On the Pain of Loss which the
Damned Suffer in Hell
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
According to all Laws, Divine and Human, the Punishment of
Crime should be Proportioned-to its Grievousness. "According
to the Measure of the Sin, shall the Measure also of the Stripes be" - Deuteronomy 25:2. Now, the Principal Injury
which Sinners do to God by Mortal Sin, Consists-in
Turning their Back upon their Creator and their Sovereign Good. Saint Thomas defines
Mortal Sin to be "a Turning away from the Immutable Good". Of this
Injury, the Lord complains-in the following Words: "Thou hast Forsaken Me, saith the
Lord, thou art Gone Backward" - Jeremiah 15:6. Since then, the Greatest Guilt of the
Sinner, Consists in Deliberately Consenting-to Lose God, the
Loss-of God shall Constitute his Greatest Punishment
in Hell. There shall be Weeping. In Hell there is
Continual Weeping; but what is the Object-of the Bitterest Tears of the
Unhappy Damned? It is the Thought-of having Lost
God, through their own Fault. This shall be the Subject of the present Discourse.
Be attentive, Brethren.
No, Dearly Beloved Christians; the Goods-of the Earth are not the End, for which God has Placed
you in the World; the End, for which He has Created you, is the Attainment-of Eternal
(∞) Life. "And the End Life, Everlasting" - Romans 6:22.
Eternal (∞) Life, Consists-in Loving God,
and Possessing Him, for Eternity (∞). Whosoever
Attains this End, shall be Forever (∞) Happy;
but he who, through his own Fault, does not Attain it, Loses
God; he shall be Miserable for Eternity
(∞), and shall Weep Forever
(∞), saying: "My End and my Hope is Perished" - Lamentations 3:18.
The Pain Produced-by Loss, is Proportioned-to the Value-of what has been
Lost. If a Person Lose a Jewel - a Diamond worth a Hundred Crowns, he feels Great
Pain; if the Diamond were worth Two (2) Hundred Crowns, the Pain
is Double; if worth Four (4) Hundred, the Pain is still-Greater. Now, I ask, what is the
Good, which a Damned Soul has
Lost? She has Lost God;
She has Lost an Infinite (∞)
Good. The Pain, then, Arising-from the Loss-of
God, is an Infinite (∞)
Pain. "The Pain of the Damned", says Saint Thomas, "is Infinite, because it is the Loss
of an Infinite Good" - Summa Theologica. Such too, is the Doctrine-of Saint Bernard, who says,
that the Value-of the Loss of the Damned, is Measured-from the Infinitude
(∞) of God, the Supreme Good. Hence,
Hell does not Consist-in its Devouring Fire, nor in its
Intolerable Stench, nor in the Unceasing Shrieks and Howlings of the
Damned, nor in the Terrific Sight of the Devils, nor
in the Narrowness-of that Pit of Torments, in which the Damned are Thrown, One over the
Other; the Pain which Constitutes Hell, is the Loss-of
God. In Comparison-of this Pain, all the other Torments-of
Hell are Trifling. The Reward-of God's Faithful Servants
in Heaven, is as He said to Abraham, God Himself.
"I am thy Protector, and thy Reward, Exceeding Great" - Genesis 15:1. Hence, as God is the
Reward-of the Blessed in Heaven, so the
Loss-of God is the Punishment-of the Damned in
Hence, Saint Bruno has Truly said, that how Great soever, the Torments which may be
Inflicted-on the Damned, they never can Equal the Great Pain-of
being Deprived-of God. "Addantur tormenta tormentis, et Deo
non priventur". According to Saint Chrysostom, a Thousand Hells are not
Equal-to this Pain. Speaking-of the Loss-of God, he said,
"Si mille dixeris gehennas, nihil par dices illius doloris" - Homily 49. God is so
Lovely, that He Deserves Infinite
(∞) Love. He is so
Amiable, that the Saints in Heaven are so Replenished-with Joy, and so
Absorbed-in Divine Love, that they Desire Nothing, but to Love God, and Think
only-of Loving Him with all their Strength. At Present, Sinners, for the Sake-of their
Vile Pleasures, Shut their Eyes, and neither Know God, nor the
Love which He Deserves; but in Hell, they shall,
in Punishment-of their Sins, be made to Know that
God is an Infinite (∞) Good, and
Infinitely (∞) Amiable. "The
Lord shall be Known, when He Executeth Judgments" - Psalm 9:17. The Sinner, Drowned-in
Sensual Pleasures, scarcely Knows God; he sees Him only in the
Dark, and therefore he Disregards the Loss-of God.
