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제목 Eternity in Hell-Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost (2018-10-14)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2018-10-15




Eternity in Hell-Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost (2018-10-14)


“And his lord, being angry, delivered him to the torture until he paid all the debt.”


In the gospel today we find a servant who managed poorly the affairs of his lord and was found to owe him ten thousand talents. The master demanded the sum and the servant pleaded for mercy and said: “Have patience and I will pay thee all”. The master took pity and forgave the whole debt with one sweeping generous act. One of the fellow-servants owed the servant previously spoke of 100 pence (a much smaller amount), and asked patience for he would pay everything back. The wicked servant cast him into prison. The other servants hearing this told the good lord of this who sent for him and said to him that he forgave the large sum and why for a very small sum has he refused to show mercy for his fellow servant. The lord then delivered the wicked servant to the torturers.

In this parable Our Lord speaks to us concerning a soul that is impenitent. Sinners who die as debtors to God for their sins during life and then are not able to make satisfaction for the debt during life and so must spend eternity in to satisfy justice in Hell.

Concerning eternity, it is a great thought according to St. Augustine. He writes,  “We are Christians that we may always think of the world to come.” The thought that the end approaching nearer and nearer everyday has led many powerful and successful men to leave the world and to enter a convent or cloister to live in poverty and to make acts of penance. The same thought has led many martyrs to suffer the torments that they have undergone, in order to secure their eternity. St. Paul writes to the Hebrews, “we have not here a lasting city; but we seek one that is come”. St. Ambrose specifies that at the moment of our death, we will fall into either the house of delight or of torments. This earth is not our country, we are merely pilgrims passing through this land.

Where the soul shall go, it shall remain forever. In the book of Ecclesiasticus is written “If the tree fall to the south or to the north, in what place so ever it shall fall, there it shall lie. St. Hilary writes, where one thinks is the end, is the commencement. It is only the beginning. One thousand years will pass and it is not even the beginning of eternity. No beginning and no end. For those souls that have been lost for all eternity, they would surely want to exchange more torments in order that their punishment be not eternal. That it would cease. In the book of lamentations is written “My end is perished”.

If hell were not eternal, then it would not be frightful. Thomas a Kempis writes that “everything that passes with time is trifling and short”. A question that we may ask ourselves is how do we view Purgatory? We know that the souls that enter into Purgatory suffer a great amount, but their suffering will end sometime, even perhaps if not for several thousand years. If we consider our physical sufferings here on earth, it ends relatively soon. Whatever the pain is, toothache, headache, cancer; all these can be borne for a time.  St. Alphonsus writes that if we consider the monotony of the sufferings in Hell. Here on earth, someone would suffer if they would have to hear or something even though very pleasant, over and over again without a break. This would be terrible enough let alone experiencing something evil over and over again. It is written in Deuteronomy, “I will heap evil upon them” and these evils never end”.

The sufferings will never end nor be diminished in the slightest degree. In eternity there is no change because the decree is unchangeable. This thought surely increases the sufferings by making them feel beforehand that they must suffer from all eternity. The thought of eternity tortures each of the lost souls knowing that they will suffer for all eternity.

How can God justly punish with eternal punishment for a sin that lasts only a moment? The duration of time has little to with it but the immensity of the malice. St. Thomas writes that the malice of one mortal sin is infinite. Since man is limited and infinite then he is not able to suffer in an infinite manner, so the duration must be eternal.


Death which is so terrible in life is longed for by the souls lost in Hell. They will never find it. ”And in these days men shall seek death, and shall not find it: and they shall desire to die, and death will fly from them” Apocalypse. The souls of the lost have no chance to be released. They shall forever see before their eyes their sins and the sentence of their eternal condemnation. “And I will set before thy face.”

Let our eternal salvation be the sole object of all our concerns. St. Eucherius writes “The business for which we struggle is eternity”. There is question if our eternity will be forever happy or forever miserable. When St. Thomas More was sentenced to death King Henry VIII of England, his wife approached him and told him to accept the adulterous union  so that he could live. St. Thomas More asked her and how much longer would he live? Another twenty years? He dismissed her that he would not be so foolish as to risk eternity for twenty years of life on earth.

If eternity were a doubtful matter, one might try to avoid all possibility of an eternity of torments, there is no doubt, it is matter of faith. St. Teresa writes that it is through a want of faith that so many Christians are lost. As often as we hear in the words of the Creed during Holy Mass, “Vitam aeternam”, life everlasting, we should enliven our faith and remember that there is another life, one that is eternal.


Fr. Peter Fortin