Garrigou-Lagrange’s wonderful little book, Everlasting Life, continues to impress me. His appreciation of St. Catherine of Genoa is immense, so immense that he gives a chapter by chapter summary of her classical text on Purgatory. Her life’s story is also a wonder, a wonder of early zeal, slackness leading to a somewhat worldly life, and a deep and lasting conversion, a conversion which won over her violent and evil husband.
Garrigou-Lagrange brings up these stories of heroic saints, both classical saints who are canonized and also the anecdotal saints whom he encountered in his priestly ministry. All the better to spur on our own zeal, our own desire to be with Christ, leaving behind the rubbish of yesterday, the rubbish of the world.
He cites from chap. 17 of Catherine these marvelous words of exhortation, a true goad for us to prepare for the one life that lasts, the one foundation that endures, the one house that cannot fall, BEING IN GOD:
O WRETCHED CREATURES, WHY SO BLINDLY ATTACHED TO THINGS THAT PASS? WHY NOT MAKE PROVISION FOR THE FUTURE? YOU SAY PERHAPS ‘I WILL GO TO CONFESSION, I WILL GAIN A PLENARY INDULGENCE, I WILL BE SAVED.’ BUT REMEMBER THAT THE ADEQUATE CONFESSION AND THE PERFECT CONTRITION, REQUIRED FOR GAINING A PLENARY INDULGENCE, ARE NOT EASILY ATTAINED. (P. 193)