Saturday, July 31, 2010


No one talks about Hell anymore. Reflections on Hell can actually be strengthening for the soul, in my experience anyway. In Preparation for Death, St. Alphonsus Liguori's vivid descriptions of the torments of hell make any trial of this world seem small and endurable. Pondering on eternity, and saying the words "forever and ever and ever," as did St. Teresa of Avila, has straightened out many a life. To quote from a book on the Spiritual Excercises of St. Ignatius:
On Hell.
First Point.
As regards the punishment of the body, the sinner who is lost will suffer in his senses, 1, all the pains which are possible to humanity. He will suffer them all; and all at one and the same time ; and he shall suffer not only those pains of which we have knowledge, but all possible pains together—" every sorrow shall fall upon him " (a). What horror ! On the authority of Galen, the human head alone may become the subject of several thousand different pains ; and the damned wretch shall be tortured by all of them at the same moment. The pains are innumerable which may attack, from natural causes, or through human agency, the eyes, the ears, the heart, the hands, the feet, and other portions of the human body; and yet, in hell, all these will torture the sinner at one and the same time. Yes ! All of them—as many as the ferocity of tyrants, the cruelty of executioners, and the rage of savages have been able to invent and put in practice—all of them shall wreak vengeance on the sinner, and shall do so united!
2. And the sinner shall suffer all these pains in a most intense' degree; though still a finite one, and proportioned to his sins. S. Thomas assures us that the least degree of the pain of hell surpasses in intensity all the torments endured by the martyrs, all the possible agonies of sickness, and the most severe punishment ever inflicted on criminals, even though all these were put together. How intense, then, how inconceivably great must be the highest degree of the torments of hell. Ah ! many a time a toothache is sufficient to madden us, and drive us into frenzy. "What shall it be, then, to be compelled to endure for ever those innumerable, most acute, and most intense tortures, which shall be rained down for ever upon the damned!
3. And this shall last for ever. Alas ! for ever !— without ever a change, ever a respite, ever relief, ever a comfort of any kind; but eternally, continuously, despairingly, mercilessly. In this present life, every pain, anguish of whatever kind is tempered by some intervals of relief; but within that abyss of punishment the torture is never, never relaxed. Ah! we would deem it an unsufferable punishment, were we compelled to pass even a single night in a most luxurious bed without being able to move: what shall it be, then, to find ourselves chained immovable in that deep abyss, amid such terrible torments ! to find ourselves, after the lapse of a thousand centuries, tortured by the same intense pains which devoured our very vitals on our first entry into that furnace ! to find that neither the lapse of time, nor the habit of suffering brings the slightest alleviation of the agonies which we endure ! O mortals!—"which of you can dwell with devouring fire? which of you can dwell with everlasting burnings?"

Who then will be saved? Michael Liccione discusses the question.


spanishbolero said...

I have also noticed that the subject of Hell has become taboo.

Why is this? Why are we not shouting out the warnings regarding the eternal worlds that await us?? Why would anyone reject the free gift of salvation offered by Christ our Lord.

Jesus stands at the door and knocks.

You, precious soul who reads this: Won't you ask Jesus into your heart now? Won't you ask him to wash away your sin? Why would you not choose to escape Hell? Let Jesus embrace you and heal your heart.


Mary333 said...

I was just discussing this with my sister the other day. I have not heard any mention of hell by a priest since I was a child. Oh, and I bet satan is laughing in glee over this !

Julygirl said...

The concept of Hell seems to be viewed in the same way as Captiol Punishment in contemporary society, an idea whose time has past and no one takes seriously.

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