Ave Maria-The Hail Mary

The Ave Maria/Hail Mary brought salvation to mankind. Here’s a beautiful rendition sung by the powerful singer, Celine Dion, enjoy …



St Teresa of Avila used to tell the story of a nun from her Convent who died and appeared to St Teresa in a dream.
The nun told St Teresa that she would willingly undergo the sufferings of her whole life again in exchange for the merits of one Hail Mary said with love.
The Hail Mary is SO powerful because the Angelic Salutation brought eternal salvation to the world!

Here are some execerpts from “The Secret of the Rosary” by Louis de Montfort-one of the BEST books I have ever read on the Rosary. This passage brings out the wonders of the simple yet beautiful scriptural prayer of the Hail Mary…

THIS HEAVENLY SALUTATION draws down upon us the blessings of Jesus and Mary in abundance, for it is an infallible truth that Jesus and Mary reward in a marvelous way those who glorify them. They repay us a hundred fold for the praises that we give them. “I love them that love Me . . . that I may enrich them that love Me and fill their treasures.” Jesus and Mary have always said: “We love those who love Us; we enrich them and fill their treasuries to overflowing.” “He who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings.”

Now, if we say the Hail Mary properly, is not this a way to love, bless and glorify Jesus and Mary?

In each Hail Mary we bless both Jesus and Mary: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

By each Hail Mary we give Our Lady the same honor that God gave her when He sent the Archangel Gabriel to greet her for Him. How could anyone possibly think that Jesus and Mary, who often do good to those that curse them, could ever curse those that bless and honor them by the Hail Mary?

Both Saint Bernard and Saint Bonaventure say that the Queen of Heaven is certainly no less grateful and conscientious than gracious and well-mannered people of this world. Just as she excels in all other perfections, she surpasses us all in the virtue of gratitude; so she would never let us honor her with love and respect without repaying us one hundred fold. Saint Bonaventure says that Mary will greet us with grace if we greet her with the Hail Mary.

Who could possibly understand the graces and blessings which the greeting and tender regard of Our Lady effect in us? From the very first instant that Saint Elizabeth heard the greeting that the Mother of God gave her, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and the child in her womb leaped for joy. If we make ourselves worthy of the greeting and blessings of Our Lady we shall certainly be filled with graces and a flood of spiritual consolations will come down into our souls.

  1. Prov. 8:17, 21. 2. Cor. 9:6. (Extract from http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/secret-rosary18.htm)

Therefore it is a privilege to know and pray the words over and over again in Our Lady’s favourite prayer, the Rosary:

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.
Amen.

The Mass-Fulton Sheen

An amazing explanation of the Holy Mass & the importance of our participation in it.

The Lady of Guadalupe-the Mother of God’s Words of Comfort (1531)

THE STORY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE-see below

On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.”

Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady.Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop. When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth.

The picture of Mary was beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request.The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have notfaded and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time.The manner in whichOur Lady appeared on the tilma was very significant to the Aztec Indians. God had her dressed in a way that they would understand who she was. She was dressed in royal clothes that showed that she was very important, perhaps a queen. She also had the symbol of the cross at her neck which was the same symbol the Spaniards had on their ships and in the churches they built. She had a sash tied around her waist which meant that she was with child, for this was the way the Aztec women dressed when they were pregnant. And on her beautiful dress were all sorts of designs and flowers. But there was one flower on her dress that was very significant. It had only four petals. To the Aztecs, the four petal flower was the symbol for the true God, the God above all gods. This flower was located on her abdomen, right over the place where Jesus was growing inside of her. The Aztecs immediately understood that this was the mother of the true God!

This appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was very important to the history of the continent. You see, the Aztec Indians and the Spaniards were on the brink of war. The Aztec Indians’ culture and religion were very different from the Spaniards. They worshipped gods, to whom they would offer human sacrifices, often killing 50,000 people a year. The Spaniards, who were Catholic, wanted to stop this. But they were cruel to the Aztecs too, treating them like animals and sometimes killing them for no reason. If a war had occurred, it would have been very brutal and the Spaniards and Christianity would have been totally wiped out.

Mary’s appearance changed everything and the Indians embraced Christianity and it helped the Spaniards to treat the Indians with respect and as human beings. In the course of seven years, 6,000,000 Indians converted to the Catholic faith. This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church!This is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas.

