Here are some things that won't be there:
No flowers will bloom on the banks of hell,
No beauties of nature we love so well;
No comforts of home, music and song,
No friendship of joy will be found in the throng;
No children to brighten the long weary night,
No love nor peace, nor one ray of light;
No blood-washed soul with face beaming bright,
No loving smile in that region of night;
No mercy, no pity, pardon nor grace,
No water, Oh God, what a terrible place!
The pangs of the lost no human can tell,
Not one moment's ease--there's no rest in HELL!
HELL, the prison house of despair;
Here are some things that will be there:
Fire and brimstone are there, we know,
For God in His word hath told us so,
Memory, remorse, suffering, and pain,
Weeping and wailing, but all in vain;
Blasphemer, swearer, hater of God,
Christ-rejector while here on earth trod.
Murderer, gambler, drunkard, and liar,
Will have his part in the lake of fire;
The filthy, the vile, the cruel and mean,
What a horrible mob in hell will be seen;
Yes, more than humans on earth can tell,
Are the torments and woes of eternal HELL!
- Author Unknown
THE DOGMA OF HELL, SO OFTEN DISPUTED, AND SO OFTEN IGNORED IN THE
TEACHING OF CATECHETICS, WHICH CAN ONLY BRING ABOUT AN INCOMPLETE
SPIRITUALITY, TO THE GREAT DETRIMENT OF SOULS AND EVEN WITH DANGER TO
THEIR SALVATION, IS BROUGHT OUT WITH A CLARITY THAT ADMITS OF NO
HELL WARNING (The following compiled from MY CATHOLIC FAITH).
WHO ARE PUNISHED IN HELL?
Those are punished in hell who die in mortal sin; they are deprived of hte vision of God and suffer
dreadful torments, especially that of fire, for all eternity.
1. Christ Himself, in fifteen places in Holy Scripture, refers to the punishment of hell, the horrible deeds
abode of the wicked.
2. All who die in mortal sin, even with only a single unrepented and unforgiven mortal sin, are sent to
God is continually calling sinners to repentance. He instituted a Church to teach them the way to
heaven. He instituted the sacrament of penance to cleanse from all sin the sinner. He stands as the
loving Father, awaiting with anxiety the return of the prodigal.
3. God does not wish to send anyone to hell. His only desire would be to have all His children with
Him in the bliss of heaven. The sinner forces God to punish him in hell, by defying Him and refusing to
recognize His authority. When a vile creature defies his infinite Creator, no punishment is too great.
Not one single sinner is sent to hell except by his own fault. No one is sent to hell unless he has wilfully,
deliberately and knowingly refused to obey the commands of God.
WHAT PAINS will the condemned suffer in hell?
The condemned in hell will suffer the pain of loss and the pain of sense.
But no one can ever describe or understand adequately the torments of hell, just as no one can realize
the bliss of heaven.
1. THE PAIN OF LOSS. The wicked in hell know what they rejected and lost: God. This pain will be
the greatest torment of hell, for the human soul is made for God.
(a) They feel despair, remorse, envy, and hopelessness, because they know that they can never obtain
the one thing needed for happiness: they can never see God.
(b) Instead of God and the angels and saints, the sinners in hell have devils and loathsome criminals for
eternal companions. Hell contains nothing good. St. Paul truly says: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31).
There is no love in hell. The damned hate God, hate each other, and hate themselves.
2. THE PAIN OF SENSE. The wicked will suffer from fire and the torments inflicted on all the
senses, the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste, the touch. After the resurrection, the bodies of the
damned will suffer with their souls. In this life sinners sin by their senses. In the same way they will be
punished in hell. "By what things a man sinneth, by the same he also is tormented."
3. The punishment in hell is not the same for all. Each sinner will be punished according to the measure
of his offenses.
So if thy right eye is an occasion of sin to thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee: for it is better for thee
that one of thy members should perish than that thy whole body should be thrown into hell. And if thy
right hand is an occasion of sin to thee, cut if off and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee that one
of thy members should be lost than that thy whole body should go into hell. (Matt 5:29-30)
4. The pains of hell will last for all eternity. If the punishment of hell were temporary, many sinners
might prefer to gratify their passions on earth, no matter at what cost and penalty in hell, if it were to
have an end.
IS IT NOT AGAINST GOD'S MERCY to punish the sinner.
1. The sinner is a traitor to God who created him.
God created this world and all creatures. He owns them. They must therefore be absolutely obedient
to His will. If a creature revolts and defies God, then he must be treated as an enemy.
