Saints' Quotes

holy quotations for purification of the soul



Selections

for reflection and meditation


Hell



One Hundred and Two Texts



'And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: If any man shall adore the beast and his image, and receive his character in his forehead, or in his hand; He also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mingled with pure wine in the cup of his wrath, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the sight of the holy angels, and in the sight of the Lamb.

And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever: neither have they rest day nor night, who have adored the beast, and his image, and whoever receiveth the character of his name.'

Apocalypse 14:9-11


'But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'

Apocalypse 21:8


'And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake: Some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, to see it always.'

Daniel 12:2


'Humble thy spirit very much: for the vengeance on the flesh of the ungodly is fire and worms.'

Ecclesiasticus 7:19


'Therefore I also will deal with them in my wrath: my eye shall not spare them, neither will I shew mercy: and when they shall cry to my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them. '

Ezechiel 8:18


'Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.'

Galatians 5:19-21


'Who of us can live with the consuming fire? Who of us can live with the everlasting flames?'

Isaias 33:14


'They shall go out, and see the corpses of the men that have rebelled against me; their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched: and they shall be abhorrent to all mankind.'

Isaias 66:24


'But the wicked are like the raging sea, which cannot rest, and the waves thereof cast up dirt and mire. There is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord God.'

Isaias 57:20-21


'And thou shalt be left stripped of thy inheritance, which I gave thee: and I will make thee serve thy enemies in a land which thou knowest not: because thou hast kindled a fire in my wrath, it shall burn for ever. Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.'

Jeremias 17:4-5


'Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death: a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth.'

Job 10:21-22


'He shall be punished for all that he did, and yet shall not be consumed: according to the multitude of his devices so also shall he suffer. . . he shall burn, and every sorrow shall fall upon him. . . All darkness is hid in his secret places: a fire that is not kindled shall devour him. . .'

Job 20:18,22,26


'And he said to them: You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world.

Therefore I said to you, that you shall die in your sins. For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.'

John 8:23-24


'If any one abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth.'

John 15:6


'The angels too, who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgement of the great day.'

Jude 6


'Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding towns, indulged in fornication and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.'

Jude 7


'Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion; wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.'

Jude 13


'For the Lord Almighty will take revenge on them, in the day of judgment he will visit them. For he will give fire, and worms into their flesh, that they may burn, and may feel for ever.'

Judith 16:20 -21


'Whose fan is in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.'

Luke 3:17


'And I say to you, my friends: Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will shew you whom you shall fear: fear ye him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear him.'

Luke 12:4-5


'But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.'

Mark 3:29


'And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.

And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.'

Mark 9:42-47


'And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. '

Matthew 10:28


'The Son of man shall send his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Matthew 10:28


'And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Matthew 25:30


'Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.'

Matthew 25:41-46


'For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered them, drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell, unto torments, to be reserved unto judgment: And spared not the original world, but preserved Noe, the eighth person, the preacher of justice, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.

And reducing the cities of the Sodomites, and of the Gomorrhites, into ashes, condemned them to be overthrown, making them an example to those that should after act wickedly. And delivered just Lot, oppressed by the injustice and lewd conversation of the wicked. For in sight and hearing he was just: dwelling among them, who from day to day vexed the just soul with unjust works.

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly from temptation, but to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented. And especially them who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government, audacious, self willed, they fear not to bring in sects, blaspheming.'

2 Peter 2:4-10


'I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared. When sudden calamity shall fall on you, and destruction, as a tempest, shall be at hand: when tribulation and distress shall come upon you: Then shall they call upon me, and I will not hear: they shall rise in the morning and shall not find me: Because they have hated instruction and received not the fear of the Lord, nor consented to my counsel, but despised all my reproof.

Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and shall be filled with their own devices. '

Proverbs 1:25-31


'He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.'

Psalms 2:4


'The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God.'

Psalms 9:18


'Thou shalt make them as an oven of fire, in the time of thy anger: the Lord shall trouble them in his wrath, and fire shall devour them.'

Psalms 20:10


'The enemies of the Lord have lied to him: and their time shall be for ever. '

Psalms 80:16


'Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God. '

1 Corinthians 6:9-10


'Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God: neither shall corruption possess incorruption.'

1 Corinthians 15:50


'For we must all be manifested before the judgement seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil.'

2 Corinthians 5:10


'. . . in blazing fire, inflicting punishment on those who do not acknowledge God these will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. . . '

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9


'Oh, what strength has not the fear of Hell to rein us in from sin!

To that end has God created Hell. . . it is His wish and command that we should be in fear of eternal damnation. Some heretics hold, that all who are not in sin should consider themselves as assuredly just and predestined; but these have with reason been condemned by the Council of Trent (Sess. 6 can. 14, 15), because such a presumption is as perilous to salvation as fear is conducive to it.

"And let Him be your dread, and He shall be a sanctification unto you." [Is. 8:13]

The holy fear of God makes man holy. Wherefore David begged of God the grace of fear, in order that fear might destroy in him the inclinations of the flesh.

"Pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear." [Ps. 118:120]

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


'Poor Judas! Above seventeen hundred years have elapsed since he has been in Hell, and his Hell is still only beginning.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


'The good pleasure of God, if we truly love it, ought to be preferred by us to the acquisition of all riches, of the loftiest glory, of all the delights of earth, and even of Paradise itself; for it is certain that all the blessed, if they were to know that it would please God more that they should burn in hell, one and all, even the Mother of God among them, would cast themselves into that abyss of flames, and suffer eternally in order to give greater pleasure to God.'

