The present scorching sun added with the cruel heat can be powerful reminders of its existence. Tell me if you just happen to be for a moment in these unbearable summer temperatures how can you ever fail not thinking, at least for a minute, about it? Yes! About hell!
Contrary to what some may fancifully argue, hell is a blatant reality! Literature already tells us about its existence. Who can one forget the nine circles of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy? In its very first circle Dante puts the unbaptised. In the second circle he inserts those people who are plagued by lust. In the next cycle there are people dominated by gluttony. The fourth hell cycle is inhabited by the greedy. The coming circle is the dwelling place of people who are plagued by unresolved anger. Heretics have their place reserved in the sixth cycle whereas the seventh cycle is the home of those who perpetrate violence due to their unbridled hate. The eight cycle houses those involved in all kinds of fraud. Whereas the final circle is the super special habitat for persons engaged in treachery. In other words, those who betrayed anyone’s trust.
The Bible, the revealed Word of God, is crystal clear hell’s existence. The words of Jesus himself, the Son of the Living God made man, speak by themselves about this most horrible reality: Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matt 25:41). Through His Church, who is Jesus Christ living amongst us, Christ teaches us: “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (Cathecism of the Catholic Church, no: 1035).
Christian mysticism is direct regarding hell’s existence. For instance, Saint Faustina Kowalska wrote in her Diary:
Today, I was led by an angel to the chasm of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures that I saw; the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it — a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness, and a terrible, suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devil and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and of their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of their sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like” (no.741).
Pope Francis warns: “Convert! There is still time, so that you don’t end up in hell. That is what awaits you if you continue on this path. You had afather and a mother: think of them. Cry a little and convert.”
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have the most need of your mercy.