2. It is the opinion of Doctors of the Church that no one in hell is punished as much as he deserves.
God sent us His own beloved Son, to suffer incredible agonies and death, so that we may be saved
from eternal damnation. Can such a God be anything but merciful?
3. We should have no fear of hell if we do our duty. God will not send us to hell, unless we force him.
"I SAY TO ALL, "WATCH'"
MERCY AND JUSTICE
Take Heed, Therefore
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be overburdened with self-indulgence and drunkenness
and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly as a snare. For come it will upon all
who dwell on the face of all the earth.
Watch and Pray
" Watch therefore, for you do not know at what hour your Lord is to come. But of this be assured,
that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would certainly have
watched, and hot have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, because at an
hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
"WATCH, THEN, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things
that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man: just as a man, when he leaves home to journey
abroad, puts his servants in charge, to each his work, and gives orders to the porter to keep watch.
Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at
midnight, or at cockcrow, or early in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what
I say to you, I say to all, 'Watch."
"I WILL FORGIVE A MILLION, MILLION TIMES, IF NECESSARY"
Necessity of Preparedness
"Who, dost thou think, is the faithful and prudent servant whom his master has set over his household
to give them their food in due time? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, shall find
so doing. Amen I say to you, he will set him over all his goods.
GENUINE BELIEF IN HELL
"But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master delays his coming,' and begins to beat his
fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day he
does not expect, and in an hour he does not know, and will cut him asunder and make him share the
lot of the hypocrites. There will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather be afraid of him
who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28)
And thou, Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted to heaven? Thou shalt be thrust down to hell! For if the
miracles had been worked in thee, it would have remained to this day. (Matt. 11:23)
Then he will say to those on his left hand, 'Depart from me, accused ones, into the everlasting fire
which was prepared for the devil and his angels!...And these will go into everlasting punishment, but
the just into everlasting life. (Matt. 25:41 & 46)
* A decree issued by the Holy See in 1890 forbids priests to give sacramental absolution to those who
deny the reality of the fire of hell.
The view that time would bring a mitigation of the pains of hell was condemned by the Congregation of
the Holy Office in 1893.
For if we sin willfully *after receiving the knowledge of truth, there remains no longer a sacrifice for
sins, but a certain dreadful expectation of judgement, and "the fury of a fire which will consume..."
HELL: A REVELATION OF GOD'S LOVE AND MERCY By Fr. T. Roche, C.S.S.R.
The torments of hell are eternal. This truth of our Faith is set forth in the Athanasian Creed: "They that
have done good things shall fo into life everlasting, and they that have done evil things into everlasting
The words of Our Lord are unmistakable: "The chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire".
"Depart from Me into everlasting fire."
Can we understand what is meant by the eternity of hell? No - it is entirely beyond our
comprehension. Scientists have measured the extent of the earth, the depths of the sea, but no measure
can be found for eternity. No measure can reach the boundary of eternity, because no boundry exists.
"O Eternity", exclaims St. Augustine, "What art thou? say what you will of it and you have never said
enough. Say that it includes as many millions of years as there are stars in the formament, grains of
sand on the sea-shore, leaves in the trees, drops of water in the ocean, you will never have said
And why? Because no time, no matter how long, can have any proportions to eternity. A sinner
condemned to hell a thousand years ago cannot say: "Now I have one hour less to suffer." Eternity
remains just as long as it was when he first entered hell.
All that one can say to express the duration of eternity is summed up in the words: forever - ever.
When will the ecstatic delights of heaven come to an end? Never. When will the fire of hell cease to
torment the reprobate. Never. For how long will the ineffable joys of heaven last? Forever. How long
will the wicked have to remain in the terrible abyss of hell? Forever.
It may be asked, how are we to reconcilethe awful punishments of hell with the love and mercy of
God? In order to understand this difficulty, we must remember that no one can ever be lost by surprise
or trapped in his ignorance. It is Mortal Sin alone that incurs the punishments of hell. Mortal Sin is the
fuel of the fire of hell. Now, a bad act must have three conditions to mortally sinful. First, there must be
a serious breach of the moral law, in orde that the sin may be mortal. Secondly, there must be full
advertance to the grave malice of the act; so that if one were half-asleep, or drowsy, or not in full
possession of his faculties, the sin would not be mortal. Thirdly, there must be full and free consent.
This consent must be perfect so that a man must wisch to choose the wrong quite deliberately. Now,
since God gives abundant helps to all who walk in the path of the commandments, whoever incurs the
guilt of mortal sin must lay the blame entirely at his own door. Among these helps not the least is the
revelation of the torments of hell.
