From the booklet made up for the profession of a dear friend (through whom I met Cath):

Are you now alarmed by the immensity of what the holy vows require of you? You need not be alarmed. What you have promised is indeed beyond your own weak human power. But it is not beyond the power of the Almighty – this power will become yours if you entrust yourself to Him, if He accepts your pledge of troth. He does so on the day of your holy profession and will do it anew today. It is the loving heart of your Saviour that invites you to follow. It demands your obedience because the human will is blind and weak. It cannot find the way until it surrenders itself entirely to the divine will. He demands poverty because hands must be empty of earth’s goods to receive the goods of heaven. He demands chastity because only the heart detached from all earthly love is free for the love of God. The arms of the Crucified are spread out to draw you to His heart. He wants your life in order to give you His. 

I wonder what the context is. She had a good friend who was a Benedictine, perhaps it was a letter to her. I have a book of St Theresa’s writings in the loo, her lectures on Woman. Gran (the materialist atheist)  thinks it’s disrespectful. Tepidus and I once had a conversation about what books can be kept, or read,  in the loo without disrespect. Clearly the Bible is out, and we decided that things like the Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena are also not really loo material. Lives of saints – depends on their tone and content. I think lectures on the nature of woman and her social role, even if written by a martyr, can be kept in the loo – but perhaps in this case, not without scandal. I suppose I should have gone with Gran’s sensibilities, and not told myself I was being educational and fighting superstition.

[update: uncle Google tells me that the quote is from a meditation for the feast of the Holy Cross, III.2 in this English edition available online.]

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