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severity of their punishment. So teach St. John Chrysostom, St.
Athanasius, and St. Augustine.... The reason for this is the law of the
justice of God. The souls of the lost are kept in prison by force and
against their will. The souls in Purgatory stay there willingly, for
they understand the just will of God and submit to it. This law,
however, can be sometimes dispensed with; and so St. Augustine holds it
to be probable that there are often true apparitions of the Holy Souls
by the permission of God.... It is true that, as a rule, these are
apparitions of souls, who, by a special decree of God, are suffering
their Purgatory somewhere in this world.... One thing, however, we must
note in these cases. When such a permission is given, the pain of the
soul is not interrupted. This is not only seen from the visions
themselves, but is what reason requires.

* * * * *

Here occurs the question whether the Holy Souls pray for us and can
gain anything for us by merit of congruity, or, at least, impetrate it
for us, as others prefer to say. Some have said that they do not thus
pray for us, because it is not fitting to their state, in that they are
debtors and, as it were, kept in prison for their debts; and also
because they do not see God, and so do not know what is done here. They
might know such things by special revelations, but revelations of this
kind are not due to their state. But surely their penal state does not
necessarily hinder the Holy Souls from praying for, and impetrating for
us. They are holy and dear to God; and they love us with charity,
remembering us, and knowing, at least in a general way, the dangers in
which we live; they understand also how greatly we need the help of
God: why, then, should they not be able to pray for us, even though in
another way they are paying to God their debt of punishment? For we
also in this life are debtors to God, and yet we pray for others....
Besides, we may well believe that the Holy Angels make revelations to
the souls in Purgatory about their relatives or friends still living on
this earth. They will do this for the consolation of the Holy Souls, or
that they may know what to ask for us in particular cases, or that they
may know of our prayers for them.


This Holy Soul, while still in the flesh, was placed in the purgatory
of the burning love of God, in whose flames she was purified from every
stain, so that when she passed from this life she might be ready to
enter the presence of God, her most sweet love. By means of that flame
of love she comprehended in her own soul the condition of the souls of
the faithful in Purgatory, where they are purified from the rust and
stain of sins, from which they have not been cleansed in this world.
And as in the purgatory of that divine flame she was united with the
divine love and satisfied with all that was accomplished in her, she
was enabled to comprehend the state of the souls in Purgatory, and thus
discoursed concerning it:

"As far as I can see, the souls in Purgatory can have no choice but be
there; this God has most justly ordained by His divine decree. They
cannot turn towards themselves and say, 'I have committed such and such
sins for which I deserve to remain here;' nor can they say, 'Would that
I had refrained from them, for then I should at this moment be in
Paradise;' nor again, 'This soul will be released before me;' or, 'I
shall be released before her.' 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 inspirations 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 therefrom 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.

"On the other hand, it is true that they suffer torments which no
tongue can describe nor any intelligence comprehend, unless it be
revealed by such a special grace as that which God has vouchsafed to
me, but which I am unable to explain. And this vision which God
revealed to me has never departed from my memory. I will describe it as
far as I am able, and they whose intellects our Lord will deign to open
will understand me.

* * * * *

"The source of all suffering is either original or actual sin. God
created the soul pure, simple, free from every stain, and with a
certain beatific instinct towards Himself. It is drawn aside from Him
by original sin, and when actual sin is afterwards added this withdraws
it still farther, and ever, as it removes from Him, its sinfulness
increases because its communication with God grows less and less.

* * * * *

"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.
Nevertheless, I will use one which occurs to me.

"Let us suppose that in the whole world there were but one loaf to
appease the hunger of every creature, and that the bare sight of it
would satisfy them. Now man, when in health, has by nature the instinct
for food, but if we can suppose him to abstain from it and neither die,
nor yet lose health and strength, his hunger would clearly become
increasingly urgent. In this case, if he knew that nothing but this
loaf would satisfy him, and that until he reached it his hunger could
not be appeased, he would suffer intolerable pain, which would increase
as his distance from the loaf diminished; but if he were sure that he
would never see it, his hell would be as complete as that of the damned
souls, who, hungering after God, have no hope of ever seeing the bread
of life. But the souls in Purgatory have an assured hope of seeing Him
and of being entirely satisfied; and therefore they endure all hunger
and suffer all pain until that moment when they enter into eternal
possession of this bread, which is Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Saviour,
and our Love.

