The Necessity Of Purgatory And How God And The Holy Souls Look At Each Other – St. Catherine Of Genoa. 

The Necessity Of Purgatory And How God And The Holy Souls Look At Each Other – St. Catherine Of Genoa. 

Of The Necessity Of purgatory. How Terrible It Is.

When I look at God, I see no gate to Paradise, and yet because God is all mercy, he who wills enters there. God stands before us with open arms to receive us into His glory. But well I see the divine essence to be of such purity, greater far than can be imagined, that the soul in which there is even the least note of imperfection would rather cast itself into a thousand Hells than find itself thus stained in the presence of the Divine Majesty.

Therefore the soul, understanding that Purgatory has been ordained to take away those stains, casts itself therein, and seems to itself to have found great mercy in that it can rid itself there of the impediment which is the stain of sin. No tongue can tell nor explain, no mind understand, the grievousness of Purgatory. But I, though I see that there is in Purgatory as much pain as in Hell, yet see the soul which has the least stain of imperfection accepting Purgatory, as I have said, as though it were a mercy, and holding its pains of no account as compared with the least stain which hinders a soul in its love.

I seem to see that the pain which souls in Purgatory endure because of whatever in them displeases God, that is what they have willfully done against His so great goodness, is greater than any other pain they feel in Purgatory. And this is because, being in grace, they see the truth and the grievousness of the hindrance which stays them from drawing near to God.

How God and the souls in Purgatory look at each other.

The saint acknowledges that in speaking of these matters she cannot express herself. All these things which I have surely in mind, in so much as in this life I have been able to understand them, are, as compared with what I have said, extreme in their greatness. Beside them, all the sights, sounds, justice and truths of this world seem to me lies and nothingness. I am left confused because I cannot find words extreme enough for these things.

I perceive there to be so much conformity between God and the soul that when He sees it in the purity in which His Divine Majesty created it he gives it a burning love, which draws it to Himself, which is strong enough to destroy it, immortal though it be, and which causes it to be so transformed in God that it sees itself as though it were none other than God unceasingly. He draws it to Himself and breathes fire into it, never letting it go until He has led it to the state whence it came forth, that is, to the pure cleanliness in which it was created.

When with its inner sight, the soul sees itself drawn by God with such loving fire, then it is melted by the heat of the glowing love for God, its most dear Lord, which it feels overflowing it. And it sees by the divine light that God does not cease from drawing it, nor from leading it, lovingly and with much care and unfailing foresight, to its full perfection, doing this of His pure love.

But the soul, being hindered by sin, cannot go were God draws it. It cannot follow the uniting look with which He would draw it to Himself.

Again the soul perceives the grievousness of being held back from seeing the divine light, the soul’s instinct too, being drawn by that uniting look, craves to be unhindered. I say that, it is the sight of these things which begets in the souls the pain they feel in Purgatory. Not that they make account of their pain; most

great though it be, they deem it a far less evil than to find themselves 
going against the will of God, whom they clearly see to be on fire with 
extreme and pure love for them.

Strongly and unceasingly this love draws the soul with that uniting look, 
as though it had nought else than this to do. Could the soul who understood 
find a worse Purgatory in which to rid itself sooner of all the hindrance 
in its. way, it would swiftly fling itself therein, driven by the 
conforming love between itself and God.

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