But in Hell, he shall Know God, and shall be Tormented
Forever (∞) by the Thought-of having voluntarily
Lost this Infinite (∞) Good. A
certain Parisian Doctor appeared after Death to his Bishop, and said that he was Damned.
His Bishop asked him if he Remembered the Sciences in-which he was so well-Versed in this Life. He answered that in Hell,
the Damned think-only of the Pain of having Lost
"Depart from Me, you Cursed, into Everlasting Fire, which was Prepared for the Devil and his Angels" - Matthew 25:41.
Depart from Me. This Command, Constitutes the Hell of the
Damned. Begone from Me; you shall be no-longer Mine, and
I shall be no-longer yours. "For you are not My People, and I will not be yours" - Hosea 1:9. At Present, this
Punishment is, as Saint Augustine says, Dreaded only by the Saints.
"Haec amantibus non contemnentibus poena est". It is a Punishment which
Affrights the Soul that Loves God,
more-than all the Torments-of Hell; but, it does not
Terrify Sinners, who are Immersed-in the Darkness of Sin. But, at
Death they shall, for their Greater Chastisement, Understand the Infinite
(∞) Good which they have Lost, through
their own Fault.
It is Necessary to Know that Men have been Created-for God, and that Nature draws them to
Love Him. In this Life, the Darkness-of Sin, and the Earthly Affections which Reign-in their
Hearts, Stifle their Natural Tendency and Inclination-to a Union-with God,
their Sovereign Good; and therefore, the Thought-of being Separated-from Him, does not
Produce much Pain. But, when the Soul leaves the Body,
and is Freed-from the Senses, which keep Her in Darkness, She
then Clearly sees that She has been Created-for God, and that He
is the only Good, which can make Her Happy. "But",
says Saint Antonine, "the Soul, separated-from the Body, Understands that God is Her Sovereign Good, and that She has been Created for Him".
Hence, as-soon-as She is Loosed-from the Bondage-of the Body, She
is in Sin, and His Enemy, God
will Cast Her off. Though Driven-back and Chased-away, She retains
Her Invincible Tendency and Inclination-to a Union with God; and
Her Hell shall Consist-in seeing Herself always Drawn-to
God, and always Banished-from Him.
If a Dog see a Hare, what Efforts does he not make-to Break his Chain and Seize his Prey. Thus, at Her
Separation-from the Body, the Natural Inclinations-of the Soul, Draw
Her to God, while at the same-Time, Sin separates
Her from Him, and Drags Her with it, to
Hell. Sin, says the Prophet, like a Wall-of Immense Thickness, is placed between the
Soul and God, and separates Her from
Him. "But your Iniquities have Divided between you and your God" - Isaiah 49:2. Hence, the
Unhappy Soul, Confined-in the Prison of Hell, at a Distance-from
God, shall Weep Forever (∞), saying:
Then, O my God, I shall be no-longer Thine, and Thou
wilt be no-longer mine. I shall Love Thee no-more, and Thou wilt Never-again
Love me. This Separation-from God, Terrified David, when he said,
"Will God then Cast-off Forever? or will He never be more Favorable, again?" - Psalm 76:8. How Great, he says, would be my
Misery, if God should Cast me from Him, and Never-again
be Merciful to me! But, this Misery, every Damned
Soul in Hell Suffers, and shall
Suffer for Eternity (∞). As-long-as he Remained-in
Sin, David felt his Conscience Reproaching him, and asking,
Where is thy God? O David, where is thy God, Who once
Loved thee? Thou hast Lost Him; He is no-longer
thine. David was so Afflicted at the Loss of his God, that he
Wept Night and Day. "My Tears have been my Bread, Day and Night, whilst it is said to me Daily: Where is thy
God?" - Psalm 41:4. Thus, even the Devils will Say-to the Damned,
Where is your God? By his Tears, David Appeased and Recovered his God; but
the Damned shall Shed an Immense Sea-of Tears, and shall never Appease nor Recover
Saint Augustine says, that if the Damned saw the Beauty-of
God, "they would Feel no Pain, and Hell itself would be Converted into a Paradise". But, the
Damned shall never see God. When David Forbade his son Absalom, to Appear-in his Presence, the
Sorrow of Absalom was so-Great, that he Entreated Joab, to tell his Father, that he would rather be Put-to Death,
than Never-more be Permitted-to see his Face. "I Beseech thee therefore, that I may see the Face of the King: and if he be Mindful of my Iniquity,
let him Kill me" - 2Kings 14:32. To a certain Grandee, who Acted Irreverently in the Church, Philip-the-Second said,
Do not dare ever to appear again in my Presence. So Intense was the Pain which the Nobleman felt,
that after having Returned-home, he Died of Grief. What then must be the Feelings-of the
Reprobate, at the Hour of Death, when God shall say to them:
Begone, let Me Never see you again; you shall Never see My Face. "I will
Forsake them, and will Hide My Face from them, and they shall be Devoured: all Evils and Afflictions shall find them" - Deuteronomy - 31:17. What Sentiments-of
Pity should we Feel, at Seeing a Son who was always United-with his Father, who always Ate and Slept with him,
Weeping over a Parent whom he Loved so-Tenderly, and saying: My Father, I have Lost you; I shall
Never see you more. Ah! if we saw a Damned Soul Weeping
Bitterly, and asked Her the Cause-of Her Wailing,
She would Answer: I Weep because I have Lost God, and shall Never see Him again.
