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The books are beautifully, almost lavishly presented and scholars of the highest caliber have taken part in the work of editing.... This is a comprehensive attempt to make the spiritual tradition of large areas of mankind more generally accessible to the ordinary interested reader." A. M. Allchin in Church Times Catherine of Siena-The Dialogue translation and introduction The books are beautifully, almost lavishly presented and scholars of the highest caliber have taken part in the work of editing.... This is a comprehensive attempt to make the spiritual tradition of large areas of mankind more generally accessible to the ordinary interested reader." A. M. Allchin in Church Times Catherine of Siena-The Dialogue translation and introduction by Suzanne Noffke, O.P., preface by Giuliana Cavallini "If you have received my love sincerely without self-interest, you will drink your neighbor's love sincerely. It is just like a vessel that you fill at the fountain. If you take it out of the fountain to drink, the vessel is soon empty. But if you hold your vessel in the fountain while you drink, it will not get empty: indeed, it will always be full." Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380 This is the crowning spiritual work of the only woman other than Teresa of Avila to be granted the title of Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. This volume was simply called "my book" by the fourteenth-century Italian saint. The aim of her book (one of the first books to see print in Spain, Germany, Italy, and England), says Dr. Noffke in her Foreword, was "the instruction and encouragement of all those whose spiritual welfare was her concern." Catherine was "a mystic whose plunge into God plunged her deep into the affairs of society, Church and the souls who came under her influence." Professor Noffke goes on to call The Dialogue "a great tapestry to which Catherine adds stitch upon stitch until she is satisfied that she has communicated all she can of what she has learned of the way of God." In this, the sixth centenary of the great Dominican's death, we live in a time so badly in need of her sense of institutional reform as flowing from Divine truth, love and charity. Dr. Noffke says: "In the opening pages of The Dialogue Catherine presents a series of questions or petitions to God the Father each of which receives a response and amplification. There is the magnificent symbolic portrayal of Christ as the bridge. There are specific discussions of discernment, tears (true and false spiritual emotion), truth, the sacramental heart ('mystic body') of the Church, divine providence, obedience.... It is not so much a treatise to be read as it is a conversation to be entered into with earnest leisure and leisurely earnest.


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The books are beautifully, almost lavishly presented and scholars of the highest caliber have taken part in the work of editing.... This is a comprehensive attempt to make the spiritual tradition of large areas of mankind more generally accessible to the ordinary interested reader." A. M. Allchin in Church Times Catherine of Siena-The Dialogue translation and introduction The books are beautifully, almost lavishly presented and scholars of the highest caliber have taken part in the work of editing.... This is a comprehensive attempt to make the spiritual tradition of large areas of mankind more generally accessible to the ordinary interested reader." A. M. Allchin in Church Times Catherine of Siena-The Dialogue translation and introduction by Suzanne Noffke, O.P., preface by Giuliana Cavallini "If you have received my love sincerely without self-interest, you will drink your neighbor's love sincerely. It is just like a vessel that you fill at the fountain. If you take it out of the fountain to drink, the vessel is soon empty. But if you hold your vessel in the fountain while you drink, it will not get empty: indeed, it will always be full." Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380 This is the crowning spiritual work of the only woman other than Teresa of Avila to be granted the title of Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. This volume was simply called "my book" by the fourteenth-century Italian saint. The aim of her book (one of the first books to see print in Spain, Germany, Italy, and England), says Dr. Noffke in her Foreword, was "the instruction and encouragement of all those whose spiritual welfare was her concern." Catherine was "a mystic whose plunge into God plunged her deep into the affairs of society, Church and the souls who came under her influence." Professor Noffke goes on to call The Dialogue "a great tapestry to which Catherine adds stitch upon stitch until she is satisfied that she has communicated all she can of what she has learned of the way of God." In this, the sixth centenary of the great Dominican's death, we live in a time so badly in need of her sense of institutional reform as flowing from Divine truth, love and charity. Dr. Noffke says: "In the opening pages of The Dialogue Catherine presents a series of questions or petitions to God the Father each of which receives a response and amplification. There is the magnificent symbolic portrayal of Christ as the bridge. There are specific discussions of discernment, tears (true and false spiritual emotion), truth, the sacramental heart ('mystic body') of the Church, divine providence, obedience.... It is not so much a treatise to be read as it is a conversation to be entered into with earnest leisure and leisurely earnest.

