holy quotations for purification of the soul
for reflection and meditation
'What have we done to deserve to be born in the Catholic religion, while so many souls are every day lost in other religions?
What have we done to deserve to be baptised, while so many little children in France, as well as in China and America, die without Baptism?
What have we done to deserve the pardon of all the sins that we commit after the age of reason, while so many are deprived of the Sacrament of Penance?'
St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars
'Whoever says that infants are alive in Christ even when they depart this life without being baptized is really both opposing the Apostolic preaching and condemning the whole Church which runs hastily with infants to the baptismal font because it is believed without any doubt that otherwise these infants cannot possibly be alive in Christ.'
St. Augustine, Father & Doctor of the Church
'If "Christ died on our account in accordance with the Scriptures" (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3), and we do not "live for ourselves", but "for Him who died and rose" on our account (2 Cor. 5:15), it is clear that we are debtors to Christ to serve Him till our death.
How then can we regard sonship as something which is our due?'
St. Mark the Ascetic
'Before holy baptism, grace encourages the soul towards good from the outside, while Satan lurks in its depths, trying to block all the intellect's ways of approach to the divine. But from the moment that we are reborn through baptism, the demon is outside, grace is within.
Thus, whereas before baptism error ruled the soul, after baptism truth rules it.
Nevertheless, even after baptism Satan still acts on the soul, often, indeed, to a greater degree than before. This is not because he is present in the soul together with grace; on the contrary, it is because he uses the body's humors to befog the intellect with the delight of mindless pleasures. God allows him to do this, so that a man, after passing through a trial of storm and fire, may come in the end to the full enjoyment of divine blessings. For it is written: "We went through fire and water, and Thou hast brought us out into a place where the soul is refreshed" (Ps. 66.12).'
St. Diadochos of Photiki
'For there be some that are withdrawn from the present light, before they attain to shew forth the good or evil deserts of an active life. And whereas the Sacraments of salvation do not free them from the sin of their birth, at the same time that here they never did aright by their own act; there they are brought to torment. And these have one wound, viz. to be born in corruption, and another, to die in the flesh. But forasmuch as after death there also follows, death eternal, by a secret and righteous judgment "wounds are multiplied to them without cause." For they even receive everlasting torments, who never sinned by their own will.
And hence it is written, Even the infant of a single day is not pure in His sight upon earth.
Hence "Truth" says by His own lips, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Hence Paul says, We were by nature the children of wrath even as others. He then that adding nothing of his own is ruined by the guilt of birth alone, how stands it with such an one at the last account, as far as the calculation of human sense goes, but that he is "wounded without cause?" And yet in the strict account of God it is but just that the stock of mortality, like an unfruitful tree, should preserve in the branches that bitterness which it drew from the root. Therefore he says, For He shall break me with a tempest, and multiply my wounds without cause.
As if reviewing the woes of mankind he said in plain words; "With what sort of visitation does the strict Judge mercilessly slay those, whom the guilt of their own deeds condemns, if He smites for all eternity even those, whom the guilt of deliberate choice does not impeach?"'
Pope St. Gregory the Great, Father & Doctor of the Church
'We see sometimes twins, of whom one is born alive and receives Baptism, the other in his birth loses his temporal life, before being regenerated to the eternal, and consequently the one is heir of heaven, the other is deprived of the inheritance.'
St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church
'If you want to be a Catholic do not believe, do not say, do not teach that infants carried off by death before being baptized can obtain the remission of original sin.'
St. Augustine, Father & Doctor of the Church
'For children, however the effect of baptism is that they are washed only from original sin that they contracted from Adam through their first birth. If they should have died before they are regenerated, without doubt they are separated from the kingdom of Christ, our savior testifying: "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." [John 3:5]'
St. Isidore of Seville, Father & Doctor of the Church
'The idea that infants can be granted the rewards of eternal life without even the grace of baptism is utterly foolish.'
Pope St. Innocent I
'The limbo of the Fathers and the limbo of children, without any doubt, differ as to the quality of punishment or reward.
For children have no hope of the blessed life, as the Fathers in limbo had, in whom, moreover, shone forth the light of faith and grace. But as regards their situation, there is reason to believe that the place of both is the same; except that the limbo of the Fathers is placed higher than the limbo of children, just as we have stated in reference to limbo and hell.'
