Discover the importance of interior mortification and its impact on our souls. Explore the two types of mortification and learn how to practice it in all aspects of life. Join Fr. John Croiset, SJ, in this insightful discussion.

The Bridge

How this Bridge has three steps, which signify the three states of the soul; and how, being lifted on high, yet it is not separated from the earth; and how these words are to be understood: “If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things unto Me.” Then the Eternal God, to enamor and excite that soul still more for the salvation of souls, replied to her, and said: “First, as I have shown thee that for which thou didst wish, and ask Me, I will now explain to thee the nature of this Bridge. I have told thee, My daughter, that the Bridge reaches from Heaven to earth; this is through the union which I have made with man, whom I formed of the clay of the earth.

Now learn that this Bridge, My Only-begotten Son, has three steps, of which two were made with the wood of the most Holy Cross, and the third still retains the great bitterness He tasted, when He was given gall and vinegar to drink. In these three steps you will recognize three states of the soul, which I will explain to thee below. The feet of the soul, signifying her affection, are the first step, for the feet carry the body as the affection carries the soul. Wherefore these pierced Feet are steps by which thou canst arrive at His Side, which manifests to thee the secret of His Heart, because the soul, rising on the steps of her affection, commences to taste the love of His Heart, gazing into that open Heart of My Son, with the eye of the intellect, and finds It consumed with ineffable love. I say consumed, because He does not love you for His own profit, because you can be of no profit to Him, He being one and the same substance with Me.

Then the soul is filled with love, seeing herself so much loved. Having passed the second step, the soul reaches out to the third—that is—to the Mouth, where she finds peace from the terrible war she has been waging with her sin. On the first step, then, lifting her feet from the affections of the earth, the soul strips herself of vice; on the second she fills herself with love and virtue; and on the third she tastes peace. So the Bridge has three steps, in order that, climbing past the first and the second, you may reach the last, which is lifted on high, so that the water running beneath may not touch it; for, in My Son, was no venom of sin. This Bridge is lifted on high, and yet, at the same time, joined to the earth. Dost thou know when it was lifted on high? When My Son was lifted up on the wood of the most Holy Cross, the Divine nature remaining joined to the lowliness of the earth of your humanity.

This article is taken from a chapter in The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena, which is available from TAN Books.

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