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


'Woe is me! Woe is me! Against Whom have I sinned? I have dishoured God; provoked the Omnipotent. Sinner that I am, what have I done! Against Whom have I done it! How wickedly have I done it! Alas, alas! O wrath of the Omnipotent, fall not on me; wrath of the Omnipotent, where could I endure thee? There is no place in all of me that could bear thy weight. O anguish! Here, sins accusing; there, justice terrifying; beneath, the yawning frightful pit of hell; above, an angry Judge; within, a burning conscience; around, a flaming universe! The just will scarcely be saved; and the sinner entangled thus, whither, whither shall he fly? Tight bound, where shall I crouch and cower; how shall I show my face? To hide will be impossible, to appear will be intolerable; I shall long for the one, and it is nowhere; I shall loathe the other, and it is everywhere! What then? What then? What will happen then? Who will snatch me from the hands of God?'

St. Anselm of Canterbury, 'Meditations'


'The natural fire that we see during this life has great power to burn and torment. Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of Hell. There are two reasons why the fire of Hell is more dreadful beyond all comparison than the fire of this life.

The first reason is the justice of God, which the fire serves as an instrument in order to punish the infinite wrong done to his supreme majesty, which has been despised by a creature. Therefore, justice supplies this element with a burning power, which almost reaches the infinite. . .

The second reason is the malice of sin. As God knows that the fire of this world is not enough to punish sin, as it deserves, He has given the fire of Hell a power so strong that it can never be comprehended by any human mind. Now, how powerfully does this fire burn?

It burns so powerfully, O my soul, that, according to the ascetical masters, if a mere spark of it fell on a millstone; it would reduce it in a moment to powder. If it fell on a ball of bronze, it would melt it in an instant as if it were wax. If it landed on a frozen lake, it would make it boil in an instant.'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'Suppose that, in the case of unhappy Cain, weeping in Hell, he shed in every thousand years just one tear. Now, O my soul, recollect your thoughts and suppose this case: For six thousand years at least Cain has been in Hell and shed only six tears, which God miraculously preserves. How many years would pass for his tears to fill all the valleys of the earth and flood all the cities and towns and villages and cover all the mountains so as to flood the whole earth? We understand the distance from the earth to the sun is thirty-four million leagues. How many years would be necessary for Cain's tears to fill that immense space? From the earth to the firmament is, let us suppose, a distance of a hundred and sixty million leagues.

O God! What number of years might one imagine to be sufficient to fill with these tears this immense space? And yet - O truth so incomprehensible - be sure of it, as that God cannot lie - a time will arrive in which these tears of Cain would be sufficient to flood the world, to reach even the sun, to touch the firmament, and fill all the space between earth and the highest heaven. But that is not all.

If God dried up all these tears to the last drop and Cain began again to weep, he would again fill the same entire space with them and fill it a thousands times and a million times in succession, and after all those countless years, not even half of eternity would have passed, not even a fraction. After all that time burning in Hell, Cain's sufferings will be just beginning.

This eternity is also without relief. It would indeed be a small consolation and of little benefit for the condemned persons to be able to receive a brief respite once every thousand years. '

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God.'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'If I saw anyone about to fall into a pit or a fire, would I not run up to him and warn him, and do all in my power to help him from falling in? Why should I not do this much to keep sinners from falling into the pit and fires of Hell?

Neither can I understand why other priests who believe the selfsame truths as I do, as we all must do, do not preach or exhort their flock so that they might avoid this unbearable eternity of Hell. It is still a source of wonder to me how the laity - those men and women blessed with the Faith - do not give warning to those who need it. If a house were to catch fire in the middle of the night, and if the inhabitants of the same house and the other townsfolk were asleep and did not see the danger, would not the one who first noticed it shout and run along the streets, exclaiming: "Fire! Fire! In that house over there!" Then why should there not be a warning of eternal fire to waken those who are drifting in the sleep of sin in such a way that when they open their eyes they will find themselves burning in the eternal flames of Hell?'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


"In Hell," according to St. Gregory the Great, "there will be a fire that cannot be put out, a worm which cannot die, a stench one cannot bear, a darkness one can feel, a scourging by savage hands, with those present despairing of anything good."

A most dreadful fact is that by the divine power this fire goes so far as to work on the very faculties of the soul, burning them and tormenting them. Suppose I were to find myself placed at the oven of a smith so that my whole body was in the open air but for one arm placed in the fire, and that God were to preserve my life for a thousand years in this position. Would this not be an unbearable torture? What, then, would it be like to be completely penetrated and surrounded by fire, which would affect not just an arm, but even all the faculties of the soul?

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'The strongest desire of a damned soul in hell is to die. (Men shall seek death and shall not find it. And they shall desire to die: and death shall fly from them Apoc. 9,6). For knowing it can never appease God's anger, it desires death as the only means of escape. But it will desire this in vain; the damned person will live as long as God will live! Just as God forever preserves the saints in Heaven to delight them with new pleasures, so He will allow forever the damned to live in hell, to always torment them with new sufferings.'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'The wretched damned will curse their sins over and over again, yet they will remain for ever impenitent. They will roar with pitiful moans, they will shed tears enough to flood the earth. A time will come when they could say, I have suffered in these flames a thousand million years for every single mortal sin. In spite of this, they will not calm God's anger nor move Him to pity.'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'The Blessed Virgin, one's guardian angel, all the saints, love a man, however wicked, as long as he lives on earth.

