What Hell Will Be Like

One of the excuses people make when confronted with sin is that they’d rather go to hell and get to make their own choices than follow God and have to limit their choices. This feeling contains a massive assumption: hell isn’t all that bad. They believe hell is just like earth. Like earth it must have its ups and downs, but they can survive there. To put it more clearly, they believe hell is just an eternal earth. It might not be an eternal paradise, but they could get used to the idea of immortality on earth. There will be ups and downs, but at least with their immortal life, they can work towards having more ups than downs. Unfortunately, there is nothing further from the truth.

If you can remember the worst days of your life, hell is that worst day for all eternity (CCC 1035). Maybe a loved one tragically died from cancer after years of great suffering. Maybe your homeland was under attack, forcing you to leave behind all you knew. Maybe your family and friends wrongly abandoned you, and now you are all alone. I’m sure everyone could think of many more worst days in life. In those horrible days there is no upside. It’s just bad. On earth, we focus on just getting through the bad day, knowing the next day could be much better. Well, in hell the next day is never better. The next day is just as bad as the worst day, and the next day after that too, and so on.

In hell, the suffering and pain never ends (CCC 1034). It is constant. It isn’t just a worst day but worst eternity, a nonstop horrible time. Even more, there is no escape from hell. On earth people sadly commit suicide to “escape” their suffering, but in hell everyone is already dead. You can only die once. There is no second death. After a person receives their particular judgment to be separated from God (CCC 1021-1022), hell is a constant bad dream without the ability to wake up. It becomes worse after the final judgment, when on the last day God will raise all the dead, even those who have already been condemned to hell (CCC 998, 1059). Now in addition to their mental anguish, hell is the worst pain they have ever felt with no end. Many people don’t believe that hell can be this bad, but the reason is simple.

Those in hell are completely separated from God (CCC 1035), but since God is the source of all love and all good comes from love (CCC 1723, 1955), there can be no good whatsoever in hell. Whenever a person does something good, it originated from God. Without God they would be incapable of doing good. So we know all people in hell are completely separated from God and that no love is possible without God. It’s easy to see then that in hell there are no ups and downs. It is just downs constantly, all the time. In fact, even the worst times on earth are better than hell.

Think about the horrible war torn lands on earth, where people are constantly fighting. There is no peace. But even in these horrible parts of the world, many people have families, a spouse, or children that they love. Maybe 99% of the surrounding people are enemies, but 1% are loved ones. In hell, there isn’t even that 1%. There is no family, spouse, or children, and no friends or kind strangers. Everyone is an enemy, everyone looking for their own personal pleasure without a care for anyone else. Not only that, since there is no pleasure in hell, the fruitless effort to find pleasure drives them to madness and anger. In their anger, they go out of their way to harm anyone they come across. From the Catechism, we know God gives man faith, hope, and most of all, love (CCC 1812), so complete separation from God brings the inability to trust (faith), have hope, or love others. Therefore, people in hell are reduced to animals, primitive creatures whose actions are completely bound by the instinct to seek personal pleasure. They are incapable of anything but evil actions.

The truth is hell has nothing good about it. Those in hell are condemned to constant suffering with no escape for all eternity. It is a place that should rightly be feared by all living souls on earth. I hope that in reading this you will see how bad hell really is. A healthy fear of hell can lead to the first step taken towards positive change. We all know the sins we have a weakness for. Focus on one of those, come up with a plan, and make the first small change towards improvement. If you have already started on the path of improvement, let this article motivate you even more to keep up the good work. Whenever you find yourself starting to think a sin isn’t all that bad, come back and read this short article. Understand where that sin will lead and it will keep you on the right path towards holiness.

Our sinful bodies, with the aid of Satan, are constantly trying to keep us in the present. After all, many sins don’t have an immediate consequence, but we must always be thinking about the future. Is my next choice going to lead me to heaven or to hell? What are the long term consequences of this decision I am about to make? Answer these questions well, for your eternal life hangs in the balance. I pray in reading this you will be motivated to do your best to live a good life. There is too much at stake to ignore this.

For those with scruples, this text may have caused great fear in your soul, but remember with scrupulosity you can’t trust your judgment on matters of sin and culpability. It is very likely you are much better than you think you are. To set things straight, I encourage you to go to confession every week for continual assurances from your priest and confessor of where you are at on your path to heaven. Also, really listen to your friends and family when they say you aren’t that bad. Sometimes it is easier to see the truth from the outside (your friends) looking in (at you) than from the inside (yourself) looking out.

May God bless you with his abundant grace,
Jared

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Catholic Responsibility

All of God’s creatures are called to different amounts of responsibility depending on their situation in life (CCC 1735, 1793). God gives non-believers only one responsibility, to discover the truth and believe. They aren’t Catholic, so they can’t understand why Catholics have to follow God’s commands. God doesn’t hold that against them. All he desires of them is to seek the truth throughout their life. Some of these people never do discover the truth. In those cases, there is a possibility that at the point of death God, in his mercy, gives them the entire truth and one chance to accept or reject him. Many people, on the other hand, will come to believe during their lifetime. They can then be baptized into the Church. At that point they are a Christian, bound like all of us to follow God’s commands.

Christians, including Catholics, have a lot more responsibility in the world. When a person converts to Christianity, they are no longer just a creature of God. They now become one of God’s children. Being adopted into God’s family comes with more responsibility. In addition to living holy lives themselves, they are now in charge of spreading the Good News to the non-believers. It doesn’t end there. A person’s physical needs must be attended to first before their spiritual needs can be addressed, so God commands Catholics to donate their time, talent, and treasure. This forms the foundation for the Church’s unending call to help the poor and needy in the world (CC 2444).

Going a little further, within the Catholic faith itself, different people have different responsibilities (CCC 1734). A healthy person is called to do a lot more than a sickly person. God calls everyone to do what they are able to do, so a sickly person might only be able to serve here and there or in specific situations. In the worst case, they might be so sick all they can do is pray for others. That is enough for God though. He knows if they are doing their best. On the other hand, the healthy person is called to do much more. They cannot waste all the health they have with self-serving activities. They have the potential to do a lot more than the sickly person. They should take advantage of their health to really impress God.

Even among healthy people though, there are different amounts of responsibilities. Everyone has their own set of unique skills and gifts given to them by God (CCC 1937). That means that everyone is suited to serving in different ways. This is obvious when it comes to careers. After high school graduation most people decide on some field to study. They go to college, become proficient in that field, and then can get a job teaching or performing in their field. The same focus should also be given when it comes to deciding how to serve God.

Look at all your skills and gifts. Then look at all the service opportunities in your community. There are bound to be needs that your skills are a perfect fit for addressing. Sometimes you might see a need in your community that no one (or few) is addressing. Those are unique callings for you to take charge of. I read a story recently about a mother that got a crosswalk and speedometer installed in her neighborhood after noticing cars driving too fast where her kids walked to school. She saw a need that wasn’t being addressed and was uniquely called to help out.

One skill I have is writing. I am far from the best, but I generally have an easy time explaining things in words. One day I saw that the Catholic Church had not embraced the Internet much for evangelization. Millions of young people solely use the Internet to get information, yet the Church had very little presence online. Since I am pretty good at writing, I was uniquely called to spread the Good News through text. I don’t have big credentials or tons of experience with writing, but I do my part to use my skills in service to others.

Everyone will have different amounts of responsibility depending on where they are in life and the gifts they have been given, but we all need to follow this simple rule:

The more you have, the more you have to give.

Jesus gave everything of himself to save humanity. We can’t save humanity, but we can help. As much as possible, we should give everything of ourselves. People that don’t have much, have less to give. People that have a lot though, need to give a lot. Our giving must be proportional to our blessings.

May God bless you with his abundant grace,
Jared