No Appeal, Or: The Most Devastating Shock Imaginable.

If you are like me you will stop, at times, thinking of how it must be to realise that one is in hell. In all confidence, it tends to happen to me when I wake up at night, because I am a guy who does not get back to “sleeping mode” easily, and advancing age makes my mind revolve more and more often around the Four Last Things.

What always strikes me as so absolutely brutal is… the absolute brutality of it.

If I get a horrible tax bill, I can appeal and get it overturned. If I get a ticket for speeding, I can appeal and see whether the speed camera was rightly calibrated, etc. If I got a cancer diagnose, I could never exclude the possibility of medical error. Even if I were accused of homicide, I would have all possibility to defend myself and hope that justice works correctly. There would always be something that can happen next and change things.

In the case of hell, none of this applies. When one realises he is there, it is the most definitive thing on (or outside of) the planet. There is no “wait a minute”. There is no “there must have been a mistake”. There is no appeal, and there is no hope.

This, we all know. But I wonder how many really get it. How many feel it. How many get not the knowledge, but the shiver.

I have found myself, a couple of times, in the position to really feel what it is, of course within the limits of my poor, human imagination. I have imagined, vividly (as it happens to you, or at least to me, when I wake up at night), that it would happen to me. That it has happened to me. That I am in hell, now.

It’s not that I wanted it. I did not seek it. It is that, at night, my imagination works in 3D and Technicolor.

It was terrifying and, at the same time, a very salutary experience. Salutary but so difficult, that I don’t want to get into the “experiment” again. So shocking, in fact, that the aftereffect of that terror remained with me the day after, in broad daylight, whilst working at the office.

What I remember very distinctly, is the (initial) inability of the mind to even grasp the concept. Your mind, involuntarily but irresistibly, again and again, comes back to the concept of reprieve, of remedy, of “appeal”, of something that happens next and can change the outcome. This is obvious, I think, as our human mind is not really wired for the concept of infinity. Even the mass murderer condemned to life imprisonment realises his jail is, whatever comes next, **not forever**. In fact, even one condemned to death will soon realise – if he has a brain – that he has a last occasion to set up his house in such order that he will avoid hell, forever.

But the one who finds himself in hell, he is screwed forever the very moment he first realised he is screwed; and whilst the concept of screwed will be grasped immediately, the concept of “forever” will require a time of terrifying adjustment as the brain trains itself to understand what it really, really means for him.

This would be terrifying for one, like me, who has believed in hell all his life. I can’t even begin to fathom the sheer apocalyptic feeling overcoming the one who finds himself in hell after never giving a thought to it for decades, unless it be to mock it. The fear of hell I have is, at least, the product of the fear of the Lord. The reality of hell for one without (during life) the fear of the Lord must be the most devastating shock imaginable. I reflect on how many times it happens every day, and it makes for very sobering thinking.

I don’t want to find myself in that situation of imagination running wild again. Still, I think that the experience was salutary. It was a kind of preventative warning. It was like that “chi tocca i fili muore” (“he who touches the wires dies”) writing I saw on electricity pilons as a child, the black skull and bones on top of the words making the point once again for the illiterate and the incurably stupid. To me, the writing gave a slight shiver.

I wonder how many atheists, with degree and PhD, are just that stupid. Their intelligence, real or imagined, is just an obstacle to proper understanding, and the prelude, perhaps after decades of smugness, to the most devastating shock imaginable.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Posted on October 4, 2022, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. And may I add the Fatima Prayer?:

    Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell 😱🔥😱🔥.

    Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

    Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!

  2. It is not too difficult to avoid the eternal punishment of hell, one simply must be in a state of grace and not have the stain of mortal sin on our souls. It is such a sad reality that so many refuse to accept that reality and go to hell like snowflakes in winter, as St Leonard of Port Maurice wrote . The concept of purgatory is also a terrible fear, as it is like a mini hell. Though temporary it is the absence of God. This is why they need our prayers, they suffer and we can help them ever towards their eternal reward.

  3. Dear Mundabor.

    I like you, sleep lightly, wake at all hours, at varying times, and sleep is fleeting. Dozy during the late afternoon like a piece of wood. I have at times come to a precipice during the waking time at night about the death. A glimpse , a feeling of fear! Then reassured by prayer and a better feeling comes over me. Pray to the end I feel and let God be our final word spoken.

    Marcellus

  4. There is a reason Holy Church has the Office of the Dead, why we have All Souls Day, and why many of the great saints carried skulls with them. There is a reason why St. Theresa of Avilla and the children at Fatima saw Hell. Holy Church, in her wisdom, wants us to “fear the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell”, if only to scare us into sanity and out of complacency…

  5. Reason no. 40,657,890 to pray the Rosary every single day. What constituent prayer of the Roary is not essentially a prayer to be delivered from hell? I pray God very often not to let me go to hell, and remind Him (as if He needed reminding) that if He were to let me have my own way, hell is right where I would immediately head.

    One of my favorite prayers of the Mass is the Hanc Igitur, wherein we pray God to “command us to be delivered from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the flock of Thine elect.” I really love the force of the English translation “COMMAND us to be delivered…and to be numbered”. What a crime it is that so many churchmen didn’t see the need to go on praying that prayer. Thank God some churchmen kept praying it anyway.

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