30 review for Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    Second only to Divine Mercy in My Soul, this book had the greatest impact on my spiritual reformation. This opening line, God speaking to St. Catherine, captured my heart and soul: "Open the eye of your intellect, and gaze into Me, and you shall see the beauty of My rational creature." It is absolutely mesmerizing in its shape-shifting metaphors which often mix together in such a way that only one's spirit can grasp the meaning. The core metaphor in this book is of The Bridge, who is Christ joining Second only to Divine Mercy in My Soul, this book had the greatest impact on my spiritual reformation. This opening line, God speaking to St. Catherine, captured my heart and soul: "Open the eye of your intellect, and gaze into Me, and you shall see the beauty of My rational creature." It is absolutely mesmerizing in its shape-shifting metaphors which often mix together in such a way that only one's spirit can grasp the meaning. The core metaphor in this book is of The Bridge, who is Christ joining us to God through his dual nature of humanity and divinity. Other important metaphors are the soul described as a tree, and the taking up of the Christian life as the breaking of a thorn by pressing oneself into it, absorbing the pain, and persisting. This book is miraculous, like the life of my favorite Saint, Catherine of Siena.

  2. 5 out of 5

    M.

    A vibrant simplicity, reminiscent of Augustine, at times, fills this series of treatises in which St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church and mystic hears God the Father answering her requests in order to receive help to be saved. Between the most important aspects of the books are the community aspect of salvation, the refutation of a sola fide approach (200 years before the Reformation) and that of Pelagianism, the urge to trust God's Mercy, readily being penitent but also to remember tha A vibrant simplicity, reminiscent of Augustine, at times, fills this series of treatises in which St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church and mystic hears God the Father answering her requests in order to receive help to be saved. Between the most important aspects of the books are the community aspect of salvation, the refutation of a sola fide approach (200 years before the Reformation) and that of Pelagianism, the urge to trust God's Mercy, readily being penitent but also to remember that penance is a mean to approach God, and must be done with this in mind, rather than something you should take pleasure in. Same with prayer, this should not be done mechanically like a chore, but out of one's heart and yet it should be consistent. Quick to shut down any scrupulosity and an excellent manual to sainthood.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Alice

    I'm not sure if it was the translation I had or just my mood. But this was not an easy read. I just read it in small doses, which is why it took me so long to read it. I'm not sure if it was the translation I had or just my mood. But this was not an easy read. I just read it in small doses, which is why it took me so long to read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    Read during my prayer time for five months and it’s five-star quality but some was so dense I couldn’t retain it (this is a nice way of saying I am too dumb to understand some of the saint’s language). It is full of wisdom for a person who wants to live for God. I was enlightened and convicted 100 times, right up to the next-to-final section- the last before she died when she said “I have sought my own consolation.” The final section is a description of her death. It was perfect. Finally I have a Read during my prayer time for five months and it’s five-star quality but some was so dense I couldn’t retain it (this is a nice way of saying I am too dumb to understand some of the saint’s language). It is full of wisdom for a person who wants to live for God. I was enlightened and convicted 100 times, right up to the next-to-final section- the last before she died when she said “I have sought my own consolation.” The final section is a description of her death. It was perfect. Finally I have a little better understanding of my Confirmation Saint.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Niesen

    One of the things I knew about St. Catherine before reading this book was that she was a “mystic,” and that was clearly evident in reading her dialogue with God. This book is not easy for the average religious young person to get through, because it can become terribly abstract at times, but yet the messages are simple and profound when they shine through. I am in awe of this woman and the way she was so enamored by God and had such a desire to be obedient to his will and love him well. A hard b One of the things I knew about St. Catherine before reading this book was that she was a “mystic,” and that was clearly evident in reading her dialogue with God. This book is not easy for the average religious young person to get through, because it can become terribly abstract at times, but yet the messages are simple and profound when they shine through. I am in awe of this woman and the way she was so enamored by God and had such a desire to be obedient to his will and love him well. A hard book to read, but a spiritual classic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Jakows

    The words which St. Catherine of Siena receives from God the Father are loving, moving and challenging. This Doctor of the Church and mystic should be read. Her Letters as well. I've included several passages from Dialogue in my book, "Jesus: Perfect Love." "Be who God meant you to be, and you shall set the world on fire."- St. Catherine of Siena. The words which St. Catherine of Siena receives from God the Father are loving, moving and challenging. This Doctor of the Church and mystic should be read. Her Letters as well. I've included several passages from Dialogue in my book, "Jesus: Perfect Love." "Be who God meant you to be, and you shall set the world on fire."- St. Catherine of Siena.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Youmna

