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Hell – Pain of Sense

"Then the Judge will say to them that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into
everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels." -- (Matt 25:41.)

St. Ingnatius now wants us to meditate on hell and the grave reality of its torments. “With the
eyes of the imagination observe the length, width and depth of hell.”

All those who die in personal mortal sin, as enemies of God, and unworthy of eternal life, will be
severely punished by God after death.

Hell Exists –

It is of faith (de fide) that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Our Faith teaches
that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to
condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God. With
these principles in mind, I don’t hesitate to say that to think and speak of hell is one of the
greatest acts of charity we can perform towards ourselves and our neighbor (spiritual work of
mercy). This reality of Hell is so constantly mention by Our Lord. He speaks far more often
about Hell than He does about heaven since this is precisely what He came to save us from. This
is the reason for which we call Him “Savior”. He saved us by His redemption from the eternal
torments of the everlasting fires of Hell to which we would have been all destined had it not been
for his incarnation and redemption.

Our Lady most recently at Fatima came to warn us about the fires of Hell. She as an act of
motherly love showed the three Children Hell. They all responded that if She had not promised
them eternal salvation they would surely have died of freight. And yet they spent the rest of their
days in mortification and penance in order to save their own souls and those of sinners from
eternal damnation in Hell.

St. Padre Pio wants retorted to a man who said “I don’t believe in Hell”, that “You will when you
get there!”

St. Theresa of Avilia in her works recalls that one of the greatest graces she was given by God
was to see the place in Hell that the devil had prepared for her. It made her think of the
consequences of sin and real purpose for this life. Yes, if anything I hope this meditation should
allow you to think about purpose of this life so that you can put all things in the perspective of
eternity. St. Alphonsus says on this “If the soul be lost all is lost, if the soul is saved all is saved.”
Since all that matters is that we keep our end in view.

The great saints of the desert who we often read about often left all things to lead a life poverty,
humility and prayer in order to obtain heaven and avoid the fires of Hell. How many saints are
now in Heaven because they meditated on the awful truth of Hell? We can be sure that there are
quite a few.
Hell is indeed real, it a place in creation. As Our Lord said it is a place that was created originally
for the devil and His angels (those that followed in the rebellion). When speaking of Hell Our
Lord seems to indicate that it is in the centre of the earth. A great number of the Church Fathers
seem to indicate the same (Expound on this point).

Meditation – Mental representation

Imagine that you are standing before the judgment seat of God and you here Him read out with a
dreadful expression “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared
for the devil and his angels." – What words – What a sentence.
Imagine you are lead by your guardian angel to that place of eternal torments.
As you are lead forth all begins to grow dark. You are taken to the summit of a high mountain.
Beneath you is a deep valley, and the earth opens so that with your gaze you can see hell in the
cavity of it. Picture it as a prison situated in the center of the earth, many leagues down, all full
of fire, hemmed in so impenetrably that for all eternity not even the smoke can escape.

The Pains -

First, the fire is all-extensive and tortures the whole body and the whole soul. A damned person
lies in hell forever in the same spot which he was assigned by divine justice, without being able
to move, as a prisoner in stocks.
The fire in which he is totally enveloped, as a fish in water, burns around him, on his left, his
right, above and below. His head, his breast, his shoulders, his arms, his hands, and his feet are all
penetrated with fire, so that he completely resembles a glowing hot piece of iron which has just
been withdrawn from an oven. The roof beneath which the damned person dwells is fire; the food
he takes is fire; the drink he tastes is fire; the air he breathes is fire; whatever he sees and touches
is all fire....
But this fire is not merely outside him; it also passes within the condemned person. It penetrates
his brain, his teeth, his tongue, his throat, his liver, his lungs, his bowels, his belly his heart, his
veins, his nerves, his bones, even to the marrow, and even his blood.
"In hell," according to St. Gregory the Great, "there will be a fire that cannot be put out, a worm
which cannot die, a stench one cannot bear, a darkness one can feel, a scourging by savage hands,
with those present despairing of anything good."

A most dreadful fact is that by the divine power this fire goes so far as to work on the very
faculties of the soul, burning them and tormenting them as though the fire had a sort of
intelligence to know where to burn.

This fire is far more dreadful than man can imagine. The natural fire that we see during this life
has great power to burn and torment. Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of hell. There are
two reasons why the fire of hell is more dreadful beyond all comparison than the fire of this life.
The first reason is the justice of God, which the fire serves as an instrument in order to punish the
infinite wrong done to his supreme majesty, which has been despised by a creature. Therefore
justice supplies this element with a burning power which almost reaches the infinite....

