Put on Jesus Christ
Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain (Ps 127:1–2).
You see, my dear brothers and lords, that self-love ruins the city of the soul and ruins, as well as conquers, the cities of this world. I want you to also know that the world has been divided into so many groups of peoples by self-love, which also gives birth to injustice.
It seems that you desire to enhance and protect your own city, dearest brothers. This desire has inspired you to write to me, poor, miserable person that I am, so full of faults. I both listened attentively to your letter, and read it lovingly. I certainly hope that I can satisfy your request, and I will certainly exert myself, with God’s grace, to pray continually for your intention. If you act in justice and conduct your government business as I have suggested, without bitter argument, selfishness, or self-interest, but for the common good and built on Jesus Christ the rock, and conduct all your business in fear of him, your prayers will preserve your city with strength, peace, and unity. Even though you have the help of the prayers of God’s good servants, there is no other remedy but through love for Christ crucified. So I beg you do not drop your part of the bargain. Although you do have the help of those prayers, if you let down your guard and fail on your part to help yourselves, all will flounder.
… You must clothe yourselves with the New Man, sweet Jesus Christ and his immense charity. For this to happen, however, we must first be divested of self. But I will not do this unless I understand how harmful it is to cling to sin, and how very useful are these new clothes of divine love. When one witnesses his own sin, he will despise it and quickly rip it off. He will then love and dress himself up in new clothes of virtue created by love of the New Man. This is the Way. Because of this I told you of my desire to see you divested of the old man and clothed with the New Man, Christ crucified. This is how you will prevail, remain in the state of grace, and preserve your city. You will also not fail to reverence the Holy Church.
—Excerpt from an undated letter written to the elders and councilors of Bologna
Hill, M. L. (2011). Foreword. In M. L. Hill (Ed.), Path of Holiness: Wisdom from Catherine of Siena (pp. 33–35). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.