"The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."

St Philip Neri

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."

St Philip Neri

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 St Catherine of Genoa   (1447 - 1510)

 

TREATISE ON PURGATORY (cont)

 

by St Catherine of Genoa

The divine fire which St. Catherine experienced in herself, made her comprehend the state of souls in purgatory, and that they are contented there although in torment.
 

4. The difference between the state of the souls in hell and that of those in purgatory.


"It is evident that the revolt of man's will from that of God constitutes sin, and while that revolt continues, man's guilt remains. Those, therefore, that are in hell, having passed from this life with perverse wills, their guilt is not remitted, nor can it be, since they are no longer capable of change. When this life is ended, the soul remains forever confirmed either in good or evil according as she has here determined. As it is written: Where I shall find thee, that is, at the hour of death, with the will either fixed on sin or repenting of it, there I will judge thee.

"From this judgment there is no appeal, for after death the freedom of the will can never return, but the will is confirmed in that state in which it is found at death. The souls in hell, having been found at that hour with the will to sin, have the guilt and the punishment always with them, and although this punishment is not so great as they deserve, yet it is eternal. Those in purgatory, on the other hand, suffer the penalty only, for their guilt was cancelled at death, when they were found hating their sins and penitent for having offended the divine goodness. And this penalty has an end, for the term of it is ever approaching. O misery beyond all misery, and the greater because in his blindness man regards it not!

"The punishment of the damned is not, it is true, infinite in degree, for the all lovely goodness of God shines even into hell. He who dies in mortal sin merits infinite woe for an infinite duration; but the mercy of God has made the time only infinite, and mitigated the intensity of the pain. In justice he might have inflicted much greater punishment than he has done.

"Oh, what peril attaches to sin willfully committed! For it is so difficult for man to bring himself to penance, and without penitence guilt remains and will ever remain, so long as man retains unchanged the will to sin, or is intent upon committing it.