* * * * *

"I will say, furthermore: I see that as far as God is concerned,
Paradise has no gates, but he who will may enter. For God is all mercy,
and His open arms are ever extended to receive us into His glory. But I
see that the divine essence is so pure - purer than the imagination can
conceive - that the soul, finding in itself the slightest imperfection,
would rather cast itself into a thousand hells than appear, so stained,
in the presence of the divine majesty. Knowing, then, that Purgatory
was intended for her cleansing, she throws herself therein, and finds
there that great mercy, the removal of her stains.

"The great importance of Purgatory, neither mind can conceive nor
tongue describe. I see only that its pains are as great as those of
hell; and yet I see that a soul, stained with the slightest fault,
receiving this mercy, counts the pains as nought in comparison with
this hindrance to her love. And I know that the greatest misery of the
souls in Purgatory is to behold in themselves aught that displeases
God, and to discover that, in spite of His goodness, they had consented
to it. And this is because, being in the state of grace, they see the
reality and the importance of the impediments which hinder their
approach to God.

* * * * *

"From that furnace of divine love I see rays of fire dart like burning
lamps towards the soul; and so violent and powerful are they that both
soul and body would be utterly destroyed, if that were possible. These
rays perform a double office; they purify and they annihilate.

"Consider gold: the oftener it is melted the more pure does it become;
continue to melt it and every imperfection is destroyed. This is the
effect of fire on all materials. The soul, however, cannot be
annihilated in God, but in herself she can, and the longer her
purification lasts the more perfectly does she die to herself, until at
length she remains purified in God.

"When gold has been completely freed from dross, no fire, however
great, has any further action on it, for nothing but its imperfections
can be consumed. So it is with the divine fire in the soul. God retains
her in these flames until every stain is burned away, and she is
brought to the highest perfection of which she is capable, each soul in
her own degree. And when this is accomplished, she rests wholly in God.
Nothing of herself remains, and God is her entire being. When He has
thus led her to Himself and purified her, she is no longer passible,
for nothing remains to be consumed. If, when thus refined, she should
again approach the fire she would feel no pain, for to her it has
become the fire of divine love, which is life eternal and which nothing

* * * * *

And thus this blessed Soul, illuminated by the divine ray, said: "Would
that I could utter so strong a cry that it would strike all men with
terror, and say to them: O wretched beings! why are you so blinded by
this world that you make, as you will find at the hour of death, no
provision for the great necessity that will then come upon you?

"You shelter yourselves beneath the hope of the mercy of God, which you
unceasingly exalt, not seeing that it is your resistance to His great
goodness which will be your condemnation. His goodness should constrain
you to His will, not encourage you to persevere in your own. Since His
justice is unfailing, it must needs be in some way fully satisfied.

"Have not the boldness to say: 'I will go to confession and gain a
plenary indulgence, and thus I shall be saved?' Remember that the full
confession and entire contrition which are requisite to gain a plenary
indulgence are not easily attained. Did you know how hardly they are
come by, you would tremble with fear and be more sure of losing than of
gaining them."


[Footnote 1: These extracts are purposely different from those quoted
by the learned author of "Purgatory Surveyed," in that portion of his
treatise herein comprised.]

ST. CYPRIAN [1] writes: "Our predecessors prudently advised that no
brother, departing this life should nominate any churchman his
executor; and should he do it, that no oblation should be made for him,
nor sacrifice offered for his repose; of which we have had a late
example, when no oblation was made, nor prayer, in his name, offered in
the Church." [2]

[Footnote 1: Ep., xlvi., p. 114.]

[Footnote 2: Cardinal Wiseman commenting upon this passage, says: "It
was considered, therefore, a severe punishment, that prayers and
sacrifices should not be offered up for those who had violated any of
the ecclesiastical laws." - _Lectures on the Catholic Church._
Lecture xi., p. 59.]

