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Life and Doctrine of Saint Catherine of Genoa
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CHAPTER IX

How God and the soul reciprocally regard each other in purgatory.—The saint confesses that she has no words to express these things.

“All these things that I have said, in comparison with those which have been represented to my mind (as far as I have been able to comprehend them in this life), are of such magnitude that every idea, every word, every feeling, every imagination, all the justice and all the truth that can be said of them, seem false and worthless, and I remain confounded at the impossibility of finding words to describe them.

“I behold such a great conformity between God and the soul, that when he finds her pure as when his divine majesty first created her he gives her an attractive force of ardent love which would annihilate her if she were not immortal. He so transforms her into himself that, forgetting all, she no longer sees aught beside him; and he continues to draw her toward him, inflames her with love, and never leaves her until he has brought her to that state from whence she first came forth, that is, to the perfect purity in which she was created.

“When the soul beholds within herself the amorous flame by which she is drawn toward her sweet Master and her God, the burning heat of love overpowers her and she melts. Then, in that divine light she sees how God, by his great care and constant providence, never ceases to attract her to her last perfection, and that he does so through pure love alone. She sees, too, that she herself, clogged by sin, cannot follow that attraction toward God, that is, that reconciling glance which he casts upon her that he may draw her to himself. Moreover, a comprehension of that great misery, which it is to be hindered from gazing upon the light of God, is added to the instinctive desire of the soul to be wholly free to yield herself to that unifying flame. I repeat, it is the view of all these things which causes the pain of the suffering souls in purgatory, not that they esteem their pains as great (cruel thought they be), but they count as far worse that opposition which they find in themselves to the will of that God whom they behold burning for them with so ardent and so pure a love.

“This love, with its unifying regard, is ever drawing these souls, as if it had no other thing to do; and when the soul beholds this, if she could find a yet more painful purgatory in which she could be more quickly cleansed, she would plunge at once therein, impelled by the burning, mutual love between herself and God.

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