In his book, "Hell and its Problems", Raupert, to the same effect, writes:
"It is certainly not the love of God that restrains even refined and cultivated people from the indulgence
of their passions, and from entering upon crooked and forbidden pahts in the various relationships of
life. What foes restrain them is the sense and fear of the punishment in the form of dishonour and loss
of social prestige in the temporal order, and order, and of dimly discerned perhaps, but nevertheless
conceivably serious consequences in the spiritual order. It cannot be accidental, surely, that HOLY
SCRIPTURE CONTAINS FAR MORE WARNING OF HELL THAN PROMISES OF
HEAVEN. He who searches the hearts and reins knows what truth is best calculated to stay and
direct the weak and frail mind of men. I feel confident that when the secret history of each saved soul
comes hereafter to be revealed, it will be found that the fear of hell has saved more souls than the
promises of heaven. Although fear is not the highest motive to virtue, it is the most common
nevertheless, and in the critical moments of life the most powerful one beyond doubt."
THE GREAT GATE OF HELL
On one occasion Our Lord warned His Apostles, saying: "Fear ye not them that kill the body and are
not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Matt. X, 28)
God has placed on the shore of eternity, two great lights to guide us on our path through life: the red
light of hell, as a warning and a deterrent, and th green light of heaven, to give us hope and
encouragement. We should, therefore, fear God, and fear hell, which is for all of a dread possibility.
"We should tremble", says St. Alphonsus," at the thought of being lost, and tremble not so much at the
thought of hell, as of sin, which alone can send us there."
Objections are sometimes raised by not only non-Catholics but Catholics also the the doctrine of hell
and its punishments. God is good, they say, and He is too meciful to condemn anyone to an eternity in
the fire of hell. But God is not only good and merciful, He is also infinitely just. The answer of St.
Augustine to all objections against the fire of hell and the eternity of hell, is: "CHRIST HATH
SPOKEN IT." God has said it, and His word is true. Moreover, God does not send any soul to hell.
Men cast themselves into hell. Scripture testifies to the truth of this: as for example: "What things a man
shall sow, those also shall he reap." (Gal. V1, 8) And again: "Before man is life and death, good and
evil, that which he shall choose, shall be given him." (Ecclus. XV, 18). Before man is heaven and hell,
that which he shall choose shall be given him.
ST. PETER DAMIAN'S STORY
It is a pious practice of the people of Rome to visit the churches of the city, carrying candles in their
hands, on the vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and to pass some time there in prayer.
One year a devout woman was in the crowd of worshippers in the Church of Ara Coeli, and saw at a
short distance from her, a woman who she had known intimately, and who had been dead for about a
year. She could not reach her for the crowd, but waited for her as she came out, and as soon as she
could come near her, she asked:
"Are you not my godmother, Marozia, who held me at the font when I was baptized?
"Yes," said the apparition, "I am indeed."
"How then, do I meet you here, when I know that you died last year? What has happened to you on
the other side of the grave?"
The dead woman answered: "Until tody I have been detained in unquenchable fire because of the sins
of impurity I committed in my youth. I confessed them all, it is true, but though the guilt was remitted, I
did not escape the temporal punishment which because of them, I have been undergoing in purgatory.
Today the Queen of Heaven, moved with compassion for the suffering souls, has obtained for me and
many others, deliverance from our prison and admission to paradise in honour of the Feast of the
Assumption. You see me only, but we are here in immense numbers, going from one to another of the
churches dedicated to Mary, to thank Her for Her compassion."
The pious woman stood amazed, not knowing what to think, but Marozia added: "In order that you
may not doubt the truth of my words, I tell you that you will die next year on the Feast of the
Assumption. If you are alive after that date, you may believe that all this is an illusion." And then she
The lady remained in church, no longer able to doubt that God had condescended to warn her in this
way of her approaching death. From then on she renounced all wordly pleasures and lived a life of
great austerity and retirement, constantly receving the sacraments of penance and the Holy Eucharist.
The following year, two days before the Assumption, she fell ill. The next day her sickness was
pronounced hopeless and on the Feast Day she piously expired.
DID ANYONE EVER COME OUT OF HELL TO TELL US WHAT IT IS LIKE?
The answer to the question in the title of this article is an emphatic "yes!"
Bl. Peter of Jeremiah, a Dominican, was studying law at the University of Bologna and was on the
point of receiving his doctorate when, one night, he heard a loud knocking on the window of his room.
Since he was on the third floor of the building, he could not understand what caused the knocking. A
feeling of fear came over him.
As the knocking persisted, he cried out: "Who is knocking?"