But once he is condemned by God, then God's friends agree in God's judgment and condemnation. For all eternity they will not have a kind thought for this wretched soul. Rather they will be satisfied to see him in the flames as a victim of God's justice. ("The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge" - Ps. 57:11.)

They will abhor him. A mother will look from paradise upon her own condemned son in hell without being moved, as though she had never known him. ("Better for him had he never been born" - Mk. 14:21).'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'What is worse, is that in all the immense throng of persons damned in hell, no one will fail to increase the torments of his companions, due to the horror each one causes the other, the anger with which they rage against one another, and due to the heat, the stench and the closeness in which they are condemned to live. . . God delivers the damned soul up to the enemy's will. And, alas! what will the devil not do with this soul? As the devil is tremendously powerful, has great hatred for man, is full of rage, he will torment the souls in hell according to the number and gravity of the sins they have committed and for which they are damned.'

St. Anthony Mary Claret


'That fire is more deadly than any which man can suffer in this life.'

St. Augustine


'I am filled with fear and trembling, and all my bones are shaken at the thought of that unhappy country of the damned.'

'Totus tremo atque horreo; ad memoriam istius regionis concussa sunt omnla ossa me.'

St. Bernard


'There is no offering for sin for thee, who art dead in sins. The Son of God will not be crucified again. He died. He does not die again. His blood, which was poured out on the earth, does not flow down to hell.'

St. Bernard


'One damned soul, if he came into the world, would suffice to infect the entire of it.'

St. Bonaventure


'When I beheld that vision in which I saw the magnitude of the stain of even one least sin against God, I know not why I did not die. I said: "I no longer marvel that hell is so horrible, since it was made for sin; for even hell (as I have seen it) I do not believe to be really proportionate to the dreadfulness of sin; on the contrary, it seems to me that even in hell God is very merciful, since I have beheld the terrible stain caused by but one venial sin. And what, in comparison to that, would be a mortal sin? And then so many mortal sins?"'

St. Catherine of Genoa


'I saw the torments of hell and those of purgatory; no words can describe them. Had poor mortals the faintest idea of them, they would suffer a thousand deaths rather than undergo the least of their torments during a single day.'

St. Catherine of Siena


'All souls are immortal, even those of the wicked. Yet, it would be better for them if they were not deathless. For they are punished with the endless vengeance of quenchless fire. Since they do not die, it is impossible for them to have an end put to their misery.'

St. Clement of Alexandria


'That unhappy wretch hath not lied unto me, but unto God, and his name shall be blotted out of the book of life. We are speaking these words now in the middle of summer, but in autumn, before he shall eat of swine's flesh that hath been fattened on the fruits of the trees, he shall be seized by a sudden death, and carried off to the infernal regions.'

St. Columba


'The wicked bodies of the condemned shall simmer and blaze in those living fires.'

St. Cyprian of Carthage


'The wicked will for ever dwell amidst devouring fire. There the rich man will burn without any one to cool his tongue with even one drop of water. Every evil lust and passion will have its appropriate punishment, and despair will add to the miseries of the lost. God will then have no pity on the penitent. Too late will be their confession, for when the door is shut, in vain will those who are without oil seek to enter. From thence there is no release. Christ once descended into hell; He will not go thither again. The condemned will not again see God in their dark dwelling. The sentence passed will be irrevocable, the judgment of condemnation stands changeless and fixed for all eternity.'

St. Cyprian of Carthage


'Oh, what a day that will be, and how great when it comes, dearest brethren! when the Lord begins to survey His people and to recognize by examining with divine knowledge the merits of each individual! to cast into hell evildoers, and to condemn our persecutors to the eternal fire and punishing flame! . . . When that unveiling has come and when the brightness of God shines about us, honored by the condescension of the Lord, we shall be as blessed and joyful as they will remain guilty and miserable -- those deserters of God and rebels against God, who have done the will of the devil, so that it is necessary for them to be tortured along with him in the unquenchable fire. '

St. Cyprian of Carthage


'Alas! Of what kind is that place of wailing and of gnashing of teeth. . . at which even Satan shudders? O Woe! What kind of place is it, where the unsleeping worm dieth not? What dread misery to be sent into outer darkness? Of what kind of angels placed over these torments, who pitiless and frightful, punish by casting in there, while at the same time the reproach most grievously? Then shall those already in the midst of the torments cry out with pleading voices, and there will be no one to speak for them to the Lord, and they shall not be heard. Then they will learn that the things which happened to them in this life were as nothing; and those that here seemed sweet, were more bitter than gall and wormwood.'

St. Ephrem of Syria


'Conclusions of confusion. I have been made out of nothing. I have been brought to nothing. I do not know what I am. If I know anything, this only do I know, that Hell would be my proper abode. Of myself I do nothing.'

'Positiones confusionis. Ex nihilo factus sum. Ad nihilum redactus sum. Quid sim ignoro. Si aliquid scio, hoc tantum scio, infernum domum meam esse. Ex me ipso facio nihil.'

