The pain of hell. How can I imagine, Lord? How can I picture the “place”? How can
You show me, for hell is where You’re not – or it wouldn’t be hell, eh?

Today’s Gospel is a help: “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you
cursed of My Father, into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels!’”

To hear and know Your displeasure, Jesus. To hear You address me as Your enemy, as a
rebel, as disobedient. To see You! To see Truth, and Beauty, and Goodness. To see the
One for whom we were created, and to hear and know Your displeasure! To be told there
is no time now for forgiveness, for hope, for mercy, for repentance. To cry out, “Jesus!
Save me!” and
to not receive an answer! To be left alone. To know that I am about to be
cast out of Your presence…never to return. To hear the growing anger in Your voice,
addressed to me:

“I was hungry, and you gave Me no food. I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink. I
was naked, and you gave Me no clothes. Sick, and you did not visit Me. Imprisoned,
and you left Me there alone. A stranger, and you treated Me like dirt, refusing to
welcome Me!”

To hear these words, and not as a teaching, as a spurring on to see You in all men and
women, but to hear them
addressed personally to me! To see You walk away from me.
To see You turn Your back on me. To realize that there will be no return, no second
chance, no opportunity for forgiveness. To see and to hear, as it were, the door to heaven
shut in my face. Bolted tight from the inside. To be told, “You are not
welcome here! I
do not know you!”

To see it all become dark. To feel nothing but anxiety, a fear of the unknown, of what is
coming for me…of
who is coming for me! To be given into the hands of those who care
nothing for law, order, good, beauty; whose pleasure is to hurt, steal, and to kill…
only here I cannot die!

To have seen my King, the One in whose image I am made –
still am made – and to be
cast out. Rejected. Called “accursed” of the Father. To be grouped with the devil and
his angels. To be considered Your enemy – forever.

To feel the rejection of the only One in whose delight I take, and to know He cannot be

To see You turn and walk away from me!
And then to begin to be torn apart from inside of myself! The pain in my heart, in my
soul. To feel
absolute despair! Utter desolation! No hope of ever being consoled! To
want to die…
but I can’t die here! To realize my whole existence, now, for all eternity, is
to be like

To want to end the pain, the dullness, the sorrow – the
absolute emptiness of existence,
for it is pointless now (we are created to know, love and serve You, God, but in hell we
can’t). Utterly frustrated. Filled with meaninglessness. And to realize it is never going
to get better, and it is
never going to end!

To see in my mind those things which I once held so dear in this life…and to realize that
them I failed to love You and my brothers and sisters, and now I am without hope. To
see the fleeting pleasures of the flesh enjoyed, and to know pleasure will
never be felt
. All because these things were preferred to You! To see this life here for what it
is: a few short years, not to be wasted, not to be taken for granted, not to be lived in just
any old way. But to love, to serve, to give. To see all this, know all this, and not be able
to change it, to go back, to rectify anything.

To feel myself the rejection — that rejection which is the result of my rejection of You,
of Your free gift – which only needed to be received.
To cry, “My God, my God! Why have You abandoned me?” And to know there will be
no Easter Sunday. No answer. No response at all. My name to be blotted out, and my
body and soul cast into utter darkness.

To spend the rest of my existence –
days that will never end – without any meaning, any
purpose. In fact, to spend them in utter unfulfillment, for we were made for You.
I was
made for You, to see You, to know You, love You, worship You – and none of these
will I do
To be completely
No one.
No communication.
No comfort.
No one to talk with.
To laugh with.
To be comforted by.
To comfort.
No friend –
not one!

Yet with all my memories and recollections of this life here and now: those memories of
when I had friends, and of how I took them for granted. Of when I had hope. Of when I
had the Eucharist. Prayer. Family. You! All still in my mind, in my memories – and
there forever –
but gone forever!

Hell doesn’t seem right if it’s some devilish “torture chamber.” It’s far worse. You
didn’t create hell, complete with all sorts of “suitable” punishments for our offenses. We
choose it. And You
leave us. There’s no feeling. No contact. No thing to be with us —
and this is what tortures! We’re made for You, and for each other: to be in relations. But
there in hell there are none! We’re just
alone. Like two people in a room, and then, one
gets up, walks out the door, and never comes back. And no one else ever enters. And
even if you should leave and seek out someone else, you’ll never find anyone.