Immediately a voice answered: "Peter, I am So-and-so, your relative. After having received my
doctorate in law, I became a famous lawyer. Unhappy that I was, I took on unjust causes to acquire
honor and riches at the expense of my conscience. I found myself without an advocate before God. I
am damned; I am damned for eternity! God sent me to give you this warning. Flee, flee the courts of
men if you desire to be acquitted before the tribunal of God!"
Frightened, Peter decided to change the direction of his life. He made a vow of chastity and after
praying for light, he entered the Dominican Order. After his death, because of his holiness and
miracles, he was beatified. This true story is recounted in the Dominican annual Acts of the Saints
(Palme edition, t. 7, pg. 292).
YOUNG GIRL CONDEMNED
In the mission of Itatina, in Peru, under Fr. Samaniego, S.J., there occured an extraordinary event
which became known by all the inhabitants of the town and was certified by so many actual witnesses
that its veracity could not be doubted.
In the house of a woman of means, there was a young 16-year-old servant girl by the name of
As she grew up she became more and more dissolute even though she was often punished by her
Catherine sinned and went to Confession. However, out of shame, she hid what she was doing.
In August of 1500, she became ill. A priest came to hear her confession, but Catherine made it
On the night she died the whole house was filled with such a terrible odor that it was necessary to
carry her body outdoors.
During this same month, as one of the servants was entering the dining room, she heard three times a
call in Catherine's voice. Frightened, she left the room and did not return until she had two others with
her with lighted candles.
When they arrived, all three heard Catherine tell the first one that she ought to separate herself from
her companions and throw away the candle, because this caused her pain. The phantom gave off an
unbelievable stench, the flames were seen flicking out from the place whence the voice came.
Catherine said: "Know that I am damned and that I suffer horribly because I had declared in
confession only my slightest faults, accusing myself, for example, of having spoken too much, of having
been angry, etc,. while I hid my gravest sins. God orders me to give you this warning so that you may
give it to others."
At that moment the Angelus bell was heard from the nearby church and the flaming specter
This fact is related by Fr. Francis Benci, the Jesuit, in his Annual Letters of the Company of Jesus
(1500-1501, pg. 762).
"I BURN IN HELL"
We read in the life of Bl. Richard of St. Ann:
In his town, there were students who were dissolute and scandalous. One night they were in a house
of ill-repute. After some time one of them said to the other: "Let us go back, I have had enough." And
the other one answered: "And I, not enough."
The first one left and went back to his apartment. As he was about to go to bed, he remembered the
daily prayer he used to pray to the Blessed Virgin. Although he did not feel like praying, he fulfilled his
act of devotion.
He had hardly finished when he heard a knock on the door. A second and third he heard the blows
but did not wish to answer.
Suddenly, his companion whom he had just left in the house of ill-repute entered through the closed,
locked door! There was a stunned silence. Then his companion said: Don't you recognize me?"
In truth, the man who had just said his prayer replied: "To see your face and to hear your voice you
are the companion whom I left a little while ago; but your sudden and surprise appearance here causes
me to doubt."
The mysterious visitor gave a long sigh. "No" he said, "while we were in the house of ill-repute,
ignoring all fear of God, Satan had us before a divine Tribunal and claimed a sentence of damnation
against both of us. The Sovereign Judge gave the sentence and it was only a question of executing it,
but the Virgin, your advocate, interceded in your favor at the same moment you...invoked Her. Your
judgement is deferred but mine has been executed because when I left the house where I committed
my crimes, I was strangled; the devil took my soul from my body and dragged it into Hell where I now
Saying this, he uncovered his breast and showed it eaten with worms and devoured by fire. Then,
leaving a terrible stench, he disappeared.
The young man who had been saved by Our Lady remained in a kind of stupor until suddenly he heard
the midnight matin bell at the nearby convent of the Franciscans. He could no longer sleep. At
daybreak he went to the convent, threw himself at the feet of the Franciscan superior and told him
what had happened.
The superior had difficulties believing what he was being told, so he went to the place where the
strangling would have happened. Then he found the body, hideous and repulsive, lying on the ground.
This event was actually witnessed by Bl. Richard, the Franciscan, who was then 19 years old. It was
this story that caused him to join the Franciscans in the convent of Nivelles. He was martyred in Japan
OUR BLESSED MOTHER WARNS
St. Paul in Sacred Scripture tells us to preach the whole Gospel in season and out of season. Isn't it
strange that today we never hear about the four last things - Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell. Why
are these truths hidden from us and our children. After all everyone of must die and face judgement.