Juan Diego, the humble man to whom she appeared, was canonized in the summer of 2002.Mary’s appearance also put an end to the worship of stone gods and the ritual of human sacrifice. We pray for Mary’s help today to bring an end to the human sacrifice of God’s children through abortion and to convert non-believers. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also called the Patroness of the Unborn.

Marino Restrepo-Catholic Conversion Story

Never before, since reading Scott Hahn’s conversion story, have I been so touched or a story has left such an impression on me… I recommend it heartily!

Click Here To Read Marino’s Conversion Story.

Click here to read a Review on Marino’s latest BookCatholics Awake.

Never before, since reading Scott Hahn’s conversion story,  have I been so touched or a story has left such an impression on me…

Why Is This So?

Amongst other things, whenever I hear Marino speak (there are lots of FREE videos of him on You Tube) and also when I go to Marino retreats in person, I am very blessed indeed-every time!

Standing next to Marino, you can feel the peace and love of God in him.

Marino is an eloquent and prophetic preacher calling all Christians and Catholics to wake up from our sleep of lack of love and lethargy and to walk in a new and disciplined Christian discipleship.

Instead of thinking constantly of what the Lord can do for us, we should start by saying ” Yes, Lord, I’m your soldier what can I do for you? What can I do for souls?”

Hailed as the new St Paul of this Century, Marino Restrepo has been travelling globally for many years and has produced many powerful and inspiring  DVDs, CDs and books.

His first Book,  “From Darkness to Light” lays out, in detail, Marino’s conversion story and brings home the truth of the Christian faith in an uncomprising manner, some would say, in an ‘old fashioned’ manner-how sorely we are in need of God’s Word these days.

Why Marino Restrepo?

Marino was born in Colombia and left the Christian faith at the age of 14 embracing many New Age and pagan philosophies. He categorically rejected any existence of hell and satan and for him, God was merely a cosmic life energy ‘force’.

Then suddenly all that changed, Marino was kidnapped by Colombian terrorists and during his captivity in brutal circumstances he underwent a near death and profound conversion experience.

But for the grace of God Marino would have ended up in hell for all eternity but instead he was given a treasure trove of infused knowledge from Jesus and his blessed Mother and many mysteries of the Kingdom of God were revealed to him.

Tirelessly, Marino travels the world and has set up a lay missionary association called “The Pilgrims of Love” to spread and to live the messages which are none other than a concrete and practical living out of the true and full Gospel message.

Marino does not water down the truths of the Gospel to ‘tickle the ears’ of his listeners.

More Information

For more information please click on the links below.

Your spirit will testify inside as you hear Marino speak that here is a man who has seen and lived these realities in his life, who indeed went to hell and back! Marino is a voice of God in the desert of this spiritually undernourished world!

Click Here To Read Marino’s Conversion Story

Powerful Holy Souls Prayer to Release Them!

The Holy Souls Chaplet

I say the following Holy Souls Chaplet using my Rosary beads.I believe that it’s a powerful prayer and, in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I’ve had some profound experiences of lightness and joy, as if souls are sharing with me in their release and or deeper level of freedom. Why is this so? Well, we are offering to the Eternal Father His well beloved Son offered in every Mass ever said.

Surely, that is more than enough to pay off the debts of each Holy Soul.

Also, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, so too, He will multiply our prayers to apply them to each Holy Soul-there is no limit to Jesus’ generosity: the only limit is our confidenc!

So, here’s the prayer for the Holy Souls said x50 times on the Rosary beads (or as a decade of x10 if you are short on time). It doesn’t take that long actually:

On the Hail Mary beads say:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus offered in every Mass ever said for each Holy Soul and every sinner”. The final part praying for every sinner, takes into account the dying-who are in great need of God’s help and basically everyone else including our families and ourselves as we are all sinners.

It’s a very simple, but a very powerful prayer to help the Holy Souls in their suffering.

What more can you offer to the Father than Jesus for their relief?

—————————————————————————————————————

Also, here’s another prayer that is said to release many Holy Souls when it is said:

Devotion of St. Bernard to the Shoulder Wound of Jesus

O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Your Shoulder on which You bore Your heavy Cross, which so tore Your Flesh and laid bare Your Bones as to inflict on You an anguish greater than any other Wound of Your Most Blessed Body. I adore You, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify You and give You thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching You by the crushing burden of Your heavy Cross to be merciful to the souls in purgatory and to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Your Cross. Amen.

Catholics Wake Up!

In his amazing and insightful Book, “Catholics Awake’-Marino Restrepo calls on all Catholics to wake up. Catholics are  the sleeping giant of the Church that need to wake up and start praying and sacrificing!