O, God,
help me not to take friendships for granted! Help me to love others, to be
grateful to You and to them for the gift they are
in themselves – not for what they do for
me, but for
who they are!

How is it I can cast others out of my life now, when in hell, even for an enemy one must
have a longing! For at least that person would bring contact, interaction, and a

O, Lord, may I be inspired to live a new life: to go out of my way to seek others out, to
speak with them, to reach out to them, to befriend them. Help me realize what a great
gift we are to each other, to realize that we are made to be social, and that hell is the
inability to be what we are made to be.

For the friendships and people that I take for granted, forgive me. For my coldness,
rudeness, anti-socialness, forgive me. For the grace to see others as the gifts they are,
help me! O, God, may this
bear fruit in my life, and not merely be some intellectual or
imaginative exercise!
Even today!

Thank You that
I’m still alive! That I’m able to reflect on such things. Help me in my
resolve to amend my ways.

The sounds of hell…

What if the real pain of hell is not being alone…? What if in that moment when You
close the door to heaven and You leave me forever (!)
another enters the room…one who
has hated me from my birth, has tempted me, delights in my rebellion, and can’t wait to
get “his hands” on me? Who has been my whole life long working to deceive me, and
now has “the fruits” of his labors. What
terror would fill my soul to even be in such a
presence! What anguish! What screams would arise, hideous screams, at encountering
pure hatred, pure evil, pure wickedness! To encounter one who not only hates me totally,
but mocks me, laughs at me – at my situation, at my utter stupidity and weakness in
refusing Your love.

What would
that sound like?
My screams.
His laughter.
Growing all the louder…
for all eternity!

The filth. The smell. The taste. Assaulted in my nostrils with complete decay. I try to
breathe instead through my mouth, but as I do so, I taste what I smell! And so I go from
worse to worse. Continually assaulted – in my body – by the smell and taste of filth. I’m
tasting decay! I’m tasting death. Only no one is dying. No one passes from this nonbeing…it just goes on…

O, Lord, take me out of this. Help me
look at this, but not be there!

O, the reality of hell. The reality of such a non-existence! The reality that
so many times
in my life
I could have died – and died in mortal sin. That so many times I have acted in a
way as to
deserve this – in fairness and justice. I could be dead…right now! I could be
! I could be forever cast out from You. The door closed. No way out. No
opportunity to repent. No point in saying, “But, Lord, You know I really love You,”
when my actions have made it clear that I don’t love You. It could be
me. Right now!
In hell! Without hope. Without mercy. With only pain. Utter torment. Desolation.
Meaninglessness. No sense to keep me going. No reason to go on…yet no way to stop.
I could be in hell right now!
Yet I live! I am here! How? Why?
I’ve done nothing to deserve a second chance. Nothing to earn another opportunity.
There has been no reason to think I’ll do better “next time.” I
still sin.


O, Jesus, I thank You that I live now! That it was not my lot to live before You came, or
when You came, or that I have not been lost in this age after You’ve come. Praise You
for the grace of life –
this life! Here and now! With an opportunity to respond here and
now to Your offer of mercy! O, my Lord, thank You! What more can I possibly say?
Thank You!
I am a recipient of grace upon grace. Gift upon gift. Morning by morning new mercies I

Help me not to waste this chance. Strengthen my resolve to love: You and neighbor. To
cast aside vanity and idolatry and all that hinders me from responding to You. As Your
grace is so great that still I live, so I pray for the grace to respond all the more with this

I need You.

O, God, thank You that up til this very moment, here and now, for
me, You have been

O, Father, thank You that You have not demanded my life, wrapped it up “like a weaver
who severs the last thread.”

O, God, overwhelm me with gratitude, with wonder, with awe, that all this has been done
me. You have been merciful to me. Given me second chances. Saved me.

I cannot understand why!

Because love does such things!

Before such love how can I remain lukewarm? How can I not give You
all? How can I
not offer myself totally to You? Help me, then, see my mission given to me by You.

I’m alive still!

Deepen my love for You! My desire and resolve to respond to Your love for me!
O, Jesus, O, Father, O, Holy Spirit: my God and my all. I pray for the grace to know ever
more intimately, in the very core of my being, what You have done for me. And in
knowing that, for the grace to respond wholeheartedly to You.

Without a vision of hell our vision of heaven is not complete.

Pray for the lost more often than those counted blest

God bless from


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