We are only here on our earthly pilgrimage for one reason and that is to know and serve God in this
life and to see and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. God is merciful and also just. He wants all of us here
on earth to win our salvation. Today they preach a message of love and indeed we must all follow the
two great commandments, love of God and love of neighbour. At the same time we must remember
Our Lord's own words "If you love me keep my commandments" and the new Catechism of the
Catholic Church states very clearly that if we don't keep God's commandments and die in the state of
mortal sin we must face an eternity of separation from God in the fire of Hell. Unfortunately modern
writers and preachers never mention this great truth. You may not like reading about Purgatory and
Hell in our magazine but until our pastors and teachers start preaching the whole Gospel message, we
will continue in our small way to make up for what is lacking. We must warn our children of a false
catechesis which exists today that everyone is saved.
The Mother of Jesus has come to earth many times to save souls from the fire of hell. It is almost
certain that there is no other reason for her visitations to La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima. At Fatima
she left a prayer which She asked to be repeated after each decade of the Rosary. The prayer is the
key to all Her visitations: "O, Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls
to heaven especially those who most need Your mercy." On July 13, 1917, she opened up the earth
so that the three shepherd children could look into hell. This was done so that the children could testify
to the reality of this place of punishment for the wicked after death. The following is the description of
this place of misery by the Fatima seers in Father Breen's book, "Recent apparitions of hte Blessed
"The children saw emanating from her hands two bright and penetrating beams of light slanted
obliquely to the surface of the earth, which seemed to penetrate the ground. A rift of some magnitude
opened. Looking downward, the children saw a vision of hell. Down in the deep caverns of that
frightful maelstrom, the three little seers gasped in horror at the dreadful spectacle. Lucia's gasp was
audible: Oh! Our Lady!" Lucia's account follows: "We saw a sea of fire in which were huge numbers
of devils and damned souls in human form, plunged in deep immersions, all blackened and burnt, like
transparent coals of black and bronze embers. The would be raised in the air by the flames, floating
and swaying in clouds of flame and smoke, then falling back on all sides and in all directions, without
weight or equilibrium and unable to control their movements. On fire within and without, they floated
and showered about like sparks in a general conflagration amid shrieks and wailing screams of fiendish
terror, pain and despair, which filled the fiery atmosphere. The sight caused her to shudder with horror
and fear. We could tell the demons by their horrible, repugnant figures of loathsome and unknown
animals which were blackened like coals by the fire, and yet were alive and transparent."
This hideous sight lasted only a minute for the children said they would die had it lasted longer. Our
Lady looked on the children and said to them: "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go.
To save poor souls from hell God wishes to establish the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people
do what I shall tell you MANY SOULS WILL BE SAVED."
Jacinta grew almost obsessed with the terrifying fate of souls damned through sin. "So many fall," she
said. "So many fall."
"Hell...hell..." Jacinta repeated in an anguish of horror, "how they grieve me, those souls in hell...souls
burning alive like wood in a fire..." Then she would fall upon her knees repeating the prayer Our Lady
taught the three to say after each "Gloria" of the Rosary" "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us
from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy."
"We must pray a great deal to save souls from hell," Jacinta would call out to her two companions, in
the words of Our Lady, "Don't you want to prevent souls from falling into hell? So many souls go to
On one occasion Lucia reminded her of Our Lady's promise to take her to Heaven: "Do not be afraid;
you are not going there; Our Lady is going to take you to Heaven with her."
"Yes, I know, I want all those people and everybody to go there, too. If only sinners could see hell
and know what it is like, as we do, they would not sin any more, and no one would go to hell. Why
din't you ask Our Lady to show hell to all those people?"
SISTER JOSEFA MENENDEZ
Christ appeared often during the years 1921-22-23 to Sister Josefa Menendez-a coadjutrix sister of
the Society of the Sacred heart of Jesus. This Order is known in the United Statesas the Mesdames of
the Sacred Heart.
The story of Christ's visits to Sister Josefa is a gripping and inspiring one. It is published in a book
sponsored by the nun's own religious order-with instructions from Our Lord that its messages be
broadcast widely. It contains over 500 pages, all of which are devoted to telling mankind how much
Jesus christ loves us, and begging all men and women to come to Him-with their love and receive Him.
In these pages Christ pleads with us to save our souls by finding His love before "The approaching last
days of the world." This book is The Way of divine Love, published by Tan Publishing Books and
Publishers, Inc. And is available from Catholic bookshops here in Australia
SISTER JOSEFA MENENDEZ
Coadjutrix Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1890-1923)
Our Lord sent Sister Josefa into hell so she, too, could testify to the torments of the damned to
prepare men for heaven through the fear of God if "the love of God is not strong enough to gain us
salvation." The following is Sister Josefa Menendez' own writing after her return from descents into
Sister Josefa wrote with great reticence on the subject of hell. She did it only to conform to Our
Blessed Lord's wishes, Our Lady having told her on the 25th October, 1922: "Everything that Jesus
allows you to see and to suffer of the torments of hell, is...that you may make it known. So forget
yourself entirely, and think only of the glory of the...Salvation of souls.
