left QuoteA painting of a person  Description automatically generated with low confidenceST CATHERINE OF SIENA (1347–1380)

This extract is from a letter sent by Catherine in 1378, when the Western Schism had just begun, to two hermits living in the woods near Lecceto, urging them to come out of the woods and work with people for the good of the Church.

I Catherine, servant of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to you in his precious blood, desiring to see you letting go of yourselves in such a way that you do not seek peace or tranquillity anywhere except in Christ crucified…. Today we see the Church in such need that we must deny ourselves by coming out of our woods.  Seeing that it is possible for us to bear fruit in the Church, this is not the time for you to stay put, or to say “I won't have any peace then.”  God has provided the Church with a good and just Shepherd [pope Urban VI], so we others ought to support him…. So come out of your wood and hurry to enter the struggle.  If you do not do this you will not be in harmony with God’s will.

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In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.