It’s a Book that reminds us to take our faith and our calling to be saints and to save souls seriously…

If you’re searching for a book that will make you sit up and think twice about the Christian faith then look no further because ‘Catholics Awake‘ which is a Book that hits you right between the eyes with its profound insights about the state of the Catholic Church today as Marino calls the Church to repentance and renewal.

From a personal point of view, I can usually read a book in a day and take most of it in. But, with ‘Catholics Awake’ I have needed to put the Book down constantly to take in the profound messages in it. Reading it is like eating a gourmet meal for the soul as opposed to a quick snack which doesn’t satisfy the soul and is too superficial-so many modern spiritual books are like that!

So, who is Marino Restrepo?

Marino Restrepo is a man who underwent a profound mystical experience during which he was taken to Hell and Heaven and received many revelations concerning the afterlife. During his experience, Marino was literally brought to the gates of hell but his life ‘was redeemed from the grave’ by Jesus and he has been called to proclaim the powerful truths he was privileged to see and experience.

The potent and life changing testimony and teachings of Marino serve as a genuine warning to souls that hell exists and sin, pride and lack of love bring souls there!

It’s an important and instructive message for our times and one that’s straight from the heart.

The Book ‘Catholics Awake’ is a fruit of Marino’s ten year plus global ministry from Australia to Venezuela where he has witnessed first hand the divisions and mediocrity in the Bride of Christ.

Marino calls out in this Book for Catholics to wake up from their sleep, for ‘the night is far behind us’ already and we need to take a quantum leap into our faith and into the light of Christ.

Marino is sounding the trumpet to Catholics everywhere in this Book telling us that ‘The time has come to go out there and preach it (the Gospel) like it is, with a non negotiable aim that only strives to glorify the Lord and to proclaim His kingdom among us’.

‘Catholics Awake’ promotes the importance and power of the Church’s Sacraments which are often forgotten, denied and even abused.

Marino reminds Catholics that we need to reclaim our lost heritage and not to become ashamed of it and to protect themselves from weak forms of Christianity which are gathering in popularity these days and which ignore the cross of Calvary and are centred on a prosperity Gospel of wealth and well being, the spirituality of self and self realisation.

For example, regarding the Sacrament of Baptism, Marino reminds us of its efficacy:

‘Through baptism, one is enlisted from above into the army of the Kingdom of God and is given the legitimacy of a citizenship in the City of Light, the New Jerusalem’.

Baptism is a most powerful privilege which many Christians are completely unaware of and don’t live up to, ‘Christians, know thy dignity’.

Marino also reminds Christians that in the Sacrament of Baptism we are exorcised from the past, from the sins of ancestors, beginning with the sin of all sins: original sin.  In Baptism, we become a member of Christ’s mystical body on earth, and it’s a high yet hidden calling and one that we need to live up to everyday of our lives.

‘Catholics Awake’ is a ‘must read’ for all those wishing to deepen their knowledge of the Christian and Catholic faith and of the power of the Sacraments or even for those who wish to find out about the great depths of treasures and riches the Catholic Church has deposited within it. Riches which are guarded by ‘vessels of clay’ but it is real nonetheless.

The knowledge and wisdom contained in ‘Catholics Awake’ is part and parcel of the treasure trove of infused knowledge Marino Restrepo received during his mystical conversion experience with Jesus and Mary. This Book is lived experience and not theoretical musings that’s why it speaks direct to the heart.

This is why I think it touches the spirit so deeply as you read the Book and it provokes one to a profound change of heart.

The Eucharist-A Miracle in Our Midst!

The Eucharist is the ‘source and summit’ of our Christian life as the second Vatican Council informed us.

Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’ and the Eucharist IS the actual Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ which on earth offers an incessant hymn of thanksgiving to the Eternal Father, the Father of all goodness.
what is hell like

A miracle-Jesus truly present in the Eucharistic host

 
Jesus in His great love for us invented a tremendous and miraculous way to stay with us until the end of time, just as He promised us He would at the end of the Gospels.
 
The Risen Jesus is as physically present with us now on earth in every Catholic Church Tabernacle and in every Host as he was with his apostles before the Ascension or with Emmaus disciples.
 
The only difference is that our senses cannot ‘see’ or hear Jesus, but with our eyes of faith and our eyes of love, we see Him-hidden in His marvellous humility.
St Thomas Aquinas, the most learned of theologians, tells us that the Eucharistic presence of Jesus can’t be discerned by human sense but only with the heart.