ORIGEN, who wrote in the same century as Cyprian, and some two hundred
years after Christ, speaks as follows, in language the most distinct,
upon our doctrine of Purgatory: "When we depart this life, if we take
with us virtues or vices, shall we receive reward for our virtues, and
shall those trespasses be forgiven to us which we knowingly committed;
or shall we be punished for our faults, and not receive the reward of
our virtues? Neither is true: because we shall suffer for our sins and
receive the reward of our virtues. For if on the foundation of Christ
you shall have built not only gold and silver and precious stones, but
also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall
be separated from the body? Would you enter into Heaven with your wood,
and hay, and stubble, to defile the Kingdom of God; or on account of
those encumbrances remain without, and receive no reward for your gold
and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains, then,
that you be committed to the fire, which shall consume the light
materials; for our God, to those who can comprehend heavenly things, is
called a _consuming fire_. But this fire consumes not the
creature, but what the creature has himself built - wood, and hay, and
stubble. It is manifest that, in the first place, the fire destroys the
wood of our transgressions, and then returns to us the reward of our
good works." [1]

[Footnote 1: Homil. xvi al. xii. in Jerem. T. iii. p. 231,232.]

ST. BASIL, or a contemporary author, thus writes, commenting on the
words of Isaiah: "Through the wrath of the Lord is the land burned; the
things which are earthly are made the food of a punishing fire; to the
end, that the soul may receive favor and be benefited." He continues:
"And the people shall be as the fuel of the fire." (_Ibid_.) This
is not a threat of extermination; but it denotes expurgation, [1]
according to the expression of the Apostles: "If any man's works burn,
he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by
fire." (1 Cor. iii. 15.) [2]

[Footnote 1: Cardinal Wiseman in commenting upon this passage, says:
"Now, mark well the word purgation here used. For it proves that our
very term of Purgatory is not modern in the Church." - _Lectures on
the Catholic Church_. Lecture xi., p. 60.]

[Footnote 2: Com. in C., ix. Isai. T. I., p. 554.]

The following is from ST. EPHREM, of Edessa: "My brethren, come to me,
and prepare me for my departure, for my strength is wholly gone. Go
along with me in psalms and in your prayers; and please constantly to
make oblations for me. When the thirtieth day [1] shall be completed,
then remember me: for the dead are helped by the offerings of the
living. If also the sons of Mathathias, who celebrated their feasts in
figures only, could cleanse those from guilt by their offerings who
fell in battle, how much more shall the priests of Christ aid the dead
by their oblations and prayers?" [2]

[Footnote 1: "The very day," says Cardinal Wiseman, "observed by the
Catholic Church with peculiar solemnity, in praying and observing Mass
for the dead". Archbishop Corrigan, of New York, in announcing to the
clergy of his diocese the death of His Eminence the late Cardinal
McCloskey, speaks as follows: "The reverend rectors are also requested
to have solemn services for the soul of our late beloved chief pastor,
on the _seventh_ and _thirtieth_ day."]

[Footnote 2: In Testament. T. ii., p. 334. p. 371, Edit. Oxen.]

Thus speaks ST. GREGORY of Nyssa: "In the present life, God allows man
to remain subject to what himself has chosen; that, having tasted of
the evil which he desired, and learned by experience how bad an
exchange has been made, he might feel an ardent wish to lay down the
load of those vices and inclinations, which are contrary to reason; and
thus, in this life, being renovated by prayers and the pursuit of
wisdom, or, in the next, being expiated by the purging fire, he might
recover the state of happiness which he had lost.... When he has
quitted his body, and the difference between virtue and vice is known,
he cannot be admitted to approach the Divinity till the purging fire
shall have expiated the stains with which his soul was infected. The
same fire, in others, will cancel the corruption of matter and the
propensity to evil." [1]

[Footnote 1: Orat. de Defunctis. T. ii., p. 1066, 1067, 1068.]

ST. CYRIL of Jerusalem: "Then" (in the Liturgy of the Church) "we pray
for the holy Fathers and Bishops that are dead; and, in short, for all
those who are departed this life in our communion; believing that the
souls of those, for whom the prayers, are offered, receive very great
relief while this holy and tremendous victim lies upon the altar." [1]

[Footnote 1: Catech. Mystag., V. N., ix., x., p. 328.]

ST. EPIPHANIUS writes: "There is nothing more opportune, nothing more
to be admired, than the rite which directs the names of the dead to be
mentioned. They are aided by the prayer that is offered for them,
though it may not cancel all their faults. We mention both the just and
sinners, in order that for the latter we may obtain mercy." [1]

[Footnote 1: Haer. IV. Lib. LXXV., T. i., p. 911.]