St. Francis Borgia


'Represent to yourself a dark city all burning and stinking with fire and brimstone. The damned are in the depth of hell within this woeful city, where they suffer unspeakable torments in all their senses and members. Consider above all the eternity of their pains, which above all things makes hell intolerable.'

St. Francis de Sales


'Beware, my daughter, of resisting grace; before eight days God will punish you.'

St. Francis of Jerome


'The souls of the just, although in the goodness of their nature they feel compassion. yet after they have been united to the righteousness of their Author, are constrained by such great uprightness as not to be moved with compassion towards the reprobate.'

St. Gregory


'Let us fancy we see hell, and imagine what is worst to behold - a horrible cavern full of black flames. Sulphur, devils, dragons, fire, swords, arrows, and innumerable damned who roar in despair. Imagine the worst you can, and then say, "All this is nothing compared to hell" . . . In that voracious subterranean cavern all the filth of the world is collected and inclosed, without exhalation or air, which must produce a most foetid pestilence . . . The sight is tormented by frightful devils; a holy religious saw at death two so monstrous and ugly devils, that he cried out that rather than see them again he would walk till the day of judgment on fire of sulphur and melted metal.'

St. Ignatius of Loyola


'To whomsoever the Lord shall say, "Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire," they will be damned forever.'

St. Irenaeus of Lyons


'I looked up in terror and saw in the distance someone racing down the path at an uncontrollable speed. I kept my eyes on him, trying to identify him, and as he got closer, I recognized him as one of my boys. His disheveled hair was partly standing upright on his head and partly tossed back by the wind. His arms were outstretched as though he were thrashing the water in an attempt to stay afloat. He wanted to stop, but could not. Tripping on the protruding stones, he kept falling even faster. "Let's help him, let's stop him," I shouted, holding out my hands in a vain effort to restrain him.

"Leave him alone," the guide replied.

"Why?"

"Don't you know how terrible God's vengeance is? Do you think you can restrain one who is fleeing from His just wrath?"

Meanwhile the youth had turned his fiery gaze backward in an attempt to see if God's wrath were still pursuing him. The next moment he fell tumbling to the bottom of the ravine and crashed against the bronze portal as though he could find no better refuge in his flight.

"Why was he looking backward in terror?" I asked.

"Because God's wrath will pierce Hell's gates to reach and torment him even in the midst of fire!"'

St. John Bosco


'Do you see that to call men to account is a proof of great goodness?

But why do I speak of slaves, who more readily fall into these sins? But let a man have sons, and let him permit them to do everything they will, and let him not punish them; will they not be worse than anything? Tell me. In the case of men then, it is a mark of goodness to punish, and of cruelty not to punish, and is it not so in the case of God?

So that because He is good, therefore He has prepared a hell.'

St. John Chrysostom


'No more is it possible for the evildoer, the avaricious, and the treacherous to hide from God than it is for the virtuous. Every man will receive the eternal punishment or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognized this, no one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments.'

St. Justin Marytr


'We have been taught that only they may aim at immortality who have lived a holy and virtuous life near to God. We believe that they who live wickedly and do not repent will be punished in everlasting fire.'

St. Justin Marytr


''Then he shall come from the heavens in glory with his angelic host, when he shall raise the bodies of all the men who ever lived. Then he will clothe the worthy in immortality; but the wicked, clothed in eternal sensibility, he will commit to the eternal fire, along with the evil demons.'

St. Justin Marytr


'There will the condemned in cruel rage and despair turn their fury against God and themselves, gnawing their flesh with their mouth, breaking their teeth with gnashing, furiously tearing themselves with their nails, and everlastingly blaspheming against the judge. . . Oh wretched tongues that will speak no word save blasphemy! Oh miserable ears that will hear no sound but groans! Oh unhappy eyes that will see nothing but agonies! Oh tortured bodies that will have no refreshment but flames. . . We are terrified when we hear of executioners -- scourging men, disjointing them, dismembering, tearing them in pieces, burning them with plates of red-hot metal. But these things are but a jest, a shadow compared with the torments of the next life.'

St. Louis of Granada


'Alas! I could not bear the sight of them. How could I, as the mere noise of these despairing yells caused me an unbearable horror?'

St. Lydwine of Schiedam


'Of a surety the death of the wicked thief was not a descent from the cross, as the death of the good thief was, for even now that wretched man is dwelling in hell, and will dwell there for ever, since "the worm" of the wicked, "shall not die, and the fire of hell shall not be quenched." And the cross of the rich glutton, that is the cross of those who store up riches, which are most aptly compared by our Lord to thorns that cannot be handled or kept with impunity, does not cease with this life as the cross of poor Lazarus did, but it accompanies him to hell, where it unceasingly burns and torments him, and forces him to cry out for a drop of water to cool his burning tongue "for I am tormented in this flame."'

St. Robert Bellarmine


'. . . I was one day in prayer when I found myself in a moment, without knowing how, plunged apparently into hell. I understood that it was our Lord's will I should see the place which the devils kept in readiness for me, and which I had deserved by my sins. It was but a moment, but it seems to me impossible I should ever forget it even if I were to live many years.

