Ste Catherine of Genoa
Extract

TREATISE ON PURGATORY

The prison in which I see myself to be is the world , my chains the body , and it is my soul enlightened by grace which knows the grievousness of being held down or kept back and thus hindered from pursuing its end. This gives my soul great pain for it is very tender . By God's grace it receives a certain dignity which makes it like unto God ; nay , rather He lets it share His goodness so that it becomes one with Him . And since it is impossible that God suffer pain , this immunity too befalls the souls who draw near Him ; the nearer they come to Him , the more they partake of what is His . Therefore to be hindered on its way , as it is , causes the soul unbearable pain . The pain and the hindrance wrest it from its first natural state , which by grace is revealed to it , and finding itself deprived of what it is able to receive , it suffers a pain more or less great according to the measure of its esteem for God . The more the soul knows God , the more it esteems Him and the more sinless it becomes , so that the hindrance in its way grows yet more terrible to it , above all because the soul which is unhindered and wholly recollected in God knows Him as He truly is .

As the man who would let himself be killed rather than offend God feels death and its pain , but is given by the light of God a zeal which causes him to rate divine honor above bodily death , so the soul who knows God's ordinance rates it above all possible inner and outer torments , terrible though they may be , for this is a work of God who surpasses all that can be felt or imagined .

Moreover God when He occupies a soul , in however small a degree , keeps it wholly busied over His Majesty so that nothing else counts for it . Thus it loses all which is its own , and can of itself neither see nor speak nor know loss or pain . But , as I have already said clearly , it knows all in one instant when it leaves this life .

Finally and in conclusion , let us understand that God who is best and greatest causes all that is of man to be lost , and that Purgatory cleanses it away .

But how few seek and how many of these will find the way that leads to him ?

Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will end up finding. Knock, and it will be opened to you. Mt : 7, 7
Agnus