Some Sobering Thoughts
At times I can’t avoid thinking, in the spur of the moment or, better said, as the thought jumps to my mind, “if I were to go to hell, at least I would have the consolation to know that my blog posts have helped other people to avoid my destiny”.
There is no consolation in hell. No idea of “helping”. No shred of charity.
On this earth, even evil people have good feelings for others, are capable of love, and at times can die for an ideal. But when the same people go to hell, whatever “good” they had goes away from them in the same way as when one enters Paradise all evil has been purged from him. In hell there will, certainly, be degrees of evil. But there will be no degree of good.
If, therefore, I were to send myself to hell (and as I write this, a shudder goes down my spine: Ingemisco, tamquam reus. Culpa rubet vultus meus. Supplicanti parce, Deus!) there would be, down there, no consolation whatever. I would hate myself, and I would hate those who are saved as well as those who are damned. I would not have a shred of compassion or sympathy for anyone. I would hate God for sending me there. I would hate myself for having in fact, sent myself there. I would hate the punishment I know I deserve. I would hate the saints for the mercy they have, for their part, collaborated in obtaining if, of course, not strictly “deserved”.
I would, simply, hate.
This also answers the second thought I have at times: if God were to send me to hell, I hope I would at least accept his decision in obedience and for love of God, knowing that I have deserved it.
No I wouldn’t. I would rebel to it. I would hate it, and I would hate God for it. I would hate God as I know He is right and I am wrong. I would hate God because I know He is right and I am wrong.
The third thought that sometimes pops in my mind is “If I were to go to hell, the compassion for me of those I have loved, and are in heaven, would still be assured”.
Those who are in heaven do not have compassion for those who are in hell. They do not suffer for their suffering. No sadness at their destiny clouds their spotless, supernatural, perfect joy. They know that everything is according to God’s will, and therefore everything is perfectly arranged. They are perfectly – as far as their nature allows – aligned with God’s will. What God wants, they want. What God has decreed, is perfectly merciful and perfectly just. More so, the souls in heaven are given insights of the torture of hell so that the Mercy of the Lord who saved them may be more thoroughly appreciated, and the Justice of the Lord may be seen in all his power. They see God’s triumph in its fullness.
Therefore, those who love me on this earth will, if the very worst were to happen (shuddering again…) be aware of my shame, but not suffer for that. Not in the least. Actually, it may be said the sight of my sufferance will be an element of their perfect joy. What a sobering thought; and what a shudder, again, down my spine. Preces meæ non sunt dignæ: Sed tu bonus fac benigne, Ne perenni cremer igne.
Whenever I reflect on these two aspects, I cannot but conclude how finely tuned God’s system is.
We are denied any and every consideration concerning hell beginning with the words “at least…”.
Hell is the total failure, the utter disgrace; a failure and a disgrace out of which no consolation whatever arises, a suffering that will never have a positive side to it. Yes, God may concede to the souls in hell, out of sheer Mercy, to have their suffering lessened, and in this lessening of suffering the damned soul may find a comparative relief, that he might, perhaps, call happiness in the only way he can now conceive it. But the lessening of an evil does not transform it in its contrary. In hell there is no love, there is no joy, and there is no consolation. It’s as brutal as that.
Compared to this, nothing else counts.
We must pray, stay near to the Sacraments, pray every day for those we love, pray that the Lord’s Mercy may spare us. We must have a sensible, solid Hope, but never stop being scared Obamaless at the though of where complacency may easily lead us.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Kasperite madness is the beginning of hell.
Whenever I have the aforementioned thoughts, I can’t avoid thinking:
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.
And so I wish of you too, my dear readers, that we all may be called where there is only spotless joy, supernatural happiness beyond comprehension.
It’s not easy to be a Catholic, and we do not have the easy, complacent assurance of most Proddies and, alas, so many cafeteria Catholics.
But how more salutary is our fear.