    This qualifies as one of the best books of all times, in my humble opinion. It is fulfilling and life-changing, and satisfied my craving for knowledge, bringing one of those feelings of contentment and joy you can only feel in the heart. It is insightful, and at the same time not too complex for our limited minds. Despite her enlightenment, Saint Catherine of Sienna communicates her thoughts with clarity. The book itself answers questions I have long searched for, to which answers have never bee This qualifies as one of the best books of all times, in my humble opinion. It is fulfilling and life-changing, and satisfied my craving for knowledge, bringing one of those feelings of contentment and joy you can only feel in the heart. It is insightful, and at the same time not too complex for our limited minds. Despite her enlightenment, Saint Catherine of Sienna communicates her thoughts with clarity. The book itself answers questions I have long searched for, to which answers have never been satisfactory nor complete. Questions I still hear everyday, like why is there misery in the world? Why does God let innocent people suffer? Why does he let clergymen do awful things? How should we react to such events?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amicizia

    Catherine of Siena, the second woman to be named a Doctor of the Church, had a complex and beautiful theology, fully Trinitarian yet alternating the focus between Father, Son and Spirit. This book is actually a compilation of several discourses on such topics as: The way of perfection Christ the bridge Truth The Mystical body of Christ Providence Obedience Much of Catherine's meditations were Scripturally based, so this complements such reading quite well. We recommend it for anyone seeking some Catherine of Siena, the second woman to be named a Doctor of the Church, had a complex and beautiful theology, fully Trinitarian yet alternating the focus between Father, Son and Spirit. This book is actually a compilation of several discourses on such topics as: The way of perfection Christ the bridge Truth The Mystical body of Christ Providence Obedience Much of Catherine's meditations were Scripturally based, so this complements such reading quite well. We recommend it for anyone seeking some insight from this remarkable woman, particularly on our relationship as humanity with God our Creator. Enjoy!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    A profound reading experience. I plan on reading it again next year (God willing) during the Lenten season. So helpful on one's spiritual journey. A profound reading experience. I plan on reading it again next year (God willing) during the Lenten season. So helpful on one's spiritual journey.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Hui

    (reflection post written for class) For Aristotle, exercising every one of the moral virtues depends on possessing the virtue of practical wisdom, phronesis. However, he doesn’t delve into exactly how a person develops this key virtue in his Ethics. Discernment seems to be the equivalent of phronesis in Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue, if not more powerful and significant for virtue. Like practical wisdom’s determination of the mean, discernment involves “prudence” and “sets conditions” for virtuou (reflection post written for class) For Aristotle, exercising every one of the moral virtues depends on possessing the virtue of practical wisdom, phronesis. However, he doesn’t delve into exactly how a person develops this key virtue in his Ethics. Discernment seems to be the equivalent of phronesis in Catherine of Siena’s Dialogue, if not more powerful and significant for virtue. Like practical wisdom’s determination of the mean, discernment involves “prudence” and “sets conditions” for virtuous action. However, through discernment, the soul “overcomes the devil and the flesh” and “gains mastery over the world.” Not only does it provide for the good, but it also roundly beats back evil, whereas Aristotle’s phronesis simply allows for the exercise of true virtue. Unlike in Ethics, the path to attain discernment is clearly laid out, ultimately due to the presence and prominence of God in the Dialogue. Developing discernment begins with self-knowledge, emphasized from the beginning of this excerpt, and the humility which arises from self-knowledge and its hatred of one’s own sin. True humility and self-knowledge root out selfish love, allowing the soul to know God in herself. As God is charity itself, and the soul knows and loves God in herself, humility bears the fruit of charity, which in turn begets discernment. This is what makes discernment powerful, giving it utter breadth and depth, so it reaches “from heaven to earth, that is, from the knowledge of me [God] to the knowledge of oneself, from love of me to love of one’s neighbors.” Catherine and Aristotle also differ in respect of their overall aim, one being perfection, the other eudaimonia. Most striking is how this difference results in pain and sorrow being a requirement of the way of perfection, as they increase in proportion to love. On the other hand, eudaimonia, human flourishing, doesn’t have pain and sorrow in the picture.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Felipe

