In last week’s Contemplative Profile, we looked at a letter of St. Catherine, the 14th-century mystic, in which she describes three kinds of prayer. In that same letter, Catherine encourages her niece, a nun, to persevere when faced with difficulties praying. Let’s take her words to heart when we have our own struggles. Catherine writes:


If you encounter different kinds of struggle in your prayer, or if you experience confusing darkness of mind (this is the devil making the soul feel that her prayer is not pleasing to God), you ought, nevertheless, never give up on account of struggles and darkness, but rather to stand firm with courage and perseverance, remembering that the devil does this to draw you away from your mother, prayer, and that God permits it to test the courage and constancy of your soul.


God allows this also so that in your struggle and darkness you may know that of yourself you are nothing, and may know, through the good intention in which you remain, the goodness of God who is the giver and the preserver of a good and holy will.


Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) was a member of the Dominican Order of Penance. She was a mystic, a reformer, and an adviser to popes. Her written work includes over 300 letters and a contemplative treatise, The Dialogue. Read more here.

Read Catherine’s letters here.