-- G. K. Chesterton, Introduction to "Hard Times"
- - - - - - - - - -Gentle First Truth is teaching you and leaving you as a commandment: to love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself. He gave you the example, hanging on the wood of the most holy cross. While the Jews cried, "Crucify him!" he cried out humbly, meekly: "Father, forgive those who are crucifying me, because they don't know what they are doing!" Look at his boundless charity! He not only forgives them, but excuses them before the Father. What an example! What a teaching! The just one, who never had the poison of sin in himself, suffers at the hands of the unjust to atone for our sin! Oh how ashamed we should be to follow the teaching of the devil and sensuality, more concerned about acquiring and keeping worldly riches—which are all empty and pass like the wind—than we are about our own and our neighbors' souls! For as long as we live in hatred for our neighbors we are hating our own selves, because hatred deprives us of divine charity. How stupidly blind not to see that with the sword of hatred for our neighbors we are killing ourselves!
So I am asking you and I want you to follow Christ crucified and be a lover of your neighbors' salvation. Show you are a follower of the Lamb, who in hunger for his Father's honor and the salvation of souls chose his own physical death.
-- Catherine of Siena, Letter 78, from The Letters of St. Catherine of Siena, Suzanne Noffke, O.P., volume 1, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1988, 238-239