The entrance seemed to be by a long narrow pass, like a furnace, very low, dark, and close. The ground seemed to be saturated with water, mere mud, exceedingly foul, sending forth pestilential odours, and covered with loathsome vermin. At the end was a hollow place in the wall, like a closet, and in that I saw myself confined. All this was even pleasant to behold in comparison with what I felt there. There is no exaggeration in what I am saying.

But as to what I then felt, I do not know where to begin, if I were to describe it; it is utterly inexplicable. I felt a fire in my soul. I cannot see how it is possible to describe it. My bodily sufferings were unendurable. I have undergone most painful sufferings in this life, and, as the physicians say, the greatest that can be borne, such as the contraction of my sinews when I was paralysed, without speaking of others of different kinds, yea, even those of which I have also spoken, inflicted on me by Satan; yet all these were as nothing in comparison with what I felt then, especially when I saw that there would be no intermission, nor any end to them.

These sufferings were nothing in comparison with the anguish of my soul, a sense of oppression, of stifling, and of pain so keen, accompanied by so hopeless and cruel an infliction, that I know not how to speak of it. If I said that the soul is continually being torn from the body, it would be nothing, for that implies the destruction of life by the hands of another but here it is the soul itself that is tearing itself in pieces. I cannot describe that inward fire or that despair, surpassing all torments and all pain. I did not see who it was that tormented me, but I felt myself on fire, and torn to pieces, as it seemed to me; and, I repeat it, this inward fire and despair are the greatest torments of all.

Left in that pestilential place, and utterly without the power to hope for comfort, I could neither sit nor lie down: there was no room. I was placed as it were in a hole in the wall; and those walls, terrible to look on of themselves, hemmed me in on every side. I could not breathe. There was no light, but all was thick darkness. I do not understand how it is; though there was no light, yet everything that can give pain by being seen was visible.'

St. Teresa of Jesus


'Afterwards, I had another most fearful vision, in which I saw the punishment of certain sins. They were most horrible to look at; but, because I felt none of the pain, my terror was not so great. In the former vision, our Lord made me really feel those torments, and that anguish of spirit, just as if I had been suffering them in the body there. I know not how it was, but I understood distinctly that it was a great mercy that our Lord would have me see with mine own eyes the very place from which His compassion saved me. I have listened to people speaking of these things, and I have at other times dwelt on the various torments of hell, though not often, because my soul made no progress by the way of fear; and I have read of the diverse tortures, and how the devils tear the flesh with red-hot pincers. But all is as nothing before this; it is a wholly different matter. In short, the one is a reality, the other a picture; and all burning here in this life is as nothing in comparison with the fire that is there.'

St. Teresa of Jesus


'Ever since that time, as I was saying, everything seems endurable in comparison with one instant of suffering such as those I had then to bear in hell. I am filled with fear when I see that, after frequently reading books which describe in some manner the pains of hell, I was not afraid of them, nor made any account of them.'

St. Teresa of Jesus


'There, the associates of his wretchedness, far from alleviating the lot of the damned soul, will make it more intolerable for him.'

St. Thomas Aquinas


'That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more richly, a perfect sight of the punishment of the damned is granted them.'

St. Thomas Aquinas


'. . . the saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens both to wayfarers and to the damned.'

St. Thomas Aquinas


'Mercy or compassion may be in a person in two ways: first by way of passion, secondly by way of choice.

In the blessed there will be no passion in the lower powers except as a result of the reason's choice.

Hence compassion or mercy will not be in them, except by the choice of reason . . . so long as sinners are in this world they are in such a state that without prejudice to the Divine justice they can be taken away from a state of unhappiness and sin to a state of happiness. Consequently it is possible to have compassion on them both by the choice of the will -- in which sense God, the angels and the blessed are said to pity them by desiring their salvation -- and by passion, in which way they are pitied by the good men who are in the state of wayfarers.

But in the future state it will be impossible for them to be taken away from their unhappiness: and consequently it will not be possible to pity their sufferings according to right reason. Therefore the blessed in glory will have no pity on the damned.'

St. Thomas Aquinas


'Charity is the principle of pity when it is possible for us out of charity to wish the cessation of a person's unhappiness. But the saints cannot desire this for the damned, since it would be contrary to Divine justice. . . God is said to be merciful, in so far as He succors those whom it is befitting to be released from their afflictions in accordance with the order of wisdom and justice: not as though He pitied the damned except perhaps in punishing them less than they deserve.'

St. Thomas Aquinas


'It is written: "The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge." (Psalm 57:11) . . . Therefore the blessed will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked . . .

A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways.

First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy.

And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly . . .

Although God rejoices not in punishments as such, He rejoices in them as being ordered by His justice. '

St. Thomas Aquinas


'. . . do not neglect the grace that is offered to thee. The God who offers the sinner pardon, does not promise him to-morrow.'

St. Wolfrand


'Your master, died after your departure. He braved eternal fire; he has fallen into it. I have seen him this night, loaded with fiery chains, in the bottom of the abyss.'

St. Willibrord


'If the Devil and his angels, although they are incorporeal, are to be tortured by a corporeal fire, what wonder if souls, even before they are reunited with their bodies, can feel corporeal torments?'

Pope St. Gregory the Great


'There once lived a man named Chrysaorios, from among the most notable of this world. To the degree, however, that he added to his wealth, so much more he enriched his passions. Pumped up by vanity, he submitted without resistance to the passions of the flesh, endeavoring to amass many riches and inflamed by the passion of greed.