ST. AUGUSTINE speaks as follows: "The prayers of the Church, or of good
persons, are heard in favor of those Christians who departed this life
not so bad as to be deemed unworthy of mercy, nor so good as to be
entitled to immediate happiness. So also, at the resurrection of the
dead, there will some be found, to whom mercy will be imparted, having
gone through these pains, to which the spirits of the dead are liable.
Otherwise it would not have been said of some with truth, that their
sin shall not be forgiven, neither in this world nor in the world to
come (Matt. xii., 32) unless some sins were remitted in the next
world." [1]

[Footnote 1: De Civit. Dei., Lib. XX, c. xxiv., p. 492.]

In another passage he comments on the words of St. Paul: "If they had
built _gold_ and _silver_ and _precious stones,_ they would be secure
from both fires; not only from that in which the wicked shall be
punished for ever, but likewise from that fire which will purify
those who shall be saved by fire. But because it is said _he shall be
saved,_ that fire is thought lightly of; though the suffering will be
more grievous than anything man can undergo in this life."

Let us hear ST. JEROME: [1] "As we believe the torments of the devil,
and of those wicked men who said in their hearts _there is no
God,_ to be eternal, so, in regard to those sinners who have not
denied their faith, and whose works will be proved and purged by fire,
we conclude that the sentence of the Judge will be tempered by mercy."

[Footnote 1: Comment. in c. xv., Isai., T. ii., p. 492.]

St. Jerome thus speaks in his letter to Paula, concerning the death and
burial of her mother, Eustochium: "From henceforward there were no
wailings nor lamentations as are usual amongst men of this world, but
the swarms of those present resounded with psalms in various tongues.
And being removed by the hands of the bishops, and by those placing
their shoulders under the bier, while other pontiffs were carrying
lamps and wax tapers, and others led the choirs of psalmodists, she was
laid in the middle of the church of the cave of the Saviour.... Psalms
resounded in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Syriac tongues, not only
during the three days intervening until she was laid under the church
and near the cave of the Lord, but through the entire week."

ST. AMBROSE has many passages throughout his works, as Dr. Wiseman
remarks. Thus he quotes St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians
(iii., 5): "'If any man's works burn he shall suffer loss; but he shall
be saved, yet so as by fire.' He will be saved, the Apostle said,
because his substance shall remain, while his bad doctrine shall
perish. Therefore, he said, yet so as by fife, in order that his
salvation be not understood to be without pain. He shows that he shall
be saved indeed, but he shall undergo the pain of fire, and be thus
purified, not like the unbelieving and wicked man who shall be punished
in everlasting fire." [1]

[Footnote 1: Comment. in I Ep. ad Cor., T. ii.; in App, p. 122.]

The following is from his funeral oration on the Emperor Theodosius:
"Lately we deplored together his death, and now, while Prince Honorius
is present before our altars, we celebrate the fortieth day. Some
observe the third and the thirtieth, others the seventh and the
fortieth. Give, O Lord, rest to Thy servant Theodosius, that rest which
Thou hast prepared for Thy Saints. May his soul thither tend, whence it
came, where it cannot feel the sting of death, where it will learn that
death is the termination, not of nature, but of sin. I loved him,
therefore will I follow him to the land of the living; I will not leave
him, till, by my prayers and lamentation, he shall be admitted to the
holy mount of the Lord to which his deserts call him." [1]

[Footnote 1: De obitu. Theodosii. Ibid., pp. 1197-8; 1207-8.]

He thus concludes his letter to ST. FAUSTINUS on the death of his
sister: "Therefore I consider her not so much to be deplored as to be
followed by our prayers, nor do I think that her soul should be
saddened with tears, but rather commended to the Lord in oblations. For
our flesh cannot be perpetual or lasting; it must necessarily fall in
order that it may rise again - it must be dissolved in order that it may
rest, and that there may be some end of sin." [1]

[Footnote 1: St. Ambr., p. 39, ad Faustini, t. 2, p 944, ed. Ben.]

In his funeral oration upon his brother Satyrus, he cries out: "To Thee
now, O omnipotent God, I commend this innocent soul, - to Thee I offer
my victim. Accept graciously and serenely the gift of the brother - the
sacrifice of the priest."

[Footnote 1: De excessu frateris satyri, No. 80, p. 1135.]

In his discourse on the deceased Emperor Valentinian the Younger,
murdered in 392: "Give the holy mysteries to the dead. Let us, with
pious earnestness, beg repose for his soul. Lift up your hands with me,
O people, that at least by this duty we may make some return for his

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