teaching and development that Catherine espouses in her Letters and her Dialogue. Topics such as her fundamental maxim revealed to her by God the Father, 'You are who are not and I am who am!' are explained in great detail allowing the reader to examine their own spiritual life in the mirror of Catherine's teaching. Lastly the book offers an explanation as to how her spiritual teaching and development was experienced in her own life. The book shows clearly how this spiritual teaching applies to all souls.

As Catholics today, we face immense challenges in the world and in the Church. Catherine also faced many similar challenges making her an excellent companion in our lives. In Catherine's time she faced a corrupt Church with corrupt clergy who were misleading souls. Her spiritual approach to these problems is a must needed approach for our time. Without a robust spiritual life bound together with true charity in God's grace, we will not be able to reform today's Church, just as it was not possible to do in her time. How many there are on the Internet complaining about the apostasy in the Church and how few there are who have spent the immense time in prayer to actually affect meaningful change. Catherine teaches how one must start off simply by repenting and ridding one's life of serious sin, then progressing on the Bridge of Christ Crucified further developing in the charity of God. It took Catherine many years to prepare before God called her to go out and teach and serve the public. In fact, she spent four years under the stairs in immense prayer and sacrifice before she even began to go out and do much in charitable works.

Above all, Catherine fit the spirit of her father St Dominic, which was to give oneself to God for the love of neighbor and the salvation of their souls. One of the teachings we miss most today is seeing our neighbor in the image and likeness of God, and treating them as if they were Christ Himself! Yes it is easy to go home, pray, go to church, pray, be around friends and family and then develop a false view of oneself as being pious. It is quite another reality to have formed one's soul in the love of God to where one will sacrifice for their neighbors. God the Father tells Catherine that unless you love your neighbor in a manner that is never self serving, then you don't love Him in a manner that is not self serving. Catherine refers to this type of serving God as being a servile servant. Serving God only for one's own gain. God the Father continues to tell her that how one treats their neighbor is a litmus test as to how much they actually love God. Food for thought!

There are many lessons to be learned if one takes their time to read and meditate on the passages in this book which quotes primarily from Catherine's Dialogue, her Letters and Sacred Scripture. There are also comparisons to the teachings of some of the Church Fathers and Saints as well. The book is well written and thoughtfully laid out. It is repetitious at times but in a pleasant way that keeps reemphasizing the spiritual themes that permeate Catherine's life and her work. This allows you to internalize her thought. For example the three powers of the soul, memory, knowledge and will are shown in several examples throughout the book so that you can properly understand Catherine's teaching in the context of her writings. After reading the 368 pages you become intimately familiar with Catherine and her spiritual thought as well as how to make them your own. I highly recommend picking this book up, and it is a great companion to have alongside as you read her famous Dialogue.  

Thomas McDermott’s magisterial book is the first work in English that does full justice to the systematic theological importance of Catherine of Siena’s teaching. Readers will find their thinking freed from the styles and whims of so much writing on ‘spirituality’ and set firmly on the path that Jesus himself trod with his disciples.”
—Benedict M. Ashley, OP, Professor Emeritus
Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Louis, MO