When, however, the Lord deigned to put an end to the many sins of this man, he allowed Chrysaorios to fall to a life-threatening illness. Now, when he had come to the last moment of his life, and while his eyes were still wide open, he saw before him frightful and dark-faced spirits, who were there to help escort him to the gates of Hell. He began to tremble and turn pale and was drenched with perspiration; crying out in desperation, terrified, he pleaded for a little time (in order to repent).

He called with deep and agitated cries for his son Maximos, whom I later knew as a monk when I, too, was a monk, saying: "Maximos of mine, come to me. Never have I done you wrong. Save me now with the strength of your faith."

Though none of them was able to see the evil spirits which had beset Chrysaorios, they could conclude that they were there from everything that the suffering man was saying and from his pallor and the fear which he showed, since he was turning here and there in his bed from fear of the vexatious spirits and their dark forms. One minute he would turn to the left, only to see in front of him those spirits which he dared not confront. Then he would look away toward the wall, only to see them again standing before him.

So, having despaired of any possibility of escaping from them, he began to cry out: "At least give me time until the morning -- a little time until the morning." With these cries his soul departed from the body.

In all of this, it is obvious that Chrysaorios saw all of these things not for his own benefit, but for ours, that we might learn, come to fear, and correct our ways. For of what benefit to Chrysaorios was the appearance of evil spirits before his death or the reprieve which he sought, yet did not receive?'

Pope St. Gregory the Great


'A similar instance was related to me by the Presbyter serving our brotherhood, Athanasios. In Iconium, from which he also hailed, there was a monastery: the monastery of the "Galatians," as it was called. In the monastery there lived a certain monk, whom all considered to have attained to a high degree of virtue and seemliness. As his death revealed, however, his life was far removed from the apparent virtues that he showed.

One day, foreseeing that his end was near, he called near him all the brothers of the monastery. The brothers gathered around him with great eagerness, waiting to hear from such a virtuous ascetic, as they reckoned him, something great and wondrous, now that he was dying. Thereupon, he, mourning and trembling from his fear, said:

"You thought that I was fasting with you, when in fact, hidden away from you, I was eating. And now behold: I am delivered to the frightful Dragon to be devoured. This frightful Dragon has wrapped his tail around my feet and my knees, putting my head in his mouth, while he sucks out and uproots my soul."

Having said this, he immediately died, without having been granted to live even a short time in order, through repentance, to be set free from that Dragon. From this incident it becomes wholly obvious that he saw this fearful vision solely for the spiritual benefit of those who were listening, since he, even though he made known to others the Enemy to whom he was delivered up, nonetheless could not escape it.'

Pope St. Gregory the Great


'Let us not doubt that baptized babies who die in their infant years will enter into the heavenly Kingdom. We should not, however, believe that all those infants who have begun to speak will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven will be closed to many babies because of their parents' bad rearing. In this city, there lives a certain man who is known to all; three years ago, this man had a son who, if I recall, would then have been about five years old, for whom he had such human love that he did not even try to discipline him.

For this reason, the boy, when someone prevented him from getting his way, used to blaspheme the magnificence of God - and let me emphasize that this is something dangerous.

When, three years ago, a deadly plague fell upon the region where he lived, this young boy succumbed to it and was near death. As eyewitnesses recounted, while the father took the child into his arms, the boy himself saw evil spirits coming for him. The boy began to tremble, to blink his eyes in fear, and to cry out in despair to his father: "Father, save me, protect me." Simultaneously, as he cried, he turned his face towards his father's chest, as though wanting to be hidden.

When the father saw his son trembling, in agony he asked him what he had seen. The son answered: "Black creatures came to me and wanted to take me away with them." No sooner had he finished this phrase, than he immediately blasphemed the name of the Divine Magnificence and, with this blasphemy, expired.

Thus, God, the All-Powerful, in order to show by what sin the boy was given over to these evil servants, allowed him to die with this sin which his father, while the boy was alive, did nothing to prevent. And this boy whom God allowed, by His mercy, to live as a blasphemer, by His righteous judgment was also permitted to blaspheme at his death, so that his careless father might know well his sin. For this father, being indifferent to the soul of his young son, reared for the Gehenna of fire not an insignificant sinner, but a great sinner.'

Pope St. Gregory the Great


'As for sinners, the Lord, referring to the Day of Judgment, says: "I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them."

The reapers, that is, the Angels, bind up those sinners who have committed the same sins, so that they can be sent to Hell together, and thus the proud are tortured together with the proud, the immoral with the immoral, the greedy with the greedy, liars with those who be, murderers together with murderers, and unbelievers together with unbelievers. All of these, joined together according to their types of sins, will burn in the various places of torture into which the Angels throw them.'

Pope St. Gregory the Great


'There once lived a monk named Peter. This monk was the disciple of an ascetic Elder, Evvasa, who lived the ascetic life in a secluded, wooded place. Elder Evvasa told a story to his disciple, Peter, about how, before settling in that secluded place, he fell ill and died. Immediately, however, his soul returned to his body and, when he had come to, he swore that he had seen the torments of Hell and its immeasurable burning chambers, and that indeed, he had seen suspended in that fire many of the rulers of this world. Moreover, just as he was being led away to be thrown into that place of torture and fire, a white-winged Angel had appeared and preventing him from being cast into the fire, said to him: "Go and take heed; and henceforth you must take great care in how you live."

