Augustine of Hippo: You Are the Strength of My Soul: Make Your Way in and Shape It to Yourself Wednesday, Mar 2 2011 

Let me know you, O you who know me; then shall I know even as I am known.

You are the strength of my soul.

Make your way in and shape it to yourself, that it may be yours to have and to hold, free from stain or wrinkle.

[…] But the abyss of the human conscience lies naked to your eyes, O Lord, so would anything be secret even if I were unwilling to confess to you?

I would be hiding you from myself, but not myself from you.

But now that my groans bear witness that I find no pleasure in myself, you shed light upon me and give me joy, you offer yourself, lovable and longed for, that I may thrust myself away in disgust and choose you, and be pleasing no more either to you or to myself except in what I have from you.

To you, then, Lord, I lie exposed, exactly as I am.

[…] My confession to you is made not with words of tongue and voice, but with the words of my soul and the clamour of my thought, to which your ear is attuned.

For when I am bad, confession to you is simply disgust with myself, but when I am good, confession to you consists in not attributing my goodness to myself.

Because, Lord, though you bless the person who is just, it is only because you have first made him just when he was sinful.

This is why, O Lord, my confession in your presence is silent, yet not altogether silent: there is no noise to it, but it shouts by love.

[…] It is true that we now see only a tantalizing reflection in a mirror, and so it is that while I am on pilgrimage far from you I am more present to myself than to you.

Yet I do know that you cannot be defiled in any way whatever, whereas I do not know which temptations I may have the strength to resist, and to which ones I shall succumb.

Our hope is that, because you are trustworthy, you do not allow us to be tempted more fiercely than we can bear, but along with the temptation you ordain the outcome of it, so that we can endure.

Let me, then, confess what I know about myself, and confess too what I do not know, because what I know of myself I know only because you shed light on me, and what I do not know I shall remain ignorant about until my darkness becomes like bright noon before your face.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Confessions (Lib 10, 1, 1-2, 2; 5,7), taken from the Office of Readings for Tuesday of the 8th week in Ordinary Time @ Crossroads Initiative.

Catherine of Siena: Contemplation of the Blood of Christ Friday, Oct 23 2009 

God says to Catherine: Know, dearest daughter, how, by humble, continual, and faithful prayer, the soul acquires, with time and perseverance, every virtue.

Wherefore should she persevere and never abandon prayer, either through the illusion of the devil or her own fragility, that is to say, either on account of any thought or movement coming from her own body, or of the words of any creature.

The devil often places himself upon the tongues of creatures, causing them to chatter nonsensically, with the purpose of preventing the prayer of the soul. All of this she should pass by, by means of the virtue of perseverance.

Oh, how sweet and pleasant to that soul and to Me is holy prayer, made in the house of knowledge of self and of Me, opening the eye of the intellect to the light of faith, and the affections to the abundance of My charity, which was made visible to you, through My visible only-begotten Son, who showed it to you with His blood!

Which Blood inebriates the soul and clothes her with the fire of divine charity, giving her the food of the Sacrament,…that is to say, the food of the Body and Blood of My Son, wholly God and wholly man, administered to you by the hand of My vicar, who holds the key of the Blood.

…This food strengthens little or much, according to the desire of the recipient, whether he receives sacramentally or virtually.

He receives sacramentally when he actually communicates with the Blessed Sacrament.

He receives virtually when he communicates, both by desire of communion, and by contemplation of the Blood of Christ crucified, communicating, as it were, sacramentally, with the affection of love, which is to be tasted in the Blood which, as the soul sees, was shed through love.

On seeing this the soul becomes inebriated, and blazes with holy desire and satisfies herself, becoming full of love for Me and for her neighbor. Where can this be acquired?

In the house of self-knowledge with holy prayer, where imperfections are lost, even as Peter and the disciples, while they remained in watching and prayer, lost their imperfection and acquired perfection.

By what means is this acquired? By perseverance seasoned with the most holy faith.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): The Dialogue