A wonderful website with excellent Eucharistic information and details of scientifically verified miracles can be at The Real Presence.org- found here.

May the Eucharist always be the source and summit of our faith and the promise and reassurance of our life to come.

As St Peter Julian Eymard said, ‘The Holy Eucharist is the perfect expression of the love of Jesus Christ for man, since It is the quintessence of all the mysteries of his life’ (1811-1868)

How to Obtain Mary’s Help!

There’s a simple way to obtain Mary’s powerful help.

Mary’s intercession with God is all powerful in Heaven. On earth, Mary always did the Will of God with the utmost love and faithfulness and, at every moment: she never sinned.

Because of this, Mary is the advocate par excellence with her Son, Jesus, who is the ‘one mediator’ with the Father. Mary never leads anyone away from her Son-she leads us to Jesus on a deeper level. We cannot underestimate the power of Mary to help us in all our spiritual and temporal (wordly) needs of which we have many, known and unknown to us.

Here is the simple method I use especially when you are worried about things. The method is surprisingly simple yet very powerful:

A letter to Mary Our Mother when distressed or worried about things in life- Mary will help with the problem or give you peace about it and strength to carry it

Dear Mary, my Mother,

You have always helped me in the past and I thank You.Please may I give you the following things I am worried about. You can work out things a 1000 times better than I ever could or can.

Now list what is bothering you in detail-write it all out-get it all off your chest-the worries and the associated fears!

If it helps, you can number your problems, needs and worries i.e. Problem 1, Problem 2, Problem 3 etc.

End your letter with something like…

Mary, I give You everything, known and unknown and my future and the future of …..Please undo all the knots that we are in and grant us Your peace and strength. As You took care of everything that was needed at the wedding feast of Cana, please take care of my needs.

Take each one of these sufferings and unite them to Your sufferings on earth in penance for sins and to take out some of the swords that pierce Your Immaculate Heart becuase of the ingratitude and sins of men.

Mary, if these worries that I have given You today come back again, I will say, “NO, Mary is in charge of all that now, I will hurt Mary’s feelings if I worry about them again”. I will refuse to take the worries back out of your hands and hurt You Mary.

I will keep saying ‘Mary is in charge of everything, I will hurt Mary if I worry’.

Mary, send Your holy angels to help me and whoever will help me on earth. Amen

Note-it may help to put the letter in an envelope and ‘give’ it to your Guardian Angel to present it to Mary. I put the letter under a blessed picture or statue of Mary for safe keeping.

It is fascinating to find the letter some time later and realise how many problems have been resolved or that simply melted away!

Try this simple formula, it works and it’s a lot more powerful than sitting brooding on difficulties and getting nowhere fast!

‘Set The Captives Free’-Pray For Those In Prison!

The Holy Souls in Purgatory need our help! They can’t help themselves!

They are stuck in purgatory, waiting to enter Heaven. They are being purified of the temporal punishment due to their sins on earth which they didn’t ‘pay off’ before they died. Purgatory is indeed a mercy of the Lord. + Read More

St Therese Novena

St Therese Novena Prayer

St Therese the Little Flower,

please send us a rose from the Heavenly garden,

with a message of love.

Ask God to grant us the favour we implore

and help us to love him more and more

Amen

(Ask God for the gift or grace you desire)

Within nine days or sooner after someone should give you a rose which is St Therese saying she has heard your prayer!

One time I prayed this prayer someone gave me a bunch of roses AND a copy of St Therese’s autobiography-just in case I thought it was a coincidence! The person didn’t know I was saying the Novena or indeed about the Novena, they just said they felt called to give me flowers and their copy of St Therese’s Book!

The 24 Glory Be’s of Novena of St Therese

Another powerful devotion used by St Therese devotees is to pray 24 Glory Be’s to the Holy Trinity for an intention and in St Teresa’s honour, this is powerful prayer of praise to the most Holy Trinity and one that St Therese loves to hear prayed in honour of her short but wonder working life on earth of 24 years. A Glory Be for every year of her life-how marvellous! You can order prayer beads for this on Amazon by the way and they are really useful.

 

Powerful Prayer of Sorrow for Sin

In addition to the beautiful and moving  Life offering prayer that Our Lady gave to Sr Natalia, a Hungarian nun in the 1950’s, as part of the messages called “The Victorious Queen of the World” (a very powerful and moving book about the times we are living in now) Mary also gave a beautiful and touching prayer Sr Natalia.

This prayer doesn’t just give sorrow for our OWN sins but also sorrow for the sins of world, the sins of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Mary told the three little children at Fatima when she showed them hell; “Many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and makes sacrifices for them.” We should burn these words into our hearts and minds lest we forget them.

The following act of sorrow draws down many graces and mercy for sinners…

Act of Sorrow

O my Jesus, I love you over and above everything! For the love of you I am sorry for all my sins. O merciful love, I ask pardon for the sins of the world. United with the Immaculate Heart of our Heavenly Mother, I ask pardon for all my sins and for all the sins of my brothers and sisters that have been and will be committed until the end of the world.

My dear Jesus, united with your Holy Wounds I offer my life to the Eternal Father according to the intention of the Sorrowful Mother. Virgin Mary, Queen of the world, Mediatrix of humanity, our only refuge and hope, pray for us!” Amen

Disasters In Our Lives and How They Lead Us To God

The disaster brought about by Covid 19 have led many to start praying to God for help, protection and relief.

If this health and economic disaster has us on our knees, then the ‘disasters’ we face in our personal lives can also bring us to our knees and humble us profoundly.

Very often, although they are painful, God uses these things to bring us closer to him.

It is at such times that we realise how dependent we are on the Lord for everything. When we realise our dependency on the Creator of all things, then we are being humble.

Humility is a beautiful virtue which makes us irresistible to God. The Saints knew how to be humble. It is the virtue that all the Saints had in a high degree.

For more information on humility read the article below…

THE BEAUTIFUL VIRTUE OF HUMILITY

Humility is no other than a shortcut to holiness, happiness and lasting peace of soul. It is a virtue that is needed

to gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

But first a word of warning, the more you practice this shortcut the more holy, happy and

loving you will be. Your life will never be the same again! You will also obtain an eternal

glory far outweighing anything you may ‘lose’ or suffer from letting go of your ego. 

 

The key to understanding this virtue is simple; ‘before there can be glory, there must be

humility’ (Prov 15:33).  Just as at least a touch of pride is necessary for every sin, so too at least a touch of humility is necessary for any act of love and service.

I am sure you will agree that a proud person who takes the credit for everything they have or do or

even worse, takes the credit for what they imagine they have or do, is as welcome and loved

as a skunk at a lawn party.

By contrast, a humble person is always liked, loved and welcome. People feel ‘safe’ and secure 

around humble people who are loving and are not trying to prove how superior they are or 
who are looking down their very long noses at all the lesser mortals they are gracing with their 

presence. The very proud are a very sorry sight and are usually completely in the dark as to their 
behaviour, but God sees all. 

By contrast, the hearts of the humble are full of acceptance and peace, they love others almost

without effort, it comes naturally to them to accept others and offer them unconditional love (no strings
or self interest attached). This ability to accept others makes the humble person a welcome guest in

people’s hearts and none more so than in God’s heart. 

Through humility we are in fact imitating God who came to earth to live and die for love of us. 
Jesus, God’s eternal word made flesh became a humble baby and lived a humble hidden life, 
facing persecution and death. 

The more we can imitate this humility of Jesus the holier we become.

The more we love, the more we do God’s will on earth and God’s Kingdom can come on earth 
through us and our lives.  

One day when asked what virtue was the most essential one to practice for holiness, St Jean Marie Vianney, answered; ‘humility, humility, humility’. His words still ring true today. 

So important is the imitation of Jesus in this virtue that Scipture tells us Jesus asked us for one thing. It was to, ‘learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart ‘ The reward of such humility Jesus assured us would be the precious ‘rest for your souls'(Mt 11:29) which we are seeking often fruitlessly.

It is really only by the grace of God that we can be humble as human nature is naturally proud and also prone to sin as a consequence of the weakness left in us by original sin and our own past sins. We need to ask God for the grace to be humble, as Jesus was, every day. 

Jesus warned us in the Gospels that we can do nothing without him, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty, for cut off from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5). 

Therefore, without Jesus and the grace he grants us through the Holy Spirit to be humble, we simply cannot keep it up. 

Knowing and believing that we can do nothing without Christ is itself an essential element of true humility. Humility is simply knowing and living in our dependancy as creatures of God our Creator, understanding that we need God for every moment for our existence just as we needed him for our creation.

Humility also consists in being grateful to God for all his blessings and striving to be satisfied with God’s will in our lives. The words of Robert Louis Stevenson spring to mind “The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life,” on the path of humility snoozing is always a backward step!

In a nutshell, humility is simply the shortcut to holiness and its blessed reward which is peace, a peace ‘beyond understanding’ even here on earth! The peace of the Prince of Peace.

Mystics of the Church Website

Crucified with Christ -The extraordinary Mystics of the Church-read about them here by clicking on this link!

Today, I’m highlighting a wonderful Site about the  Mystics of the Church which you might like!

On this Site, you can read about various mystics of the Church, many of them from modern times, and their incredible lives and messages.

As Proverbs 12:26 says:
“The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.”

and

Proverbs 27:9 also tells us:
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”

Reading about our Heavenly brothers and sisters who love us with a pure and disinterested love does us a great deal of good.

Click here to read about Catholic Mystics

 

Hell! What Is Hell Like?

st anthony mary claret article on hell

What Is Hell? What is Hell like?-I am sure every person at some point in their lives has asked themselves this question.

There are people who claim to have been to hell through near death experiences or ones similar to these. A modern day preaching phenomenon is Marino Restrepo and his experience of hell. So too What is hell like-Bill Weise gives a protestant perspective on hell when he was brought there for 23 minutes….

I just couldn’t let the following pass though-The following account is well worth the (long) read. It’s from a Saint, St Anthony Mary Claret. It’s a leaflet called “The Pains of Hell”. The attribution link is here: Gloria TV articles

What Is Hell?-From the Writings of St. Anthony Mary Claret

The sensation of pain in Hell is essentially very dreadful. Picture yourself, my soul, on a dark night on the summit of a high mountain. Beneath you is a deep valley, and the earth opens so that with your gaze you can see Hell in the cavity of it. Picture it as a prison situated in the center of the earth, many leagues down, all full of fire, hemmed in so impenetrably that for all eternity not even the smoke can escape. In this prison the damned are packed so tightly one on the other like bricks in a kiln… Consider the quality of the fire in which they burn.

First, the fire is all-extensive and tortures the whole body and the whole soul. A damned person lies in Hell forever in the same spot, which he was assigned by divine justice, without being able to move, as a prisoner in stocks.

The fire, in which he is totally enveloped, as a fish in water, burns around him, on his left, his right, above and below. His head, his breast, his shoulders, his arms, his hands, and his feet are all penetrated with fire, so that he completely resembles a glowing hot piece of iron, which has just been withdrawn from an oven. The roof beneath which the damned person dwells is fire; the food he takes is fire; the drink he tastes is fire; the air he breathes is fire; whatever he sees and touches is all fire….

But this fire is not merely outside him; it also passes within the condemned person. It penetrates his brain, his teeth, his tongue, his throat, his liver, his lungs, his bowels, his belly, his heart, his veins, his nerves, his bones, even to the marrow, and even his blood.

“In Hell,” according to St. Gregory the Great, “there will be a fire that cannot be put out, a worm which cannot die, a stench one cannot bear, a darkness one can feel, a scourging by savage hands, with those present despairing of anything good.”

A most dreadful fact is that by the divine power this fire goes so far as to work on the very faculties of the soul, burning them and tormenting them. Suppose I were to find myself placed at the oven of a smith so that my whole body was in the open air but for one arm placed in the fire, and that God were to preserve my life for a thousand years in this position. Would this not be an unbearable torture? What, then, would it be like to be completely penetrated and surrounded by fire, which would affect not just an arm, but even all the faculties of the soul?

More Dreadful than Man Can Imagine

Secondly, this fire is far more dreadful than man can imagine. The natural fire that we see during this life has great power to burn and torment. Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of Hell. There are two reasons why the fire of Hell is more dreadful beyond all comparison than the fire of this life.

The first reason is the justice of God, which the fire serves as an instrument in order to punish the infinite wrong done to his supreme majesty, which has been despised by a creature. Therefore, justice supplies this element with a burning power, which almost reaches the infinite….

The second reason is the malice of sin. As God knows that the fire of this world is not enough to punish sin, as it deserves, He has given the fire of Hell a power so strong that it can never be comprehended by any human mind.   Now, how powerfully does this fire burn?

It burns so powerfully, O my soul, that, according to the ascetical masters, if a mere spark of it fell on a millstone; it would reduce it in a moment to powder. If it fell on a ball of bronze, it would melt it in an instant as if it were wax. If it landed on a frozen lake, it would make it boil in an instant.