She repeatedly dwelt on the greatest torment of hell, namely:
"One of these damned souls cried out: "This is my torture...that I want to love and cannot; there is
nothing left me but hatred and despair. If one of us could so much as make a single act of love...This
would no longer be hell...but we cannot, we live on hatred and malevolence...'(23rd March, 1922)."
Another of these unfortunates said: "The greatest of our torments here is that we are not able to love
Him. While we hunger for love, we are consumed with desire of it, but it is too late."
She records, too, the accusations made against themselves by these unhappy souls: "Some yell
because of the burning of their hands. Perhaps they were thieves, for they say: "Where is our loot
now?...Cursed hands...Why did I want to possess what did not belong to me...and what in any case I
could keep only for a few days?"
"Others curse their tongues, their eyes...whatever was the occasion of their sin...'Now, O body, you
are paying the price of the delights you granted yourselfˇ...And you did it of your own free will...'" (2nd
"I saw many wordly people fall into hell, and now words can render their horrible and terrifying cries:
'Damned for ever...I deceived myself; I am lost...I am here for ever'."
"Today, I saw a vast number of people fall into the fiery pit...they seemed to be wordlings and a
demon cried vociferously: "The world is ripe for me...I know that the best way to get hold of souls is
to rouse their desire for enjoyment...Put me first...Me before the rest...no humility for me! But let me
enjoy myself...This sort of thing assures victory to me...and they tumble headlong into hell'." (4th
"Tonight," wrote Josefa, "I did not go down into hell, but was transported to a place where all was
obscure, but in the center wsa a red smouldering fire. They had laid me flat and so bound me that I
could not make the slightest movement. Around me were seven or eight people; their black bodies
were unclothed, and I could see them only by the reflections of the fire. They were seated and were
"One devil to another said: "We'll have to be very careful not to be found out, for we might easily be
"Another devil answered: 'Insinuate yourselfs by including carelessness in them...but keep in the
background, so that you are not found out...by degrees they will become callous, and you will be able
to incline them to evil. Tempt these others to ambition, to self-interest, TO ACQUIRING WEALTH
WITHOUT WORKING...Excite some to sensuality and love of pleasure'."
Josefa, on her return from hell, noted the following: "I saw several souls fall into hell, and among them
was a child of fifteen, cursing her parents for not having taught her to fear God nor that there was a
hell. Her life had been a short one, she said, but full of sin, for she had given in to all that he body and
passions demanded in the way of satisfaction. Especially she had read bad books." (22nd March,
"Sounds of confusion and blasphemy cease not for an instant. A sickening stench aphyxiates and
corrupts everything; it is like the burning of putrefied flesh, mingled with tar and sulphur...a mixture to
which nothing on earth can be compared."
ST. TERESA, TOO, WAS SHOWN HELL
St. Teresa, 1515-1582, was given a vision of HELL. She said of this experience:
"The humble man never forgets that Christ had delivered him from the fires of Hell."
One of the most unforgetable experiences in St. Teresa's life was her famous vision of HELL which
she considered a "most signal favor" from God. She beheld souls tormented by fire and despair, saw
the place the devils had prepared for her because of her sins, and realized most vividly that only God's
mercy had delivered her from such terrible and enduring torments (Life, Chapter XXXII). This vision
of HELL was one of the significant events in St. Teresa's life that led ultimately to te foundation of the
Carmelite Reform; but it also influenced her to thoughts of humility. Her words on humility are often
related to HELL.
THE PAINS OF HELL
By Saint Anthony Mary Claret
The sensation of pain in hell is essentially very dreadful. Picture yourself, my soul, on a dark night on
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 centre of the earth, many
leagues down, all full of fire, hemmed in so impenetrably that for all eternity not even the smoke can
escape. In this prison the damned are packed so tightly one on the other like bricks in a kiln...Consider
the quality of the fire in which they burn.
First, the fire is all-extensive and tortures the whole body and 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.
* A most terrible thing about hell is its duration. The condemned person loses God and loses Him for
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. Suppose I were to find myself placed at the oven of a
smith so that my whole body was in the open air but for one arm placed in the fire, and that God were
to preserve my life for a thousand years in this position. Would this not be an unbearable torture?
