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Kempis on the 4 Last Things: The Torments of Hell

Luke 18:18-19

An official asked him this question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone."

2 Thessalonians 1:9

These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power


Hell, Gehenna, Hades, inferno abyss, eternal suffering... it's the same thing!

I have read many books on this subject... easily over a dozen. In no way does this make me an authority but gives me insight to the power of the dark and where I don't want to end up. Over 10 years ago I spoke to a group about the coming persecution. We may not be torn apart by wild animals in the coliseum, tortured and hung on city street light posts or slaughtered with machetes as in Africa, but we are being engaged by darkness and pure evil. So I ask the question, how many brave Catholics are there left to fight?

Kempis raises spine-tingling questions and imagery that will make one's skin crawl. I will also reference St. Faustina's diary (741)

While I agree that there are many who believe in hell and live their lives accordingly, it saddens me to no end when someone dies after an evil act or acts. Personally, I'd like to think that no one was in hell, that God has been able to save everyone. But that would be naivety. In all of God's goodness and Love, simply put, there are those who have the pride of satan, refuse to repent and accept God's grace. I weep for them.

St. Augustine wrote: “Do not despair. One of the thieves was saved. Do not presume. One of the thieves was damned.”

Do not presume indeed. Do I take any delight in writing about this? No, and it's no wonder it isn't spoken about from the pulpit; it's not something that is fun to even think about, let alone write about. However, our clergy need to be making certain things clear, damnation being one. I could say something cute, like "We need the hell scared out of us!", but that is cheesy. Still, goodness, people are going to suffer for eternity and don't even give a crap.

C.S. Lewis is quoted:

“There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason.”

Matthew 7:13

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many."


No one knows what it's really like in hell save for mystics and saints who have visited and witnessed. According to a book I read, "Saints Who Saw Hell: And Other Catholic Witnesses to the Fate of the Damned", St. Paul and St. Peter wrote of their accounts of what they witnessed. I was shocked to read about "a bottomless abyss", the hopelessness of "the time for repentance is over" and the stench of burning sulfur. On top of that, people suffer the exact same punishment and torture all day, every-single-day. There is not one ounce of relief. (I'll leave it to you to imagine the punishment of a rapist, child molester, abortionist or murderer. Think of very bad things and you may not be far off.)

And before I move to Kempis, we need to keep in mind that God does not damn us to hell! We damn us to hell. In the book described above, St. Peter wept at what he saw. An angel that was with him asked how he could be more saddened than our Lord?

Kempis begins:

"To imagine what the infernal realm of hell is really like is something which entirely exceeds the capacity of the human mind. For whatever horrors, pains, and torments we can conceive of or imagine, the reality is incomparably worse. For by means of such visions, they have been granted genuine insights, albeit by means of similitudes, into this dreadful reality. And such insights serve as a profitable warning and admonition to all the living. Summon up before the eye of your mind, therefore, a horrible and swirling chaos, or a lightless and sinister subterranean cavern, fuming with every kind of unspeakable foulness and swarming with hideous phantasms, or a burning and bottomless pit, completely suffused with scorching, acrid, and inextinguishable fires. Alternatively, you may imagine a great and immense city populated entirely by the damned and by devils, where the atmosphere is permeated by an invisible, black fire. This invisible but all-pervading fire burns with a searing intensity but emits no light or luminescence whatsoever. And over this infernal metropolis— which is the capital of hell—there is an unfathomable, opaque darkness, whereby both the senses and the mind are suffocated and reduced to a state of perpetual, tormented confusion. The air there is filled with the dire resonance of the ceaseless groans, laments, squeals, and wailings of the inhabitants."

For reiteration, our Lord's message, Matthew 25:30:

And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

More imagery from Kempis.

"For all of the damned souls cry out in pain and despair over the varied tortures and miseries they endure, while the demons (whose role it is to torment those condemned) issue forth their own malevolent cacophony of cruel taunts, callous derision, and sinister, diabolical laughter. And each of the tortures and miseries experienced by those who populate hell are unique and particular to each individual. These far exceed any pains which our bodies or hearts can experience during this mortal life. For the fire which burns so ceaselessly there is incomparably hotter than any flame found here on earth. Indeed, it is said that the fire of hell exceeds the heat of earthly fire to the same extent that our earthly fire is hotter than a mere painted picture of fire.
Next, consider the freezing cold which prevails in hell. You might wonder how this coldness can be possible, given the omnipresence of the searing flames. But the dire chill of hell is, paradoxically, felt at the very same time as its scorching fires. It is true that the pain and discomfort caused by this malevolent and diabolic combination of burning heat and bitter cold cannot be imagined by the mortal mind. Perhaps the closest approximation to be found in our earthly realms is the ghastly feeling of those afflicted with virulent and noxious fevers, who experience an overwhelming heat and a chilling frigidity at the same time, and hence they simultaneously sweat profusely whilst shivering violently.
For there resounds an unremitting cacophony of the grinding of teeth and gnashing of jaws, and wailing and weeping, and groaning and grunting, and crying and cursing."


And to think this is for eternity!!

If you are not familiar with St. Faustina's Diary, read it. I haven't read all of it, but I've read enough to know of Jesus' Divine Mercy and to realize this is not what He has planned. But, as I stated earlier, it's up to us. In keeping with her (Apostle of Divine Mercy) warning of hell, below is a complete copy of her Diary paragraph 741. (I have offered no emphasis. I didn't need to.)

Sister Faustina's Vision of Hell

"I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence...the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell." (Diary 741)

The Apostle of Divine Mercy St. Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy

"Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures 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 devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and 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 the sufferings. Indescribable 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. I would have died 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. No One Can Say There is No Hell 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 terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God's mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin."


I challenge anyone to mock this and ridicule. I write this, again, to help those in darkness and under the influence of satan to take heed and repent. I keep hearing about how some think the devil isn't real, "it's just another religion", "satan loves us", and so on. Satan hates our guts! He can't wait to drag us to the fiery abyss so he and his demons can punish us... the kind of hideous tortures describe above. This is his mission.He hates God and what God created. Have I made my point?

I may be preaching to the choir, I get that. For the longest time I couldn't figure out the wide and narrow paths. I constantly debated, "Doesn't God love us to the point where He could never damn us?" Through scripture and wise authors, I figured it out. Again, He doesn't damn us, we damn us.

I watch the path becoming narrower and narrower. It scares me for those who have too much pride to admit that God is the side they need to be on. As Catholics we need to pray for their souls so that we may not be judged.

God Bless you!

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