The Soul & Union With God
Inspired by a great desire for God’s glory and the good of others, having spent some time learning virtue and savoring God’s favor privately through self-knowledge, the soul arises, now full of love and anxious to seek truth and be clothed in it. To receive this enlightenment about God and herself, she realizes her need of humility and constant prayer. In truth, when one prays by following the footsteps of Christ crucified, that soul is united with God and he makes it another self because of its desire, affection, and love. This appears to be what Christ meant by saying: To those who love me and observe my word, I will make myself known and they will be one with me and I will be one with them (see Jn 14:21–23). There are similar words in other places which illustrate that it really is by love that a soul becomes his other self. If I can make this even clearer, I recall being told by a certain servant of God how she had been in prayer, her mind elevated to God, and God revealed to her inner vision the love he has for his servants, saying for one thing: “Open your inner eye and gaze into me. See the dignity and the beauty of my intelligent creatures. I have given much beauty to the soul created in my image and likeness. You can see those united with me in love are clothed in the wedding garments of charity and adorned with many virtues. Who are they, you ask me?” The sweet loving Word responds: “These who have given up their own wills are as another me. They are clothed with my will, united to me, conformed to me.”
Most certainly it is love that unites the soul to God. When one sincerely wants to know the truth and follow it, one must first lift up her own desires (knowing that a soul can be of little use to anyone else in teaching, example, or prayer, if she has not first mastered them personally), then turning to the gracious, eternal Father she asks these four petitions: first for herself; second for the reformation of Holy Church; third for the world in general, especially peace for those Christians who are disrespectfully in rebellion, persecuting the Church; and fourth, that Divine Providence would take care of everything, but especially for a particular need.
Hill, M. L. (2011). Foreword. In M. L. Hill (Ed.), Path of Holiness: Wisdom from Catherine of Siena (pp. 37–39). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.