The Pain of the Reprobate shall be Increased-by the Knowledge-of the
Glory which the Saints Enjoy-in Paradise, and from which they see, and shall
Forever (∞) see, themselves Excluded. How Great would be the
Pain which a Person should Feel, if, after being Invited-by his Sovereign to his own Theatre, to be Present-at the Singing, Dancing, and other Amusements,
he should be Excluded, in Punishment-of some Fault! How Bitter
should be his Anguish and Disappointment, when, from 'Without', he would Hear the Shouts-of Joy
and Applause 'Within'! At Present, Sinners Despise Heaven, and
Lose it for Trifles, after Jesus Christ Shed the Last Drop-of His Blood to make
them Worthy-of Entering-into that Happy Kingdom. But, when they shall be Confined-in Hell,
the Knowledge-of the Glory of Heaven, shall be the Greatest of all their Torments. Saint John
Chrysostom says, that to see themselves Banished-from that Land of Joy, shall be to the
Damned a Torment Ten (10) Thousand Times as Great, as the
Hell which they Suffer. "Decem mille quis ponat gehennas, nihil tale
dicet quale est a beata gloria excidere". Oh! that I had at least the Hope, the Damned will say, that after a
Thousand, or even a Million-of Ages, I could Recover the Divine
Grace, and become Worthy-of Entering-into Heaven, there to see God! But no,
he shall be Told, "When the Wicked Man is Dead, there shall be no Hope any more" - Proverbs 11:7. When he was in this Life,
he could have Saved his Soul; but, because he has
Died in Sin, his Loss is Irreparable. Hence,
with Tears of Despair, he shall say, "I shall not see the Lord God in the Land of the Living" -
Despair - Detail
from the Last Judgment -
by MICHELANGELO Buonarroti -
from Cappella Sistina, Vatican
The Thought-of having Lost God and Paradise,
solely through their own Fault, shall Increase the Torture of the
Damned. Every Damned Soul shall say: It was in my Power to
have led a Life-of Happiness on Earth by Loving God, and to have Acquired Boundless Happiness for Eternity; but, in
Consequence-of having Loved my Vices, I must Remain-in
this Place-of Torments, as-long-as God shall be God. She will then Exclaim in the Words-of Job,
"Who will grant me, that I might be according to the Months Past, according to the Days in which God kept me?" - Job 29:2. Oh!
that I were Allowed-to go Back-to the Time I Lived-on Earth, when God Watched-over me, that
I might not Fall-into this Fire! I did not Live-among the Savages, the Indians or the
Chinese. I was not Left-without the Sacraments, Sermons, or Masters to Instruct me. I was Born-in the Bosom-of the
True Church, and have been Well-instructed and Frequently Admonished-by Preachers and
Confessors. To this Prison, I have not been Dragged-by the
Devils; I have come on my own Accord. The Chains by which I am Bound, and Kept-at a Distance-from God, I have Forged-with
my own Will. How often has God Spoken-to my Heart,
and said to me: Amend, and Return-to Me. Beware, lest the Time should Come, when thou shalt not be able to Prevent thy Destruction.
Alas! this Time has Come; the Sentence has already Passed; I am
Damned; and for my Damnation there neither is, nor shall be any Remedy, for all
Eternity (∞). But, if the Damned
Soul has Lost God, and shall Never see Him,
perhaps She can at-least Love Him? No; She
has been Abandoned-by Grace, and thus She is made the
Slave-of Her Sins, and Compelled-to
Hate Him. The Damned see that God is their
Adversary, on-account-of their Contempt for Him during Life, and therefore Always-in
Despair. "Why hast Thou set me Opposite to Thee; and am I become Burdensome to myself?" -
Job 7:20. Hence, because the Damned see that they are Enemies-of
God, Whom they, at the same-time, Know to be Worthy-of Infinite
(∞) Love, they are to themselves, Objects-of the Greatest
Horror. The Greatest of all the Punishments which God shall
Inflict on them, will Consist-in seeing that God is so Amiable, and that they are so
Deformed , and the Enemies-of this God.
