Hell is one of those elephant-in-the-room topics that humans would rather not discuss. It is easier to dismiss Hell than Faith, although humans know sparsely little of both. Here are my thoughts, limited as they are, about why there is a hell as the logical consequence of our freedom to choose.

During Lent, my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) tends to mirror my focus on penance and repentance. Hell is the consequence of the absence of pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service (energy). Hell is not the opposite of love as much as it is the abject absence of what is good.


  • Hell is a condition that has no finality. Humans live in a condition of finality in all that they do.
  • While we live on earth, Hell is the choice we make that God’s will is NOT done, but rather our own (The Genesis Principle).
  • Hell, after we die, is the state where we live out what we choose while we lived on earth.
  • Hell is not the punishment of God on humans for choosing poorly, but rather the consequences of selecting what makes us less than human as the center of our lives (power, hatred, lust, jealousy, envy, money, lust).
  • Like any mortal sin, it must be a mortal offense (adultery, murder, and offering incense to Cesaer) that I know is wrong but choose it anyway.
  • No one goes to Hell unless they condemn themselves by hatred, preferring to go to Hell rather than serve God.
  • Hell is a place of torment, although each age attributes what that is as the consequence of not being able to sit on a park bench in the middle of winter and be near the heart of Christ.
  • Although Christ became sin for us, taking on the nature of a slave (Philippians 2:5-12), I spend my whole life trying to dispel the Ruler of the Earth (Satan) and replace it with the Ruler of Heaven (Christ). As a Lay Cistercian, I do this by two means (among many): capacitas dei, growing in Christ each day by focusing on filling my cup up with Christ, and conversio morae, daily preferring nothing to the love of Christ.
  • Original Sin is the condition on earth (not Hell) that pulls me towards my default nature, i.e., to love myself rather than abandon myself to the will of God. Unless the grain of wheat dies to itself, it remains just a grain of wheat.
  • Reason alone does not provide the energy to lift me up each day to make all things new. Like plowing the field, if I want to harvest corn, I must pray and fast to prepare the soil for God’s word to take root.
  • Hell as a final judgment is found in Matthew 25. There is a separation of the good from the bad. Good here is what God thinks is good; bad here means I did not listen to the prophets, the Scriptures, the Church, and my heart and chose what could never fulfill me as a human being.
  • Hell is a lack of fulfillment as a human being.
  • Hell is the uncompleted symphony.
  • Hell is a golf course with any balls or holes.
  • Hell is the torment of knowing that you committed sin (which we all do) but did not recognize that Heaven is God’s playground and He makes the rules.
  • Hell is hatred in the heart without a chance for conversion.
  • Hell on earth is choosing my will be done rather than God’s.
  • Hell is the finality of what is not final, the lack of truth, the infidelity of trust, and the duplicity of what Satan thinks are proper.
  • Hell is hell.

Read the Seven Penitential Psalm and Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict.


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