The first thing Father Ignatius noticed as he entered hell is the total and absolute darkness of the place. Not the faintest glimmer of light shone in that bottomless abyss of intense void.
He tried hard to peer into the pitch-black darkness to make out something, but it was totally in vain. He could see nothing. Totally and completely nothing.
It was then that he noticed the full and utter silence which accompanied the extreme blackness of this place. Not a sound whatsoever. It was as if he had gone suddenly deaf. He rubbed his fingers in his ears and concentrated hard but silence reigned supreme. He clapped his hands together but heard nothing. He spoke to himself and could not hear his own voice.
Darkness and silence had partnered together and negated all the senses as he knew them. He could not smell anything whatsoever. No burning fires and brimstone, or the acrid smell of sulphur he’d expected in this place. He could feel no burning sensation and pain. No cries of help or gnashing of teeth.
In other words; hell was nothing.
Hell was a total void of everything physical as he’d experienced in his previous life.
Yet in this pure nothingness he felt a very powerful and intense feeling of extreme sadness. An overwhelming grief leading to desolation and desperation tormented his very soul.
A continuous sensation of sorrow and anguish filled the emptiness which was hell.
He sensed other souls there too. He could not make out who or where they were but they were there, somehow, sharing the void with him. Awareness of others but no means of communication, loneliness reigned for ever.
He felt a telepathic sensation of these souls in similar torment. Not in words, not in images, but in a mutual empathic awareness, as if they were one with him.
He shared these souls’ torment which had lasted for … … … an eternity.
There seemed to be no beginning as to when those souls arrived in this eternal void, nor any prospect of when their terrible terrible suffering would end. The total and perfect hopelessness of this state of nothingness, this state of wretched emptiness, engulfed the forgotten souls consumed by their everlasting regrets.
For these lost souls constantly and interminably, individually, viewed and reviewed over and again their past lives on earth; filled with memories best forgotten yet brought to mind with no respite. The inner pain from such memories tortured these forgotten souls left here all alone. Each in his own void of nothingness.
Father Ignatius shared with these souls the deep desire to weep bitterly for past mistakes and present solitary ordeal. But this was not possible, for there are no tears in hell. No matter how strong the desire to cry in profound regret, and so gain some temporary relief, this was not possible in a state of void. So the pain, sorrow and sadness built up within one’s soul and consumed it eternally from within; with no respite whatsoever.
What’s worse, is that the constant agonies of regret were persistently underlined by another sensation.
The full knowledge, with unshakable certainty, of the existence of God.
The tormented souls in hell had been given, on entering this void, undoubted and unquestionable proof that God indeed exists. And somehow, they had witnessed His immeasurable and overwhelming love for His creations.
Yet these wretched souls also knew, without a doubt, that for an interminable eternity, they would be totally excluded from that Fatherly, Divine love.
Father Ignatius realized that hell consisted of complete isolation with ones thoughts and regrets, and the sure knowledge that there will never be an end in sight. No light at the end of the tunnel. For there is no tunnel!
A permanent state of inner pain and sorrow, coupled with the knowledge that God’s love is for ever out of reach.
“What a terrible state of despair and hopelessness” thought Father Ignatius, “to know for certain that God exists; and to know of His love for us; yet to be excluded from that perfect love for ever. To remain here, in a state of total void, filled with past memories and regrets for deeds long past. Alone, in permanent thoughts of total and infinite exclusion!”
Father Ignatius woke up suddenly from his turbulent dream.
It was then that he heard in his head, clear as a bell, the words: “Go and warn all you get to meet not to come to this place!”