"I will Reprove thee, and set before thy Face" - Psalm 49:21.
The Sight-of all that God has Done-for the Damned, shall above-all, Increase
their Torture. "The Wicked shall See, and shall be Angry" - Psalm 111:10. They shall See all
the Benefits which God Bestowed-upon them; all the Lights
and Calls which He gave them; and the Patience with-which
He Waited-for them. They shall, above all, see how much Jesus Christ has
Loved them, and how much He has Suffered-for the
Love-of them; and after all His Love, and all His
Sufferings, they shall see that they are now Objects-of His Hatred, and shall be no-longer Objects-of
His Love. According-to Saint Chrysostom, a Thousand Hells are Nothing, compared-with
the Thought-of being Hateful-to Christ. "Si mille quis ponat, gehennas, nihil tale dicturus est, quale est
exosum esse Christo" - Homily 24. Then the Damned shall say: My Redeemer,
Who, through Compassion for me, Sweated Blood,
Suffered an Agony in the Garden, and Died-on the
Cross, Bereft-of all Consolation, has now no Pity
on me! I Weep, I Cry-out; but
He no-longer Hears or Looks-to me. He is Utterly Forgetful-of
me. He once Loved me; but now
He Hates and Justly Hates me; for I have
Ungratefully Refused-to Love Him. David says, that the Reprobate
are Thrown-into the Pit of Death. "But Thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the Pit of Destruction" -
Psalm 54:24. Hence Saint Augustine has said, "The Pit shall be Closed on Top, it shall be Opened at the Bottom, it shall be Expanded Downwards;
and they who Refused to Know God, shall no longer be Known by Him". "Puteus claudetur sursum, aperietur deorsum, dilatatibur in profundum;
et ultra nescientur a Deo qui Deum seire noluerunt" - Homily 16.
Thus, the Damned see that God deserves Infinite
(∞) Love, and that they cannot Love Him.
Saint-Catherine-of-Genoa, being one day Assailed-by the Devil, asked him who he was. He Answered-with
Tears: I am that Wicked One, who is Deprived-of the Love of God. I am that
Miserable Being that can never-more Love God. They not only cannot Love God,
but, Abandoned-in their Sins, they are Forced-to Hate
Him; their Hell consists-in Hating
God, Whom they, at the same-Time, Know to-be Infinitely (∞)
Amiable. They Love Him Intensely, as their Sovereign Good, and
Hate Him as the Avenger-of their
Sins. "Res miserrima", says a Learned Author, "amare vehementer, et amatum simul odisse".
Their Natural Love Draws them continually-to God; but their
Hatred drags them Away-from Him. These 'Contrary' Passions, like Two (2)
Ferocious Wild Beasts, Incessantly Tear-in Pieces, the Hearts-of the
Damned, and Cause, and shall for all Eternity (∞), Cause them to Live-in a
Continual Death. The Reprobate then, shall Hate and
Curse all the Benefits which God has Bestowed-upon them.
They shall Hate the Benefits-of Creation, of Redemption,
and the Sacraments. But they shall Hate, in a particular manner, the
Sacrament of Baptism, by which they have, on-account-of their Sins, been more Guilty,
in the Sight-of God; the Sacrament of Penance, by which, if they Wished, they could have so Easily
Saved their Souls; and above all, the Most Holy Sacrament of the
Altar, in which God had given Himself Entirely-to them. They shall Consequently,
Hate all the other-Means which have been Helps to their
Salvation. Hence, they shall Hate and Curse all the
Angels and Saints. But, they shall Curse particularly, their
Guardian Angels, their Special Advocates; and, above-all the Divine
Mother Mary. They shall Curse the Three (3) Divine
Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;
but particularly Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, Who
Suffered so much and Died-for their Salvation. They shall
Curse the Wounds of Jesus Christ, the
Blood of Jesus Christ, and the Death of Jesus Christ.
Behold the End, to which Accursed Sin Leads the Souls, which
Jesus Christ has so Dearly Bought.
- End of Liguori Sermon -
Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation
Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and
Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches.
Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the
Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.
Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of
Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may
Love none other, but You.
I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that
belongs to me, as You Please.
I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.
I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the
Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to
those who have done Evil to me.
Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a
Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a
Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of
Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.
Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to
You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant
that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary.
Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me.
Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls
This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In
1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it,
or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the
Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.
O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and
O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of
O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your
Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing
Souls, Pray for us.
Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .