The fires of hell with Hilaire Belloc

sacred heartsSometimes people think that the fires of hell mean real fire (only), because they are afraid of WHO that fire actually is, namely, God, that is, God’s love. Yes, in hell. It’s not universal salvationistic to say that God loves all regardless of whether or not they love him, regardless of whether they are in heaven or in hell or here upon this earth for that matter. The difference involves the reception of that love or not:

  • Those in heaven rejoice in this ardent fiery love.
  • Those on earth who follow Jesus are purified by this fiery love.
  • Those in purgatory are purged by this fiery love.
  • Those on earth who reject Jesus are thrown into agonizing frustration by this fiery love.
  • Those in hell, upon whom God’s love shines, scream in the agony that this love brings to them, for they want nothing to do with such love; their intellectual burning frustration sets their souls on fire.

But it’s all God’s love. I’m sure there are those who just won’t get this, and who will insist that I’m not a priest anyway for the fact of being Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy, and will stomp their feet while shouting that I’m a heretic for saying that God’s love is in hell and that that’s what makes hell hell for those in hell. But, hey, I can only say what is right. Irony is scary. And somehow, I can’t apologize for that. Maybe I’m evil. Hilaire Belloc might say so. I haven’t put this up for a little while, so, here it goes up again (I think I should memorize this; it would do anyone good to memorize it):

hilaire bellocTo the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]

4 Comments

Filed under Hell, Missionaries of Mercy

4 responses to “The fires of hell with Hilaire Belloc

  1. Monica Harris

    I wonder if it is true that: as I age, and step away far away enough from a specific miserable situation—the more irony hits me and the more I detect God behind it. So, for me, takes a little distance, a sense of humor, and ….a daring to hope?

  2. Father George David Byers

    That’s a daring phrase, “daring to hope”, but most appropriate here. Yes, we dare with the grace Jesus gives to us.

  3. Cathe D.

    Good morning Father George…thank you for this writing. It gives me much to ponder concerning God’s Love. I constantly have to remind myself that He is our Creator; Creator of all things. A lot of the time, I tend to unintentionally limit my beliefs in what God can do and does for us. If God’s Love is the fire in hell then perhaps He intends that no souls be lost, not even the “evil souls”. I am unsure in these thoughts so I will have to meditate and pray on this. God bless you Father George!

  4. Father George David Byers

    God wills Mercy based on justice. He redeems all but respects our free will as to whether we want to be saved. His love is forever perceived as torture in hell, though it is still His love. And then we could get into predestination … or not! 😀

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