Stories About Purgatory, And What They Reveal: 30 Days for the Holy Souls, compiled from traditional sources by an Ursuline nun in Ireland, the book goes into detail on the levels of suffering in the afterlife, how we need to pray, how we need to prepare, a truly Catholic and consoling and yet serious book with true accounts! CLICK HERE
An untold story:
SISTER OF THÉRÈSE SAID SAINT EXPERIENCED 'ECSTASY' OVER PASSAGES IN OBSCURE BOOK
It was a while back that we had a series of articles about an extraordinary book, The End of the Present World (and the Mysteries of the Future Life), by a French priest, Father Charles Arminjon, which caused somewhat of a sensation.
The reason: this rare volume, which dates to the 19th century, had never been printed before in English and had been endorsed -- strongly -- by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who is a doctor of the Church, as well as a great saint.
We are informed this week by the translator, Susan Conroy -- who tracked down a copy of the book after long years of searching and brought it to the U.S. -- that aside from the comment by St. Thérèse in the book's preface (which we have already detailed), the Little Flower had other things to say about the remarkable book, and according to her sister, actually experienced ecstasy through the volume.
"I wanted to share with you that Saint Thérèse of Lisieux made more references to Father Arminjon’s book than people realize," Susan wrote us this week.
"As you know, she exclaimed in her famous autobiography that 'reading this was one of the greatest graces of my life.'"
The saint also wrote: "I read it at the window of my study, and the impression I received from it is too intimate and too sweet for me to express. All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged into my soul a happiness not of this earth."
It taught her that the sacrifices in this life are almost nothing compared with the rewards that await us in everlasting life, she said. She mentioned the book in her own classic work, The Story of a Soul.
"When thinking of the torments which will be the lot of Christians at the time of the Anti-Christ, I feel my heart leap with joy and I would that these torments be reserved for me," she wrote in reference to the volume, and as we quoted her.
As it turns out, however, the impression went beyond even that.
The saint took the time in personal correspondence to copy whole extracts from The End, notes Conroy -- and revealed that the excerpts were still fresh in her heart and mind months and even years later, "as she made reference to them in letters to her loved ones."
As a scholar named Monsignor Andres Combes pointed out, "Thérèse took the trouble to write down [more than once!] the phrase which she had read enthusiastically from Father Arminjon’s pen, as a guarantee to us that, at a certain time, she really did make it the guiding theme of her interior life, the foundation of her hope and the stimulus for all her sacrifices." St. Thérèse first read the book in May of 1887, when she was but 14.
As Susan further informs us, "A full decade later, in 1897, as Thérèse was nearing the end of her life on earth, she reminisced about her experiences when she and her sister were reading and discussing these same conferences by Father Arminjon. They both believed that they truly experienced spiritual ecstasy while pondering and discussing what Heaven would be like after reading the 7th Conference of The End of the Present World on the Beatific Vision."
Recalled her sister Celine, who was also a nun, remarkably, about the references to Father Arminjon's book -- a single copy of which remained when Conroy pursued it: "What Thérèse wrote about them in the Story of a Soul not only does not appear exaggerated, but seems rather an understatement. We really did live through hours of heavenly consolation. What words could describe them? Often we would begin by repeating, with unimaginable fervor, the words... 'Lord! To suffer and be despised for You.' Yes, to this we aspired with all our strength.
"Then we would think of Heaven, and repeat to one another the words of Father Arminjon: 'And the grateful God calls out: Now it is My turn.' Then, as it were, we left the earth for eternal life. As our saint wrote, faith and hope disappeared, and we possessed God in love. After so many years, I can declare that it was not a flash in the pan or a passing enthusiasm, but an irresistible impulse towards God. It seems to me that we were no longer in this world. It was ecstasy."
Added St. Thérèse's sister:
"This ecstasy did not leave us unconscious, nor raise us above the ground.
"I can still see Therese clasping my hands, I can see her lovely eyes filled with tears. It was the ecstasy of Saint Augustine and Saint Monica in Ostia."
For this reason, we are now going to discuss the second half of the book.
The first half dealt with the end of the world, the Second Coming, and the anti-christ.
But what about Heaven, purgatory, and hell (especially Heaven)?
The book that St. Thérèse loved so much -- that brought her to ecstasy -- had much to say on that, including some truly unusual perspectives.
[next: what Father Arminjon wrote about hell]
[resources: The End of the Present World (and the Mysteries of the Future Life and The Story of a Soul
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