After these words, the cold members of his dead body began to warm and, when he had completely awakened from the sleep of eternal death, he related to all those around him what had happened to him.Thereafter, he gave himself over to strict fasts and vigils, being reminded always of the torments which he had seen in Hell -- indeed, fearing these torments so greatly that, even if he did not speak thereof with his tongue, he nonetheless preached them by his conduct.

In this way, thanks to the wondrous Providence of God, the Elder experienced a temporary death, so that he would not be condemned to the eternal death of Hell.Though the heart of man is possessed, at times, by such profound darkness, perhaps this demonstration before him of the torments of eternal Hell can bring him to repentance.

Then again, the manifestation of the torments of eternal Hell becomes a source of greater reproach for those indifferent or negligent, who, even after this ghastly vision, return to life, remaining the same as before, uncorrected; wherefore, there is no longer left for them any justification.'

Pope St. Gregory the Great


'Man is placed above all creatures, and not beneath them, and he cannot be satisfied or content except in something greater than himself. Greater than himself there is nothing but Myself, the Eternal God. Therefore I alone can satisfy him, and, because he is deprived of this satisfaction by his guilt, he remains in continual torment and pain. Weeping follows pain, and when he begins to weep, the wind strikes the tree of self-love, which he has made the principle of all his being.'

God, to St. Catherine of Siena, 'The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin'


'In the darkness of Hell Your Mercy shines, for the damned do not receive the pains they deserve; with Your Mercy You temper Justice.'

St. Catherine of Siena


'Now at the time of death, since she cannot get out of My hands, she begins to see, and therefore is gnawed with remorse, seeing that her own sin has brought her into so great evil.

But if the soul have light to know and grieve for her fault, not on account of the pain of Hell that follows upon it, but on account of pain at her offense against Me, who am Supreme and Eternal Good, still she can find mercy. But if she pass the Bridge of death without light, and alone, with the worm of conscience, without the hope of the Blood, and bewailing herself more on account of her first condemnation than on account of My displeasure, she arrives at eternal damnation.

And then she is reproved cruelly by My Justice of injustice and of false judgment, and not so much of general injustice and false judgment which she has practiced generally in all her works, but much more on account of the particular injustice and false judgment which she practices at the end, in judging her misery greater than My mercy. This is that sin which is neither pardoned here nor there, because the soul would not be pardoned, depreciating My mercy. Therefore is this last sin graver to Me than all the other sins that the soul has committed.

Wherefore the despair of Judas displeased Me more, and was more grave to My Son than was his betrayal of Him. So that they are reproved of this false judgment, which is to have held their sin to be greater than My mercy, and, on that account, are they punished with the devils, and eternally tortured with them. And they are reproved of injustice because they grieve more over their condemnation than over My displeasure, and do not render to Me that which is Mine, and to themselves that which is theirs. For to Me, they ought to render love, and to themselves bitterness, with contrition of heart, and offer it to Me, for the offense they have done Me. And they do the contrary because they give to themselves love, pitying themselves, and grieving on account of the pain they expect for their sin; so you see that they are guilty of injustice and false judgment, and are punished for the one and the other together.

Wherefore, they, having depreciated My mercy, I with justice send them, with their cruel servant, sensuality, and the cruel tyrant the Devil, whose servants they made themselves through their own sensuality, so that, together, they are punished and tormented, as together they have offended Me. Tormented, I say, by My ministering devils whom My judgment has appointed to torment those who have done evil.'

God, to St. Catherine of Siena, 'The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin'


'They are conformed so entirely to My will, that they cannot desire except what I desire, because their free-will is bound in the bond of love, in such a way that, time failing them, and, dying in a state of grace, they cannot sin any more. And their will is so united with Mine, that a father or a mother seeing their son, or a son seeing his father or his mother in Hell, do not trouble themselves, and even are contented to see them punished as My enemies. Wherefore in nothing do they disagree with Me, and their desires are all satisfied. The desire of the blessed is to see My honor in you wayfarers, who are pilgrims, forever running on towards the term of death. In their desire for My honor, they desire your salvation, and always pray to Me for you, which desire is fulfilled by Me, when you ignorant ones do not resist My mercy.'

God, to St. Catherine of Siena, 'The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin'


'The Devil says, as it were, to them: "Whosoever thirsts for the water of death, let him come and I will give it to him."

The Devil, dearest daughter, is the instrument of My Justice to torment the souls who have miserably offended Me. And I have set him in this life to tempt and molest My creatures, not for My creatures to be conquered, but that they may conquer, proving their virtue, and receive from Me the glory of victory. And no one should fear any battle or temptation of the Devil that may come to him, because I have made My creatures strong, and have given them strength of will, fortified in the Blood of my Son, which will, neither Devil nor creature can move, because it is yours, given by Me. You therefore, with free arbitration, can hold it or leave it, according as you please.

And I let him tempt, through love, and not through hatred, that you may conquer, and not that you may be conquered, and that you may come to a perfect knowledge of yourself, and of Me, and that virtue may be proved, for it is not proved except by its contrary. You see, then, that he is my Minister to torture the damned in Hell, and in this life, to exercise and prove virtue in the soul. Not that it is the intention of the Devil to prove virtue in you (for he has not love), but rather to deprive you of it, and this he cannot do, if you do not wish it.

