Filling the hell?

Looking through my notes for something interesting to comment on, I found this comic strip by Pablo Coelho entitled: “How to keep hell full” which narrates the following fable:

As soon as he expired on the cross, the Son of God went straight to hell to save sinners. The devil was very saddened.

  • I have no more function in this universe,” said Satan. From now on, all the outcasts, those who have transgressed the precepts, committed adultery or broken the laws, will all be forgiven and can go straight to paradise.

Jesus looked at him and smiled:

  • Do not mourn. Here will come all those who, believing themselves to be very virtuous, endlessly condemn those who do not follow my word. Wait a few centuries and you will see that hell will end up much fuller than before“.

There is no need to insist that this is a parable. What message does it offer to so many people who think that hell is a gross hoax, a cruel myth of no value because we tend to disregard morality? Without exhausting the dialogue that may ensue, I offer just a few starting points.

  • We cannot know anything about hell except its terrible character. And we know this not because of the images we have received in the course of tradition, but because it is the polar opposite of what we lose: the immense fullness of life that Christ announces to us with his saving promise.
  • But we must not use hell to set up a ministry of fear, because that is incompatible with the God who creates out of love and who desires our salvation. We cannot send anyone to hell, no matter how cruel, abusive, murderous or evil they may be. We are not judges of anyone. Damnation is not something that God desires, but something that He suffers and endures. And He tries to remedy it without ever annulling human freedom.
  • Hence the word “hell” should never be considered as a punishment from God. It has to do with our freedom. There are two possibilities of closing oneself to the salvation that God offers: to consider that one does not need it because one feels innocent; and, as a second possibility, to believe that one’s own sin is unforgivable (not even God forgives it!).
  • A man can be deprived of everything except one thing: his capacity to love. Only in hell will it not be possible to love. Because hell is literally that: not to love, not to have anything to share, not to have the possibility of sitting next to anyone to tell them “Cheer up! But as long as we live there is no chain to hold the heart, except of course that of selfishness itself, which is like a foretaste of hell. “he real criminals, said Raoul Follerau, “are those who spend their lives saying ‘I’ and always ‘I’“. Even if they pray a lot and frequent the temples.


Juan Carlos cmf

(PHOTO: James Lee)


Start typing and press Enter to search