    A marvelous book on important aspects of Faith. The edition I read have some details on the story of St. Catherine, a doctor of the Church and one of the most important women in the history of Italy who searched unity of the different powers that were battling at the time. Amidst the chaotic times she was living, St. Catherine got in touch with the Divine and found the answers she needed in the doctrine. It's incredible that this book is all about doctrine, but at the same time it communicates wi A marvelous book on important aspects of Faith. The edition I read have some details on the story of St. Catherine, a doctor of the Church and one of the most important women in the history of Italy who searched unity of the different powers that were battling at the time. Amidst the chaotic times she was living, St. Catherine got in touch with the Divine and found the answers she needed in the doctrine. It's incredible that this book is all about doctrine, but at the same time it communicates with the struggles of her time and (funny for some, but not for me) with the struggles of our times. I think The Dialogue is as important today as it was in 14th century Italy. Enough with the back story, the book is a dialogue between St. Catherine and God. It's divided in four parts and starts with more general themes, regarding the apostolic formation, how apostles came to being and the situation of the Church at the time she was living. The first part debates many different themes and it seems like the toughest to understand. The second part deals with the situation of the Church and how the struggles are just infinite, it's part of its existence on Earth and the solution relies on the faithful, who must pray and that connects with the third part, dealing with divine providence, how providence occur and how to wait for it. Then, in the fourth part, we receive a lesson on obedience and disobedience and this part seems to be the simplest, probably because it is more relatable to layman. In short, a great book for catholics. I don't see my non-catholic friends reading it and I think this is not the ideal book for the uninitiated in the Faith, but this reading is a great adventure, for sure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Miller

    This amazing book is a dialogue between a devout soul (surely Catherine herself) and God the Father. The clear and vigorous prose tasted like strong wine for my mind, compared to the flaccid mushiness of what passes for so much of Catholic thought today. She considers the soul's freedom: All the Devil's stratagems and temptations and all the demons in Hell can't compel anybody to commit so much as the smallest sin. We are free; to obey God, or disobey. She considers Christ's body as bridge from This amazing book is a dialogue between a devout soul (surely Catherine herself) and God the Father. The clear and vigorous prose tasted like strong wine for my mind, compared to the flaccid mushiness of what passes for so much of Catholic thought today. She considers the soul's freedom: All the Devil's stratagems and temptations and all the demons in Hell can't compel anybody to commit so much as the smallest sin. We are free; to obey God, or disobey. She considers Christ's body as bridge from the disordered river of life in the world to a beatific life in heaven. The soul drowning in the river first climbs up by Christ's feet on the Cross: renouncing sin and reforming her life. Then she reaches Christ's side: embracing the virtues. Then she reaches His lips: union with Our Lord. She considers the sad state of those who refuse to walk onto the bridge; preferring to stay in the water, or not even realizing there is any other state. She considers the height of sanctification reached by holy priests, doctors, and teachers; and the depths of depravity reached by the unworthy; yet all ministers of the Church bring us Christ's body and blood which wash clean our sins, so we owe the most desperate sinner among them the dignity of his office. The Blood of Christ is her constant refrain; that refreshes us and saves us. And the Father's constant description of Himself is "The Sea Pacific", the safe embrace of His love.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judith Babarsky

    I had been meaning to read this for quite awhile. I'm glad I read it, but can't say that it had a "wow" impact on me -- it feels sacrilegious to say that! There were parts that I found more engaging, but other parts I found it difficult to connect to. If I hadn't had a basic familiarity with Catherine's life, I think I would have been mostly lost. Compared to a more "modern" diary/dialogue such as Faustina or Terese of Liseaux, I found the Dialogue slow-moving and redundant. Overall, I liked the I had been meaning to read this for quite awhile. I'm glad I read it, but can't say that it had a "wow" impact on me -- it feels sacrilegious to say that! There were parts that I found more engaging, but other parts I found it difficult to connect to. If I hadn't had a basic familiarity with Catherine's life, I think I would have been mostly lost. Compared to a more "modern" diary/dialogue such as Faustina or Terese of Liseaux, I found the Dialogue slow-moving and redundant. Overall, I liked the analogy that Catherine used of Jesus Christ as the "bridge" between our sinful state and perfection; her dialogue about the challenges of crossing the bridge and the various requirements. Many of her analogies (the bridge is just one) were brilliant and served to provide helpful imagery of the Christian path. It is these images that will most likely remain with me far beyond some of the more "descriptive" explanations of various steps in the religious life. Her references to the orders and discussion of Dominic and Francis were engaging. Again, glad I read it and I'm sure I will read parts of it again. It's one of those books that resonates in different ways, I'm sure, depending on the circumstances of the moment in one's life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brett Folkman

    I really enjoyed reading St. Catherine's writings while under the influence of the spirit. I found much to ponder and many eternal truths resonated with my spirit. Theologically, for the time period, she was ahead of her time. I love her four petitions and the answers a loving Heavenly Father gave her based on her understanding and knowledge. Her writings reinforce a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into the world to redeem and save us through his infinite atoni I really enjoyed reading St. Catherine's writings while under the influence of the spirit. I found much to ponder and many eternal truths resonated with my spirit. Theologically, for the time period, she was ahead of her time. I love her four petitions and the answers a loving Heavenly Father gave her based on her understanding and knowledge. Her writings reinforce a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ into the world to redeem and save us through his infinite atoning sacrifice. The focus on LOVE throughout is the key to this life. I highly recommend this classic of the amazing Christian mystical writings. Brett Folkman Doctor of Ministry