Now you see, then, how great is the foolishness of men in making themselves feeble, when I have made them strong, and in putting themselves into the hands of the Devil. Wherefore, know, that at the moment of death, they, having passed their life under the lordship of the Devil (not that they were forced to do so, for as I told you they cannot be forced, but they voluntarily put themselves into his hands), and, arriving at the extremity of their death under this perverse lordship, they await no other judgment than that of their own conscience, and desperately, despairingly, come to eternal damnation. Wherefore Hell, through their hate, surges up to them in the extremity of death, and before they get there, they take hold of it, by means of their lord the Devil.'

God, to St. Catherine of Siena, 'The Dialogue of the Seraphic Virgin'


'Before my coming in the flesh, there used to be just one path. On it all people, good and bad, went to hell.'

Christ, to St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'


'The bride saw God looking angry. He was saying: "I am without beginning and without end. There is no change in me either of year or day. Rather, all the time in the world is like a single hour or moment to me. Everyone who sees me sees and understands everything that is in me in an instant, so to speak. However, my bride, since you are in a material body, you cannot perceive and comprehend like a spirit. Therefore, for your sake, I will explain to you what has happened. I was, as it were, seated in judgment, for all judgment has been given to me, and a certain person came to be judged before the tribunal. The voice of the Father resounded and said to him: 'Woe unto you that ever you were born.'

It was not as though God had repented of having created him, but just like anyone would be sorry for another person and feel compassion for him. The voice of the Son came in answer: 'I poured out my blood for you and accepted a harsh punishment for you, but you have alienated yourself entirely from it and will have nothing to do with it.' The voice of the Spirit said: 'I searched all the corners of his heart to see if I might perhaps find some tenderness and charity in his heart, but he is as cold as ice, as hard as stone. He is none of my concern.'

These three voices have not been heard as if there were three gods, but they were made audible for your sake, my bride, because otherwise you would not be able to understand this mystery. The three voices of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit were then immediately transformed into a single voice that thundered and said: 'By no means do you deserve the kingdom of heaven!' The Mother of mercy remained silent and did not open up her mercy, for the defendant was unworthy of it. All the saints cried out in one voice saying: 'It is divine justice for him to be perpetually exiled from your kingdom and from your joy.' All those in purgatory said: 'We have no punishment harsh enough to punish your sins. You must endure greater torments and you will therefore be secluded from us.' Then even the defendant himself cried out in a horrendous voice, saying: 'Alas, alas for the seeds that came together in my mother's womb and from which I was formed!' He cried out a second time and said:

'Accursed be the hour in which my soul was joined to my body and accursed be he who gave me a body and soul!' He cried out a third time: 'Accursed be the hour in which I came forth alive from the belly of my mother!' Then came three horrible voices from hell saying to him: 'Come to us, accursed soul, like liquid copper draining down to perpetual death and life interminable!' They cried out a second time: 'Come, accursed soul, empty for our malice! For there will be none of us who will not fill you with his own pain and malice.' They cried out a third time: 'Come, accursed soul, heavy like a stone that sinks and sinks and never reaches the bottom where it can rest!

You will descend deeper into the deep than we, and you will not be brought to a standstill until you have reached the lowest part of the abyss.'"'

St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'


'The road to hell is open for the wicked. Once they enter into it, they will never come up again. They will be without glory or bliss and will be filled with misery and everlasting reproach.'

Christ, to St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'


'Some of the condemned are greater sinners, others lesser. The conditions for their punishment and retribution are set up accordingly. Although all the condemned are enclosed in darkness, not all of them experience it in one and the same way. Darkness differs from darkness, horror from horror, hell-fire from hell-fire. God's rule is one of justice and mercy everywhere, even in hell. Thus, those who have sinned deliberately have their particular punishment, those who have sinned out of weakness have a different one, those who are being held only because of the damage done by original sin have a different one again. While the torment of these latter consists in the lack of the beatific vision and of the light of the elect, still they come close to mercy and joy in the sense that they do not experience horrible punishments, since they bear no effects of any evil deeds of their own doing. Otherwise, if God did not ordain the number and limit of the punishments, the devil would never show any limits in tormenting them.'

Our Lady, to St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'


'I truly am supreme charity itself; for all things that I have done from eternity, I have done out of charity; and, in the same way, all things that I do and shall do in the future proceed entirely from my charity. For charity is as incomprehensible and intense in me now as it was at the time of my passion when, through my death and out of exceeding charity, I freed from hell all the elect who were worthy of this redemption and liberation. For if it were still possible that I might die as many times as there are souls in hell so that for each of them I might again endure such a death as I then endured for all, my body would still be ready to undergo all these things with a glad will and most perfect charity. But, in fact, it is now impossible that my body could once more die or suffer any pain or tribulation. And it is also just as impossible that any soul that after my death has been or will be condemned to hell would ever again be freed from there, or would enjoy the heavenly gladness that my saints and chosen ones enjoy at the glorious sight of my body.

No, the damned will feel the pains of hell in an everlasting death because they did not will to enjoy the benefit of my death and passion and did not will to follow my will while they lived in the world.'

Christ, to St. Bridget of Sweden, 'The Revelations'





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