We’ve had saints give us descriptions of Hell.
Few of us have considered the spiritual reality
of an eternity without the capacity to endure love.
Imagine a reality of impatience
and a forever of boredom.
Consider an infinite hunger
and an unceasing bloat.
Reflect on never experiencing wonder,
or surprise or joy.
Hell tires of everything,
longs for anything
and values nothing.
The absence of being able to give or endure love
leaves the soul coated with the dull dusty forever dryness
of having everything without ever being satisfied.
Even worse, is the gnawing,
scraping acid reality of recognizing,
it could have been otherwise.
Hell is lonely and angry and impotent.
Hell is the will always being unwilling and unable to be otherwise.
It is an endless sense of loss and being lost.
Souls in Hell know for all the time despite this, one is loved –and somehow they hate that love.
It is all of God’s plan refused even as it goes on.
God’s infinite love does not cease even for those who refuse it or deny it.
If God’s love is a lavish infinite “Yes,” then Hell is a constant screaming “No!” to all that is good, true and beautiful, infinite and offered.
Now, in that cold forever darkness, imagine the reality of Christ’s eternal love, of all that is light, of all of Heaven bursting forth in Joyful song that first Christmas, to invite all of us who said, “There is no room in the inn.” to throw open our hearts and discover there is so much more to this life than suffering and death, and all of it is grace if we allow it.
Blessed Advent, let us be like the Light of the World we adore and anticipate in Christmas.