Pause here briefly, my soul, and answer a few questions I will put. First, I ask you: If a special furnace were fired up as was customarily done to torment the holy martyrs, and then men placed before you all kinds of good things that the human heart might want, and added the offer of a prosperous kingdom –  if all this were promised you on condition that for just a half-hour you enclose yourself within the furnace, what would you choose?

A Hundred Kingdoms

“Ah!” you would say, “If you offered me a hundred kingdoms I would never be so foolish as to accept your brutal terms, regardless of how grand your offer might be, even if I were sure that God would preserve my life during those moments of suffering.”

Second, I ask you: If you already had possession of a great kingdom and were swimming in a sea of wealth so that nothing was wanting to you, and then you were attacked by an enemy, were imprisoned and put in chains and obliged to either renounce your kingdom or else spend a half-hour in a hot furnace, what would you choose? “Ah!” you would say, “I would prefer to spend my whole life in extreme poverty and submit to any other hardship and misfortune, than suffer such a great torment!”

A Prison of Eternal Fire

Now turn your thoughts from the temporal to the eternal. To avoid the torment of a hot furnace, which would last but a half-hour, you would forgo all your property, even things you are most fond of; you would suffer any other temporal loss, however burdensome. Then why do you not think the same way when you are dealing of eternal torments? God threatens you not just with a half-hour in a furnace, but with a prison of eternal fire. To escape it, should you not forgo whatever He has forbidden, no matter how pleasant it can be for you, and gladly embrace whatever He commands, even if it be extremely unpleasant?

A most terrible thing about Hell is its duration. The condemned person loses God and loses Him for all eternity. Now, what is eternity? O my soul, up to now there has not been any angel who has been able to comprehend what eternity is. So how can you comprehend it? Yet, to form some idea of it, consider the following truths:

Eternity never ends. This is the truth that has made even the great saints tremble. The final judgment will come, the world will be destroyed, the earth will swallow up those who are damned, and they will be cast into Hell. Then, with His almighty hand, God will shut them up in that most unhappy prison.

From then on, as many years will pass as there are leaves on the trees and plants on all the earth, as many thousands of years as there are drops of water in all seas and rivers, as many thousands of years as there are atoms in the air, as there are grains of sand on all the shores of all seas. Then, after the passage of this countless number of years, what will eternity be? Up to then there will not even have been a hundredth part of it, nor a thousandth – nothing. It then begins again and will last as long again, even after this has been repeated a thousand times, and a thousand million times again. And then, after so long a period, not even a half will have passed, not even a hundredth part nor a thousandth, not even any part of eternity. For all this time there is no interruption in the burnings of those who are damned, and it begins all over again.

Oh, a deep mystery indeed! A terror above all terrors! O eternity! Who can comprehend thee?

The Tears of Cain

Suppose that, in the case of unhappy Cain, weeping in Hell, he shed in every thousand years just one tear. Now, O my soul, recollect your thoughts and suppose this case: For six thousand years at least Cain has been in Hell and shed only six tears, which God miraculously preserves. How many years would pass for his tears to fill all the valleys of the earth and flood all the cities and towns and villages and cover all the mountains so as to flood the whole earth? We understand the distance from the earth to the sun is thirty-four million leagues. How many years would be necessary for Cain’s tears to fill that immense space? From the earth to the firmament is, let us suppose, a distance of a hundred and sixty million leagues.

O God! What number of years might one imagine to be sufficient to fill with these tears this immense space? And yet – O truth so incomprehensible – be sure of it, as that God cannot lie – a time will arrive in which these tears of Cain would be sufficient to flood the world, to reach even the sun, to touch the firmament, and fill all the space between earth and the highest heaven. But that is not all.

If God dried up all these tears to the last drop and Cain began again to weep, he would again fill the same entire space with them and fill it a thousands times and a million times in succession, and after all those countless years, not even half of eternity would have passed, not even a fraction. After all that time burning in Hell, Cain’s sufferings will be just beginning.

This eternity is also without relief. It would indeed be a small consolation and of little benefit for the condemned persons to be able to receive a brief respite once every thousand years.

No Relief

Picture in Hell a place where there are three reprobates. The first is plunged in a lake of sulfuric fire, the second is chained to a large rock and is being tormented by two devils, one of whom continually pours molten lead down his throat while the other spills it all over his body, covering him from head to foot. The third reprobate is being tortured by two serpents, one of which wraps around the man’s body and cruelly gnaws on it, while the other enters within the body and attacks the heart. Suppose God is moved to pity and grants a short respite.