What, then, would it be like to be completely penetrated and surrounded by fire, which would affect
not just an arm, but even all the faculties of the soul?
MORE DREADFUL THAN MAN CAN IMAGINE
Secondly, 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 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, O my soul that, according to the ascetical masters, if a mere spark of it fell on a
millstone, it would reduce it in a moment to powder. If it fell 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.
Pause here briefly, my soul, and answer a few questions I will put. First, I ask you: If a special furnace
were fired up as was customarily done to torment the holy martyrs, and then men placed before you all
kinds of good things that the human heart might want, and added the offer of a prosperous kingdom -
if all this were promised you on condition that for just a half-hour you enclose yourself within the
furnace, what would you choose?
A Hundred Kingdoms
"Ah!" you would say, "If you offered me a hundred kingdoms I would never be so foolish as to accept
your brutal terms, regardless of how grand your offer might be, even if I were sure that God would
preserve my life during those moments of suffering."
Second, I ask you: If you already had possession of a great kingdom and were swimming in a sea of
wealth so that nothing was wanting to you, and then you were attacked by an enemy, were imprisoned
and put in chains and obliged to either renounce your kingdom or else spend a half-hour in a hot
furnace, what would you choose? "Ah!" you would say, "I would prefer to spend my whole life in
extreme poverty and submit to any other hardship and misfortune, then suffer such great torment!"
A Prison of Eternal Fire
Now turn your thoughts from the temporal to the eternal. To avoid the torment of a hot furnace, which
would last but a half-hour, you would forgo all your property, even things you are most fond of, you
would suffer any other temporal loss, however burdensome. Then why do you not think the same way
when you are dealing with eternal torments? God threatens you not just with a half-hour in a furnace,
but with a prison of eternal fire. To escape it, should you not forgo whatever He has forbidden, no
matter how pleasant it can be for you, and gladly embrace whatever He commands, even if it be
A most terrible thing about hell is its duration. The condemned person loses God and loses Him for all
eternity. Now, what is eternity? O my soul, up to now there has not been any angel who has been able
to comprehend what eternity is. So how can you comprehend it? Yet, to form some idea of it,
consider the following truths:
Eternity never ends. This is the truth that has made even the greatest saints tremble. The final
judgement will come, the world will be destroyed, the earth will swallow up those who are damned,
and they will be cast into hell. Then, with his almighty hand, God will shut them up in that most
From then on, as many years will pass there are leaves on the trees and plants on all the earth, as
many thousands of years as there are drops of water in all seas and rivers, as many thousands of years
as there are atoms in the air, as there are grains of sand on all the shores of all seas.
ETERNITY NEVER ENDS. THIS IS THE TRUTH THAT HAS MADE EVEN THE GREATEST
After the passage of this countless number of years, what will eternity be? Up to then there will not
even have been a hundredth part of it, nor a thousandth - nothing. It then begins again and will last as
long again, even after this has been repeated a thousand times, and a thousand million times again. And
then, after so long a period, not even a half will have passed, not even a hundredth part nor a
thousandth, not even any part of eternity. For all this time there is no interruption in the burnings of
those who are damned, and it begins all over again.
Oh, a deep mystery indeed! A terror above all terrors! O eternity! Who can comprehend thee?
Suppose that, in the case of unhappy Cain, weeping in hell, he shed in every thousand years just one
tear. Now, O my soul, recollect your thoughts and suppose this case: For six thousand years at least
Cain has been in hell and shed only six tears, which God miraculously preserves. How many years
would pass for his tears to fill all the valleys of the earth and flood all the cities and towns and villages
and cover all the mountains so as to flood the whole earth? We understand the distance from the earth
to the sun is thirty-four million leagues. How many years would be necessary for Cain's tears to fill that
immense space? From the earth to the firmanent is, let us suppose, a distance of a hundred and sixty
The Tears of Cain
O God! What number of years might one imagine to be sufficient to fill with these tears this immense
space? And yet - O truth so incomprehensible -be sure of it as that God cannot lie - a time will arrive
in which these tears of Cain would be sufficient to flood the world, to reach even the sun, to touch the
firmanent, and fill all the space between earth and the highest heaven. But that is not all.
If God dried up all those tears to the last drop and Cain begain again to weep, he would again fill the
same entire space with them and fill it a thousand times and a million times in succession, and after all
those countless years, not even half of eternity would have passed, not even a fraction. After all that
time burning in hell. Cain's sufferings will be just beginning.
This eternity is also without relief. It would indeed be a small consolation and of little benefit for the
condemned persons to be able to receive a brief respite once every thousnd years.
Picture in hell a space 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 moves 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 fromt 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.
