Tuesday Adoration….what’s so bad about hell?


Getting into my car after Eucharisitc Adoration this evening, I switched on the radio and heard a man express an interesting concern:

I worry about sinning because I don’t want to go to hell, rather than because I love God. 

The good nuns who taught me in Catholic grammar school would have called this “imperfect contrition.”  Perfect contrition is when your motive for sorrow is your love for God.

But this sincere and honest man is on the path to Heaven.  God is so good and merciful that He will accept even imperfect contrition as sufficient sorrow for the forgiveness of sins.

But what about hell anyway?  I used to think of hell when I had a really bad migraine headache. My head would hurt so much that the pain alone consumed me.  I would imagine hell as something like a migraine that would never end. Often, the only thing that makes pain bearable is that we know it will eventually end, in this life anyway.

But hell never ends. Many of us have read stories from the lives of the Saints about their visions of hell as a dark, hideous place filled with a horrible stench and populated with monstrous demons who delight in torturing their victims.

But what about hell really? Can it ever be described as it truly is?  Aren’t all of our ideas about hell actually metaphors? Just as we cannot possibly imagine Heaven, neither can we really understand what hell will be like.

But one day, I forgot about the lake of fire, the demons, the stench. I forgot about all of this because I suddenly realized that even if they are real, they are the wrong things to fear.

The one truth we do know about hell is that if we go there, we will be completely separated from God, Who is all Love, Goodness, Light, Wisdom, Joy, and Beauty, revealing Himself to us in a Life united to Him in unending Beatitude.  The Beatific Vision.

This Merciful and Loving God became Man, was crucified and died for our sins, and rose again, gifting us with eternal life.  He has accompanied us throughout our lives, feeding us with His Most Precious Body and Blood, begging us to repent, giving us countless opportunities, offering us all the graces and time necessary.  He has thirsted for our love and we have so often chosen sin…. over Him.

This God Who loves us so much, will be totally absent from us in hell. He will give us what we desire.  Hell will be completely our own choice, and we will know this, and our misery will bring us to the depths of despair, but we will still refuse to love Him.

We will also clearly see that we were made only for God, to be loved by Him forever and to share in the ecstasy of His Own Divine Life.  Every cell of our being will burn to be filled with the only One Who can truly make us happy, the One Who created us for Himself… but it will be too late.

What else about hell could possibly matter? What will the burning fire be to our bodies when our souls are empty of the God they were made for? Will demons add much to our suffering when we are screaming in agony over what we ourselves have refused…the destiny for which we were created.

Yet, if we find ourselves there, we won’t repent. We won’t be sorry for our sins, only for ourselves. Once we die, we are confirmed in our sin, our rejection of God is fixed for all eternity.

Having to exist forever without God, for Whose Heart we were made, eclipses any other possible torment of hell. Whatever else there may be in that dreadful place, nothing else really matters except that He won’t be there.

But no one wants us to be in Heaven more than He does.  He died for us.  We are still breathing.  There is yet hope.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have Mercy on me, a sinner.  Jesus, I trust in You!

Thou hast made us for Thyself O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee. (St. Augustine)


8 thoughts on “Tuesday Adoration….what’s so bad about hell?

  1. I cannot, nor do I ever want to imagine living, especially for eternity, without our lovely Lord and God. Jesus Christ have mercy on us all…to remain in You and Love forever…

    • It is a frightening thought, isn’t it Cynthia? I can’t imagine living without Him either. He is so good and merciful that He will keep us close to Him always if we ask Him. I remember reading somewhere that He told St. Teresa of Avila that no one loses Him unless they tear themselves out of His arms. I didn’t put it in quotes, because it’s just something I seem to recall. But, how like Jesus it sounds. I find myself praying for the grace of final perseverance when I remember to, but not often enough! God loves you, dearest Cynthia! I just know we are going to meet in Heaven one day! :<3

    • Thanks, Anne. When we really think about it, what could possibly be worse than losing God, and yet usually we hear so much more about the hellfire, etc. God bless you, dear friend. Thanks for always stopping by. Hugs to you!

    • Grace, it’s so true. I don’t pray nearly enough. It’s frightening to read comments on articles and blogs around the Internet….you realize how many people out there don’t even believe in God and aren’t the least concerned about eternity. Of course, they don’t believe in eternity either. Our Lady begged for prayers at Fatima, and we can see why. Blessings and peace to you, sweet Grace! xoxo

      • Neither do I. What I am discovering that’s encouraging, though, is how few souls (if any) TRULY desire their destruction and how many secretly search for God whether or not they realize it. For instance, in the pro-life documentary “180” http://www.180movie.com/ This pro-life guy is going around to different people trying to get them to see abortion as the modern day holocaust. Among the typical “pro-choice”ers you see this one really bad guy with a mohawk and covered in tattoos and piercings who’s extremely anti-Semitic and has to have his words constantly bleeped. At the end of the film, though, you discover this man totally filled with evil hungers for salvation and has a Bible next to his bed that he reads, and the pro-lifer is able to tell him about Jesus. I guess it’s kind of like you were talking about in your wrappings of a soul post. GBY! xoxoxoxo

  2. When I think of all the souls who will be lost in Hell it tears my heart apart! Knowing that many people (my loved ones included) live day in and day out, without any conscious thought as to the state of their souls, really frightens me. Not only are they boldly unafraid of God’s judgement..they often simply don’t care about what they will face after this life is over. Hearts are getting darker in spite of all the “advancements” our world boasts of..and it seems to me that Hell must be filling up faster now because of the evils of our time. Jesus, Lord of boundless merciful love…have mercy on us!

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