As far as I can see, the souls in purgatory can have no choice but to be there; this God has most justly ordained by his divine decree. ...They retain no memory of either good or evil respecting themselves or others which would increase their pain. They are so contented with the divine dispositions in their regard; and with doing all that is pleasing to God in that way which he chooses, that they cannot think of themselves, though they may strive to do so.
They see nothing but the operation of the divine goodness which is so manifestly bringing them to God that they can reflect neither on their own profit nor on their hurt. Could they do so, they would not be in pure charity. They see not that they suffer their pains in consequence of their sins, nor can they for a moment entertain that thought, for should they do so it would be an active imperfection, and that cannot exist in a state where there is no longer the possibility of sin. At the moment of leaving this life they see why they are sent to purgatory, but never again, otherwise they would still retain something private, which has no place there. Being established in charity, they can never deviate there from by any defect, and have no will or desire, save the pure will of pure love, and can swerve from it in nothing. They can neither commit sin, nor merit by refraining from it.
There is no peace to be compared with that of the souls in purgatory, save that of the saints in paradise, and this peace is ever augmented by the inflowing of God into these souls, which increases in proportion as the impediments to it are removed. The rust of sin is the impediment, and this the fire continually consumes, so that the soul in this state is continually opening itself to admit the divine communication. As a covered surface can never reflect the sun, not through any defect in that orb, but simply from the resistance offered by the covering, so, if the covering be gradually removed, the surface will by little and little be opened to the sun and will more and more reflect his light.
So it is with the rust of sin, which is the covering of the soul. In purgatory the flames incessantly consume it, and as it disappears, the soul reflects more and more perfectly the true sun who is God. Its contentment increases as this rust wears away, and the soul is laid bare to the divine ray, and thus one increases, and the other decreases until the time is accomplished. The pain never diminishes, although the time does, but as to the will, so united is it to God by pure charity, and so satisfied to be under his divine appointment, that these souls can never say their pains are pains….
Since the souls in purgatory are freed from the guilt of sin, there is no barrier between them and God save only the pains they suffer, which delay the satisfaction of their desire. And when they see how serious is even the slightest hindrance, which the necessity of justice causes to check them, a vehement flame kindles within them, which is like that of hell. They feel no guilt however, and it is guilt which is the cause of the malignant will of the condemned in hell, to whom God does not communicate his goodness, and thus they remain in despair and with a will forever opposed to the good will of God….
The souls in purgatory are entirely conformed to the will of God; therefore, they correspond with his goodness, are contented with all that he ordains, and are entirely purified from the guilt of their sins. They are pure from sins, because they have in this life abhorred them and confessed them with true contrition, and for this reason God remits their guilt, so that only the stains of sin remain, and these must be devoured by the fire. Thus freed from guilt and united to the will of God, they see him clearly according to that degree of light which he allows them, and comprehend how great a good is the fruition of God, for which all souls were created. Moreover, these souls are in such close conformity to God, and are drawn so powerfully toward him by reason of the natural attraction between him and the soul, that no illustration or comparison could make this impetuosity understood in the way in which my spirit conceives it by its interior sense. St. Catherine of GenoaBACK TO LIST