CHAPTER X

How God uses Purgatory to make the soul wholly pure. The soul
acquires in Purgatory a purity so great that were it well for it
still to stay there after it had been purged of sin, it would no
longer suffer.

I see, too, certain rays and shafts of light which go out from that divine
love towards the soul and are penetrating and strong enough to seem as
though they must destroy not only the body but the soul too, were that
possible. Two works are wrought by these rays, the first purification and
the second destruction.

Look at gold: the more you melt it, the better it becomes; you could melt
it until you had destroyed in it every imperfection. Thus does fire work on
material things. The soul cannot be destroyed in so far as it is in God,
but in so far as it is in itself it can be destroyed; the more it is
purified, the more is self destroyed within it, until at last it is pure in
God.

When gold has been purified up to twenty-four carats, it can no longer be
consumed by any fire; not gold itself but only dross can be burnt away.
Thus the divine fire works in the soul: God holds the soul in the fire
until its every imperfection is burnt away and it is brought to perfection,
as it were to the purity of twenty-four carats, each soul however according
to its own degree. When the soul has been purified it stays wholly in God,
having nothing of self in it; its being is in God who has led this cleansed
soul to Himself; it can suffer no more for nothing is left in it to be
burnt away; were it held in the fire when it has thus been cleansed, it
would feel no pain. Rather the fire of divine love would be to it like
eternal life and in no way contrary to it.

 

CHAPTER XI

Of the desire of souls in Purgatory to be wholly cleansed of the
stains of their sins. The wisdom of God who suddenly hides their
faults from these souls.

The soul was created as well conditioned as it is capable of being for
reaching perfection if it live as God has ordained and do not foul itself
with any stain of sin. But having fouled itself by original sin, it loses
its gifts and graces and lies dead, nor can it rise again save by God’s
means. And when God, by baptism, has raised it from the dead, it is still
prone to evil, inclining and being led to actual sin unless it resist. And
thus it dies again.

Then God by another special grace raises it again, yet it stays so sullied
and so turned to self that all the divine workings of which we have spoken
are needed to recall it to its first state in which God created it; without
them it could never get back thither. And when the soul finds itself on the
road back to its first state, its need to be transformed in God kindles in
it a fire so great that this is its Purgatory. Not that it can look upon
this as Purgatory, but its instinct to God, aflame and thwarted, makes
Purgatory.

A last act of love is done by God without help from man. So many hidden
imperfections are in the soul that, did it see them, it would live in
despair. But in the state of which we have spoken they are all burnt away,
and only when they have gone does God shew them to the soul, so that it may
see that divine working which kindles the fire of love in which its
imperfections have been burnt away.

 

CHAPTER XII

How suffering in Purgatory is coupled with joy.

Know that what man deems perfection in himself is in God’s sight faulty,
for all the things a man does which he sees or feels or means or wills or
remembers to have a perfect seeming are wholly fouled and sullied unless he
acknowledge them to be from God. If a work is to be perfect it must be
wrought in us but not chiefly by us, for God’s works must be done in Him
and not wrought chiefly by man.

Such works are those last wrought in us by God of His pure and clean love,
by Him alone without merit of ours, and so penetrating are they and such
fire do they kindle in the soul, that the body which wraps it seems to be
consumed as in a furnace never to be quenched until death. It is true that
love for God which fills the soul to overflowing, gives it, so I see it, a
happiness beyond what can be told, but this happiness takes not one pang
from the pain of the souls in Purgatory. Rather the love of these souls,
finding itself hindered, causes their pain; and the more perfect is the
love of which God has made them capable, the greater is their pain.

So that the souls in Purgatory enjoy the greatest happiness and endure the
greatest pain; the one does not hinder the other.

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