THE KINDNESS OF HIS MERCY
Now I understand in part, O my God, what hell is. It is a place of extreme pain, of extreme despair. It
is where I deserve to be for my sins, where I would have been confined for some years already if your
immense mercy had not delivered me. I will keep repeating a thousand times: The Heart of Jesus has
loved me, or else I would now be in hell! The mercy of Jesus has pitied me; for otherwise I would be
in hell! The Blood of Jesus has reconciled me withthe heavenly Father, or my dwelling place would be
hell. This shall be the hymn that I want to sing to Thee, my God, for all eternity. Yes, from now on my
intention is to repeat these words as many times as there are moments that have passed since that
unhappy hour in whch I first offended You.
What has been my gratitude to God for his kind mecy that He showed me? He delivered me from hell.
O, immense charity? O, infinite goodness! After a benefit so great, should I not have given Him my
whole heart and loved Him with the love of the most ardent Seraphim? Should I not have directed all
my actions to Him, and in everything sought only his divine pleasure, accepting all contradictions with
joy, in order to return to Him my love? Could I do less than that after a kindness that was so great?
And yet, what is it that I have done? Oh, ingratitude worthy of another hell! I cast You aside, O my
God! I reacted to your mercy by committing new sins and I repent with my whole heart. Ah, would
that I could shed a sea of tears for such outrageous ingratitude! O Jesus, have mercy on me; for I now
resolve to rather suffer a thousand deaths than offend you again. printed with ecclesiastical permission
THE REALITY OF HELL
by Rev. Herman Schnurr
Many people insist, hoping that they are correct, that an infinitely meciful and loving God could not
possibly consign anyone to eternal punishment. There are, however, two faults to this reasoning: First,
God is just, as well as merciful and; second, God does not condemn anyone to Hell. Sinners condemn
SIN AND HELL
The presence of sin, which in in plentiful supply in our contemporary society, demands the existence of
hell. We know that God's laws are broken daily, often in very serious ways. Therefore, his justice
cannot ignore these violations nor allow the perpetrator to reveal in impunity. Because of his holiness,
God must avenge infractions of his moral order in a manner which maintains an equality between the
gravity of the act and the severity of the punishment.
We know that in this life sin is not always punished nor is virture rewarded. Yet the scales of divine
justice must be balanced, if not in this world then in the next. If there was no retribution beyond that
which we observe, then God would be indifferent to the existence of good and evil. He would be
wanting in justice and holiness, which, of course, cannot be. Therefore, evil must be punished in
accordance with is seriousness.
REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE
The existence of hell is revealed in Sacred Scripture, explained in sacred Tradition and taught by the
sacred Magisterium. Rather than entering into a lengthy and detailed discussion of the proofs of this
doctrine, a far more practical approach is to accept the teachings of the official magisterium, especially
because it is safeguarded against error by the presence of the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of truth.
The Church teaches, "de fide" (which means that this doctrin must be believed), that the souls of those
who die in the condition of personal, unrepented, grievous sin enter hell. Now, eternal suffering is of
two kinds: first, the pain of loss. This the very core of hell's torment because it is the loss of the beatific
vision, of beholding God face to face, of the soul seeing God by direct intuition, clearly and distinctly.
Thus the very purpose for which the soul was created has been rejected. Life has been wasted in
failure. There is the despairing realization that opportunities were offered but refused. The souls in hell
know that they will never see God nor be united to Him in love. There is the gnawing regret of having ,
by their own deliberate folly, forfeited eternal blessings for transistory pleasures.
REJECTED BY GOD
They had abandoned God by turning away from Him in mortal sin so now God has turned away from
them. But the longing for God remains - unfulfilled and turned into hate, an the tortures of hell endure
through all eternity. The vision which the children saw at Fatima is a most descriptive lesson on this
In addition to the pain of loss there is the pain of sense: fire, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth in fury,
total abandonment in a world of frenzied demons. The fire of hell is different from the fire which we
observe on earth. In hell the fire burns but never consumes. Hellfire is not a figure of speech but a
reality created by a just Judge to punish the fallen spirits.
At the final judgement the bodies of the damned will join their souls so that both will share these pains
of sense. This is only logical since the body was the instrument of serious sin. As the body pleasured,
so not it must suffer - a suffering beyond our imagining - a suffering which will never end.
The important truth for our personal salvation is that we know that hells exists, that it is a place of
everlasting torment where lost souls are condemned for eternity, as we learn from the inspired word of
God: "Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt.
Our concern need not be about any scholarly discussion concerning the existence and nature of hell
but about how we can escape it by avoiding all which leads to serious sin and the death of the soul.