Oh, wretched man, the darkness of self-love does not let thee know this truth. For didst thou know it, thou wouldst choose any pain rather than guide thy life in this way; thou wouldst give thee to loving and desiring Him who Is; thou wouldst enjoy His truth in firmness, and wouldst not move about like a leaf in the wind; thou wouldst serve thy Creator, and wouldst love everything in Him, and apart from Him nothing. (From the letters of Catherine of Siena, translated by Vida Dutton Scudder) The life she lived went further than is comfortable, both for our reason and our flesh: giving up both that which we greedily crave and that which our Father knows we all need. She gave up food yet drank the discharge of the sick, fed only on illness and the sacraments. She took no comfort from the food of earth and craved only the things above. We rightly cringe at what we know now to be sickness, not piety. We shake at views she held which now bring to mind the farthest flung extremities of the Christian galaxy. And yet she knew what we deny: that we who love our bodies and our comforts more than our creator can only blow about like leaves and leave behind the firmness of His ground which bids us stand upon Him alone and nothing else, and His love which makes us hate our lives so we might love as He has loved and die and live as He has done.