“As Our Lady spoke these last words, she opened her hands once more, as she had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly: You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
Sister Lucia Santos – Seer at Fatima
I have had some conversations recently with some people who do not believe hell exists. They believe in God, heaven and the universe, but not in hell. The belief is that a good and loving God couldn’t possibly send people to hell for all eternity and that Christ had paid all. And that in the end all are saved because God is in everything, therefore hell cannot exist. I know this isn’t true. I know hell does exist.
Because of these conversations, I felt that God wanted me to contemplate hell. Not something I would enjoy doing. Many of you know I have felt God show me an experience of this already.
But I asked God to reconcile it with me; that He is good and loving, in everything, and that there is a hell. I told Him I know the teachings of the Church and I believe them totally, but could he teach me? God spoke, “what is the unforgivable sin?” I answered, “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.”
He asked, “what does that mean?” I answered, “a rejection of God in us at our death, a rejection of your mercy.” And then God showed me something. He showed me the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. One the source of divine life, the other, when we make it our source brings death.
And I realized, that though hell is an absence of God, he is still allowing us to exist. Hell is the absence of God in our own soul, where we forever go if we reject him all the way to death. But, he really never ever stopped loving us. If he did, we would cease to be at all. We would just cease to exist. God is pure love. All of existence is created from this love.
Even in hell His love continues to generate us, because God is a source outside of ourselves. But he gave us free will as a gift. And if we are to experience that love, we must receive it from him and not reject it. We must actually cooperate in our own Salvation, God does not force it on us. We must not reject God’s mercy. Love is a choice. He chooses to love us, but what do we choose? If we choose to reject Him at our death, he still maintains our existence because He is love, he cannot stop loving, but we, we have rejected the love of our own choice so love is absent within us. He allows us to experience His absence, He allows us to experience separation from love because it is what we requested. This is why the children at Fatima said they saw flames that issued from within themselves.
God is a gentleman. He never stops loving us. But He doesn’t force himself on us either. We have to choose to receive His love. In this light the existence of hell makes perfect sense. Hell is what we ask for, and because free will is a gift, we can do with it as we please. We can turn that gift into a gift itself; A gift of ourselves back to God and others, or we can see the gift as our only source instead of seeing the giver and reject the source itself. And this my friends, is the making of hell.
A couple final thoughts, Sometimes I feel as though the fire of God is the same in heaven or hell, that God is unchanging and his love is like a fire. If we receive it and cooperate with His will we become boldly confident and filled with God’s glory, if we reject it, it burns us with unquenchable fire and suffering. The difference being our own free will’s choice.
Responsorial Psalm 66 from Mass readings August 14, 2019
Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire.
Lastly, I highly recommend watching this video of one man’s experience of hell. It is long, but very worth the watch.