Does hell exist?

God wants salvation for all. Nevertheless, He also wants that they attain it on free will and that’s why He respects our choice between fire and water, between a blessed life for ever or a terrible eternal misfortune.

The (universal) Catechism of the Catholic Church in No. 1933 reminds us: “Unless we freely choose to love Him, we cannot be joined to Him. But we cannot love God if we sin mortally against Him, against our neighbour or against ourselves.“He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him”(1 Jn 3, 15). Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from Him if we fail to fulfill the big needs of the poor and small ones, who are our brothers (cf. Mt 25, 31-46).  To die in deadly sin without repenting or without accepting God’s merciful love means to stay apart from him for ever and through our own free decision. Such a state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God is named “hell”.”

In the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima (third apparition: 13thJuly 1917), the three little shepherds saw hell, as told to us by Lucia, one of the three, who has lived as a nun, until a short time ago, in a nunnery in Portugal:

“When she said these words, she opened her hands again, as she did the past two months. It seemed that the shining (that her hands irradiated) sank in the earth and we saw like a sea of fire, where the devils and the souls were submerged as if they were transparent and black or tanned  red-hot coal with human shape, which waved in the blaze, transported by the flames with smoke columns which sprang up from them, dropping down to all sides -it was like the falling down of cinders in big fires- but without weight or counterbalance, among shouts and laments of pain and despair which horrified us and made us recoil with fear. The devils were identified by their horrible and revolting shapes resembling horrible and unknown animals, but transparent like black brands of live coal”.

The vision lasted just an instant but during which Lucia shouted “ay!” She comments that if Our Madonna had not made the promise to take them to heaven, the seers would have died of fright and fear.

“Fearful and asking for help, we looked upon Our Madonna who, with sweetness and sadness, said to us”:

-THE BLESSED VIRGIN: “You have seen hell, where the souls of sinners are going. In order to save them (in order to prevent them of going to eternal hell), God wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart”.

The teaching of the Church states the existence of hell and its eternity (art.1035 of the Universal Catechism). Some people find very hard to conceive the eternity of never ending hell, because they think that, being God infinitely merciful, if the condemned repent, they will be forgiven. But condemned people cannot and wish not to repent -iniquity’s mystery of final impenitence: So it was explained, I seem to remember, by the Blessed Virgin to one of the seers of Medjugorge. She told him the condemned don’t want to repent anymore. It is evident that, if they could and wanted to repent, God would forgive them, but this is impossible and that’s why hell is eternal. In Medjugorge, the Blessed Virgin showed also heaven, hell and purgatory to several seers.

The biggest sorrow in hell is the eternal separation from God. “The biggest sorrow in hell is the eternal separation from God, with whom man can only find the life and the happiness for which he has been created and to which he aspires. Such a sorrow is called “sorrow of damage”. There is also the “sorrow of the senses” through which the condemned are tortured with torments.

“Jesus often mentions the “gehenna” and “the fire which never extinguishes” (cf. Mt 5, 22, 29; 13, 42,59; Mc 9, 43-48), reserved to those who refuse to repent and convert until the end of their lives, and where one can loose body and soul at the same time (cf. Mt 10, 28). Jesus announces that He “will send forth His angels, and they will gather those doers of iniquity and cast them into the furnace of fire (Mt 13, 41, 42)” and that He will pass sentence: “Away from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire” (Mt 25, 41) (Nº 1034 of the Universal Catechism)

And in order to get an inkling of how the mystery of eternal condemnation is possible and of what we would loose in case we were condemned, we transcribe some passages of the personal diary of a woman, who died  (in Barcelona, 1987) after a devout  life: we are referring to Maria Benedicta Daiber:

“I’m still wrapped in the embracement and loving look of the Father … All this mixed with a feeling of inner freedom, like a daughter who, within the deepest filial love and reverence, knows that besides her Father she is simply “at home”. I don’t know how to express it properly; such things are beyond human experience.

And the distressing question arises: why are there souls that shy away from such a great love? What savage cruelty the mystery of iniquity treats the mystery of Love with!

From the deepest peace, I long eagerly to help these souls to find the way to the Father, becoming a poor and humble tool of Christ in order that the souls that He puts on my way deeply experience the mystery of Eastern, and don’t loose for ever what the Father and the Son offer to us in the Holy Spirit…

Hell – and that’s the terrible thing – is but the eternal loss of Love, with all the consequences of big pain for the soul and the body for ever…I feel deep in my soul such a terrible and eternal contrast between the eternal possession of the One and Trine God,  the fullness of love and freedom of the Sons of God and the eternal loss of such happiness in the everlasting slavery of the devil and the pain that never ends and about which we can scarcely have a notion  in this life, although the fact of catching a glimpse of it in a mystical experience finds no words to express it.” (10thApril 1977).

“I live immersed in the Holy Trinity…I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain what I feel. I feel submerged in and joined to God in such a way, that His presence is as a fire that burns me, that doesn’t allow what is opposed to His infinite holiness. I understand in an intuitive way what purgatory or hell can be…” (7thJuly 1977)