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tri Ma gia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Profound, deep, informative yet simple but powerful- I read quickly years ago, now reread is so meaningful and and beautiful of God presence in every circumstances in my life. I love to include her quotes into my spiritual work like: " Be who God meant you to be and you will the world on fire" " Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring" or "speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills" Every thought is worth meditation. St Catherine of Siena, Save us on this pandemic as Profound, deep, informative yet simple but powerful- I read quickly years ago, now reread is so meaningful and and beautiful of God presence in every circumstances in my life. I love to include her quotes into my spiritual work like: " Be who God meant you to be and you will the world on fire" " Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring" or "speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills" Every thought is worth meditation. St Catherine of Siena, Save us on this pandemic as you had done in the past.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Humphrey

    A lot of really lovely stuff here, though I admit that I dragged a bit midway (topical though this material is). St. Catherine's articulation of sin as nothingness is powerfully insightful; her systematic critique of selfishness is pressing; and her explanation the Dominican tradition of the elevation of the virtue of obedience is illuminating. A lot of really lovely stuff here, though I admit that I dragged a bit midway (topical though this material is). St. Catherine's articulation of sin as nothingness is powerfully insightful; her systematic critique of selfishness is pressing; and her explanation the Dominican tradition of the elevation of the virtue of obedience is illuminating.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    Hence this is for grad thesis research, no rating. The Dialogue is typical piece of writing in the line of medieval female mystics, filled with sensual tension and eating and food related metaphors. Research topic wise nothing really new but as a historical source of the religion at its' time, very interesting. Hence this is for grad thesis research, no rating. The Dialogue is typical piece of writing in the line of medieval female mystics, filled with sensual tension and eating and food related metaphors. Research topic wise nothing really new but as a historical source of the religion at its' time, very interesting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cameron White

    Powerful and exceptional Very good read that gets you to stop many times to reflect on what is being said. I have used many of the comments in my daily reflection, trying to gain a deeper relationship with God. Also, what a special person St. Catherine of Siena was and what we can learn from this special and unique conversation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    It's hard to not to give this book five stars considering the message came straight from God through St. Catherine. This book had some good insights on prayer, sin, growing in your faith and just doing God's will in your life. It's hard to not to give this book five stars considering the message came straight from God through St. Catherine. This book had some good insights on prayer, sin, growing in your faith and just doing God's will in your life.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Raborg

    The Words of God to a Devout Soul This book is of immense value. I think that souls striving for perfection or even in a state of sin but who desire to repent would prosper greatly from reading this. A few typos in this version, but the translation reads very smoothly.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fr. Jedidiah Tritle

    Five stars for content, three stars for the translation in the Tan Books edition! It's clunky and non-intuitive. Go with the Classics of Western Spirituality edition... it's much better, and you'll be able to benefit greatly from this great Doctrix of the Church. Five stars for content, three stars for the translation in the Tan Books edition! It's clunky and non-intuitive. Go with the Classics of Western Spirituality edition... it's much better, and you'll be able to benefit greatly from this great Doctrix of the Church.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Absolutely incredible. Very, very deep.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Fantastic. Deep. I will read again.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tina Beattie

    Complex, passionate, turbulent, extravagant, over the top - Catherine of Siena's Dialogue is a glorious romp with God. Complex, passionate, turbulent, extravagant, over the top - Catherine of Siena's Dialogue is a glorious romp with God.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    An excellent book! Takes a lot of thought, so it took me a long time to finish but well worth the time and effort.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Munoz lc

    A book full of teachings for who wants to live a profound spirit life. A woman who knew how to lived a deep love to our Lord and a life completly surrended to her brothers in need.

  27. 5 out of 5

    K. P.

    what a figure of history, when mystics were valued for wise guidance. A bit terrifying at times, but worth the meditation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Holden Marshall

    Dialogue is a rich text-- a wealth of theological knowledge. From St. Augustine to St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena delivers a work that reproduces theological doctrines but with a particular theme: Love! 3 stars because the repetition is overwhelming at times and I feel as though this book should be shorter than what it is now. Abridged version if available, however read the full if you are a Catherinean scholar?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    To be read slowly to absorb the full message. This is not a quick read or light but is full of value.

  30. 4 out of 5

    HD Tolson

    St. Catherine is a queen. Didn't all of the Dialogue, but a good portion. She is amazing. St. Catherine is a queen. Didn't all of the Dialogue, but a good portion. She is amazing.

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