St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
'All the strength of the child's body comes, of course, from the seed of its father and mother; however, if it is conceived without due strength, because of some weakness of its father or mother, it dies quickly. As a result of the negligence or carelessness of the parents as well as of my divine justice, many times it happens that what was joined together comes apart quickly.
Yet a soul is not brought to the harshest punishment for this reason, however little time it had for giving life to the body, but, rather, it comes to the mercy that is known to me.
Just as the sun shining into a house is not seen as it is in its beauty - only those who look into the sky see its rays - so too the souls of such children, though they do not see my face for lack of baptism, are nevertheless closer to my mercy than to punishment, but not in the same way as my elect.'
The Lord Jesus Christ, from 'The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden'
'The common teaching of the scholastic theologians is the within the earth there are four inner chambers: one for the damned, another for those being purged of sin, a third for those infants who have died without receiving Baptism, and a fourth which is now empty but once held those just men who died before the passion of Christ.'
St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church
'And you when you were dead by your offenses and sins, wherein sometime you walked according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of diffidence, in whom also we all conversed sometime in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath as also the rest:
But God (which is rich in mercy) for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead by sins, quickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved,) and raised us up with him, and hath made us sit with him in the celestials in Christ Jesus. That he might show in the worlds succeeding, the abundant riches of his grace, in bounty upon us in Christ Jesus.'
'For it was in fierce anger that the Angels were punished, or, rather, were condemned; but it was only a milder degree of displeasure that was felt by man. For in the midst of His wrath God remembered mercy. Wherefore the children of men are called to this day "children of wrath", but not "of fierce anger." If I were not born in the former state, I should not need a New Birth through Baptism; but if I were born in the latter state, either a New Birth would be unattainable to me or would profit me nothing if attained. Would you behold a child of fierce anger? If you see, "Satan as lightning fall from heaven," that is to say, precipitated thence by the vehemence of the fierce anger of God, then you have learned what that anger is. Then He is not mindful of His mercy, for in His wrath He will indeed remember mercy; but it is not so when His fierce wrath burns as fire.
Woe to the children of unbelief! to those, I mean, who, being descendants of Adam, have been born children of wrath, and have changed that wrath into fierce anger against themselves by their diabolic obstinacy; the rod into a club, yea, rather into the hammer of destruction. For they treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. ii. 5). Wrath treasured up, what is it but fierce anger? They have committed the sin of the devil, and are stricken with the same judgment as he.
Woe also, though in a less terrible degree, to those who, having been born children of wrath, have not awaited the obtaining of the New Birth by grace. For having died in the same state in which they were born, children of wrath they shall remain. I say 'of wrath,' not 'of fierce anger,' because it is most piously believed, and the hopes and sympathies of humanity lead us to expect, that their penalties are of a far milder kind, since the infection of nature in them comes wholly from others.'
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church
'Some of the condemned are greater sinners, others lesser. The conditions for their punishment and retribution are set up accordingly.
Although all the condemned are enclosed in darkness, not all of them experience it in one and the same way. Darkness differs from darkness, horror from horror, hell-fire from hell-fire. God's rule is one of justice and mercy everywhere, even in hell. Thus, those who have sinned deliberately have their particular punishment, those who have sinned out of weakness have a different one, those who are being held only because of the damage done by original sin have a different one again.
While the torment of these latter consists in the lack of the beatific vision and of the light of the elect, still they come close to mercy and joy in the sense that they do not experience horrible punishments, since they bear no effects of any evil deeds of their own doing.
Otherwise, if God did not ordain the number and limit of the punishments, the devil would never show any limits in tormenting them.'
Our Lady, to St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'
'By reason of my great love I give the kingdom of heaven to all of the baptized who die before reaching the age of discretion. As it is written: It has pleased my Father to give the kingdom of heaven to such as these. By reason of my tender love, I even show mercy to the infants of pagans.
If any of them die before reaching the age of discretion, given that they cannot come to know me face to face, they go instead to a place that it is not permitted for you to know but where they will live without suffering. Those who have advanced from the one road reach those two roads, that is, the age of discretion between good and evil. It is then in their power to choose what pleases them most. Their reward will follow the inclination of their will, since by that time they know how to read the sign written at the crossroads telling them that it is better to experience a little pain at the start and joy ready and waiting for them than experience joy at the start and pain at the end.'
Our Lord, to St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'
'The other parts of hell have also the more particular names of purgatory and limbo. After the final judgment heaven and hell only are to be inhabited, since purgatory shall become unnecessary and since even the infants shall be transported to another dwelling place.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda