Let us suppose, as some have dared to maintain, that hell is merely a place a vexation and sorrow where the captive soul only undergoes a mitigated, limited suffering.  Let us imagine, on this supposition, Satan and his accomplices surpassing themselves in rebellion and pride, and saying to the God who rejected them, “We are in good shape, and we possess a tolerable enough existence for us to agree to do without You forever.  It is true that we are far from possessing eternal bliss, but we have a quality of life and repose that is our own work, and we are content with it; if we are not radiant like Your angels, at least we are not Your subjects; we do not serve You or obey You.”

Such would be the sentiments of every creature shut out from God’s bosom if he succeeded in rejecting his heritage without experiencing pain that is intense and unending, like the happiness he freely and obstinately spurned.  Were God, in order to alleviate the misery of the devils and the damned, to allow them but a shadow of good, a slender hope, or a drop of water to refresh them, they would cling to that shadow, that semblance, with all the strength of their exhausting, gasping will; they would strive with their whole soul after that crumb of solace, seeking to beguile themselves with it, and to delude themselves as to the extent and depth of their misfortune; and one would have to be ignorant of man’s nature to imagine that he would not resign himself to this mitigated hell, rather than bend the knee and submit.

So if hell is not a deluge and overwhelming onslaught of unspeakable and eternal sufferings, making the guilty feel the whole weight of the hand that chastises them, then, in the fight between good and evil, man will forever be the victor; and the Lord of heaven will be the loser; every knee will not bend before Him as He foretold.

Thus, it is a prime necessity for divine glory that the man who has insulted Him by proving to be obstinately and systematically rebellious should be subjected to extreme, endless and incomprehensible torments in proportion to the offence against divine glory.  He must endure unbroken heartache and pains, together with absolute, total separation from any creature able to divert and amuse him; enveloping pains that do not permit him to see, whether above his head or at his feet or round about him, anything except desolation and terror, and this, so that he may acknowledge the greatness of God whom he has repudiated, and that, the extremity of his anguish forcing from him the homage that goodness was unable to attain, he may exclaim, like Julian the Apostate at his death: “Thou hast conquered, O Galilean.”

Fr. Charles Arminjon, The End of the Present World & The Mysteries of the Future Life, pgs 183-184

Lazarus

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