The second reason is the malice of sin. As God knows that the fire of this world is not enough to
punish sin as it deserves, He has given the fire of hell a power so strong that it can never be
comprehended by any human mind. -- Now, how powerfully does this fire burn?
It burns so powerfully, that, according to the saints, if a mere spark of it fell on on a ball of
bronze, it would melt it in an instant as if it were wax. If it landed on a frozen lake, it would make
it boil in an instant.

You now begin to understand why the martyrs were willing to undergo all torments in order to
avoid the eternal torments of Hell.

The sensation of pain in hell is essentially very dreadful. For this reason the prophet Isias long
ago asked "Which of you, can dwell with devouring fire? Which of you shall bear everlasting
burnings?" – Isaias 33: 54.

The thirst of all the damned will be so great that not even all the waters of the ocean could
quench it. We see this in the story of Lazarus (Luke 16:19 – Read and Expound on this point).

What do you hear in hell? Our Lord tells us what one will hear “weeping and gnashing of
teeth” – (Matt 8:11). What else will you hear ? Cursing and blasphemy. The damned hate each
other, the presence of others add to their torments. They shall also be tormented by devils. The
most tormented in hell are those who once had the faith. There character of Baptism and
confirmation shall be a special cause for torment, for this character tells of a conformity to Christ
which they out to have had but now they hate Christ. The devils will thus torment them most
grievously since they belong while on earth to the Church the ark of salvation but now they are
lost for all eternity. There screaming will ring throughout hell for all eternity. To add to this is the
abominable stench of hell since all the senses shall be tormented in hell for it is by them that we
sinned on earth and so it is by them that we shall be tormented as we read in the book of Wisdom
“By what things a man sins, by the same also he is tormented.” (11:17).

The fires of Hell are eternal. Our Lord constantly warns us about the reality of this fact "And if
thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting than
having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire. Where their worm dieth not,
and the fire is not extinguished.” - Mark 9: 42

I don’t see how He could have been more explicit out this. Think of all the diseases in the world;
those that affect the eyes, the teeth, the chest, the neck. To all these diseases of the body add the
mental torments of Hell: despair, gloom, sadness, hatred... And to these continuos torments, add
the lack of sympathy from others. No-one will care, everyone in Hell will be full of hatred for the
others. Not a moment of comfort. There is no rest, there is no sleep... every moment is an agony
from which there is no escape--- the worst of torments; and this for eternity, for eternity, for
eternity . . .

Eternally rebellious against everything, these souls will long for annihilation, not in itself, but as
cessation of suffering. In this sense Jesus says of Judas: "It were better for him if that man had
not been born." For it’s better to not exist than to exist in constant torments which is a state of
perpetual violence.

Speaking on the eternity of Hell St. Anthony Mary Claret states “Picture in hell a place
where there are three reprobates. The first is plunged in a lake of sulphuric fire, the
second is chained to a large rock and is being tormented by two devils, one of whom
continually pours molten lead down his throat while the other spills it all over his body,
covering him from head to foot. The third reprobate is being tortured by two serpents,
one of which wraps around the man's body and cruelly gnaws on it, while the other enters
within the body and attacks the heart. Suppose God is moved to pity and grants a short
respite.
The first man, after the passage of a thousand years is drawn from the lake and receives
the relief of a drink of cool water, and at the end of an hour is cast again into the lake.
The second, after a thousand years, is released from his place and allowed to rest; but
after an hour is again returned to the same torment. The third, after a thousand years, is
delivered from the serpents; but after an hour of relief, is again abused and tormented by
them. Ah, how little this consolation would be -- to suffer a thousand years and to rest
only one hour.

However, hell does not even have that much relief. One burns always in those dreadful
flames and never receives any relief for all eternity. He is forever gnawed and stricken
with remorse, and will never have a rest for all eternity. He will suffer always a very
ardent thirst and never receive the refreshment of a sip of water for all eternity. He will
see himself always abhorred by God and will never enjoy a single tender glance from
Him for all eternity. He will find himself forever cursed by heaven and hell, and will
never receive a single gesture of friendship.

It is an essential misfortune of hell that everything will be without relief, without remedy,
without interruption, without end, eternal.

Prayer:

The grace to see the reality of Hell. The grace to avoid sin. The grace to understand what the
malice of your sins have truly deserved. Ask for the graces to live a life transformed by grace so
that you may truly be conformed to Christ as your character of Baptism and confirmation say
you are. Pray also for the grace to be willing to undergo all privation and torments rather than to
offend God. Pray also for the grace to use your time wisely – for the greater glory of God. For
idleness if the mother of all sins.