The first man, after the passage of a thousand years is drawn from the lake and receives the relief of a drink of cool water, and at the end of an hour is cast again into the lake. The second, after a thousand years, is released from his place and allowed to rest, but after an hour is again returned to the same torment. The third, after a thousand years, is delivered from the serpents; but after an hour of relief, is again abused and tormented by them. Ah, how little this consolation would be – to suffer a thousand years and to rest only one hour.

However, Hell does not even have that much relief. One burns always in those dreadful flames and never receives any relief for all eternity. He is forever gnawed and stricken with remorse, and will never have a rest for all eternity. He will suffer always a very ardent thirst and never receive the refreshment of a sip of water for all eternity. He will see himself always abhorred by God and will never enjoy a single tender glance from Him for all eternity. He will find himself forever cursed by heaven and Hell, and will never receive a single gesture of friendship.

It is an essential misfortune of Hell that everything will be without relief, without remedy, without interruption, without end, eternal.

The Kindness of His Mercy

Now I understand in part, O my God, what Hell is. It is a place of extreme pain, of extreme despair. It is where I deserve to be for my sins, where I would have been confined for some years already if your immense mercy had not delivered me. I will keep repeating a thousand times: The Heart of Jesus has loved me, or else I would now be in Hell! The mercy of Jesus has pitied me, for otherwise I would be in Hell! The Blood of Jesus has reconciled me with the heavenly Father, or my dwelling place would be Hell. This shall be the hymn that I want to sing to Thee, my God, for all eternity. Yes, from now on my intention is to repeat these words as many times as there are moments that have passed since that unhappy hour in which I first offended You.

What has been my gratitude to God for his kind mercy that He showed me? He delivered me from Hell. O, immense charity! O, infinite goodness! After a benefit so great, should I not have given Him my whole heart and loved Him with the love of the most ardent Seraphim? Should I not have directed all my actions to Him and in everything sought only His divine pleasure, accepting all contradictions with joy, in order to return to Him my love? Could I do less than that after a kindness that was so great? And yet, what is it that I have done? Oh, ingratitude worthy of another Hell! I cast You aside, O my God! I reacted to Your mercy by committing new sins and offenses. I know that I have done evil, O my God, and I repent with my whole heart. Ah, would that I could shed a sea of tears for such outrageous ingratitude! O Jesus, have mercy on me; for I now resolve to rather suffer a thousand deaths than offend You again.

The Urgency of Hell

It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God. With these most positive principles in mind, how can I remain indifferent when I see the ease with which sins are committed, sins that occur as frequently as one takes a glass of water, sins and offenses that are perpetrated out of levity or diversion? How can I rest when so many are to be seen living continually in mortal sin and rushing in this blind manner to their eternal destruction? No indeed, I cannot rest, but must needs run and shout a warning to them. If I saw anyone about to fall into a pit or a fire, would I not run up to him and warn him, and do all in my power to help him from falling in? Why should I not do this much to keep sinners from falling into the pit and fires of Hell?

Neither can I understand why other priests who believe the selfsame truths as I do, as we all must do, do not preach or exhort their flock so that they might avoid this unbearable eternity of Hell. It is still a source of wonder to me how the laity – those men and women blessed with the Faith – do not give warning to those who need it. If a house were to catch fire in the middle of the night, and if the inhabitants of the same house and the other townsfolk were asleep and did not see the danger, would not the one who first noticed it shout and run along the streets, exclaiming: “Fire! Fire! In that house over there!” Then why should there not be a warning of eternal fire to waken those who are drifting in the sleep of sin in such a way that when they open their eyes they will find themselves burning in the eternal flames of Hell?

Zeal for the salvation of souls spurred St. Anthony Mary Claret to preach an estimated 25,000 sermons, write 144 books, found three religious orders, preach countless missions, and in six years as a bishop, confirm over 300,000 and validate more than 9,000 marriages. Starting as a missionary in Spain and the Canary Islands, he was later appointed Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba, and thereafter confessor to the Queen of Spain. But in all he did, he labored so ceaselessly, so tirelessly, and so fruitfully for the cause of Christ and His Church that he is simply called a “Modern Apostle.”

Miracles surrounded his work, and he possessed the gifts of prophecy and the reading of hearts. He often saw Our Lord and Our Lady (to whom he was especially devoted), receiving from them instruction, encouragement, and prophecies. Driven by the overwhelming motivation of saving immortal souls from eternal damnation, St. Anthony Mary Claret directed all his energies to this end, finding all other goals worthless in comparison.

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