Sunday, 9 September 2012

Teresa Higginson's experience of the fires of purgatory Part I

From the letters to Fr. Edward Powell

Bootle, March 4th 1883

In the Holy Name of Jesus and in obedience I write of that fire which seems to burn me so excessively and which it has pleased our dear Blessed Lord I should experience.  It seems to me to be in the very centre of the soul and to be a liquid fire, or at least it seems to melt with its heat even the body.  I know that you will say at once that such a thing cannot be, nor do I say that it actually takes place, but that is the best explanation of that which I feel, for it seems to me through every pore of the body the fire evaporates.  And this fire is I feel is of great advantage to the soul, for it breaks every tie which binds the will and the affections to the earth.  It gives a steady clear light to see all things as they are in God, and although the agony is great which it causes, yet the soul is consumed for a desire for it, for the more we burn the more we understand of God's infinite and holy purity.  O, my divine Spouse, I beg of Thee to burn me ever more and more...

The fire of which I was writing is not the same as that fire of divine love of which I have before written, though I think it is something of that nature, though in this fire we learn more and in it the flame of love seems to rise higher and to be more perfect.  These two fires are very different to the wrath of God or that fire of divine justice into which God draws the soul at times.  Oh dear Rev. Father, I feel such a dreadful fear of that which I know is before me.  Oh pray our dear beloved Lord Jesus to have mercy on us through His Precious Blood.  I know this will be the hardest Lent I have yet had, and so feel I have good reason to fear.

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