Saturday, February 13, 2010

A room the devil had prepared for me - St Theresa of Avila

St Theresa of Avila's Vision of Hell

"A long time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I've mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell. I understood that the Lord wanted me to see the place the devils had prepared there for me and which I merited because of my sins. This experience took place within the shortest space of time, but even were I to live for many years I think it would be impossible for me to forget it. 

The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated.

"But as to what I then felt, I do not know where to begin if I were to describe it; it is utterly inexplicable. I felt a fire in my soul but such that I am still unable to describe it. My bodily sufferings were unendurable. I have undergone most painful sufferings in this life, and, as the physicians say, the greatest that can be borne, such as the contraction of my sinews when I was paralyzed, without speaking of other ills of different types - yet, even those of which I have spoken, inflicted on me by Satan; yet all these were as nothing in comparison with what I then felt, especially when I saw that there would be no intermission nor any end to them. 

"These sufferings were nothing in comparison with the anguish of my soul, a sense of oppression, of stifling, and of pain so acute, accompanied by so hopeless and cruel an infliction, that I know not how to speak of it. If I say that the soul is continually being torn from the body it would be nothing - for that implies the destruction of life by the hands of another - but here it is the soul itself that is tearing itself in pieces. I cannot describe that inward fire or that despair, surpassing all torments and all pain. I did not see who it was that tormented me, but I felt myself on fire, and torn to pieces, as it seemed to me; and I repeat it, this inward fire and despair are the greatest torments of all. 

"Left in that pestilential place, and utterly without the power to hope for comfort, I could neither sit nor lie down; there was no room. I was placed as it were in a hole in the wall; and those walls, terrible to look on of themselves, hemmed me in on every side. I could not breathe. There was no light, but all was thick darkness. I do not understand how it is; though there was no light, yet everything that can give pain by being seen was visible.

"Our Lord at that time would not let me see more of Hell. Afterwards I had another most fearful vision, in which I saw the punishment of certain sins. They were the most horrible to look at, but because I felt none of the pain, my terror was not so great. In the former vision Our Lord made me really feel those torments and that anguish of spirit, just as if I had been suffering them in the body there. I know not how it was, but I understood distinctly that it was a great mercy that Our Lord would have me see with my own eyes the very place from which His compassion saved me. I have listened to people speaking of these things and I have at other times dwelt on the various torments of Hell, though not often, because my soul made no progress by the way of fear; and I have read of the diverse tortures, and how the devils tear the flesh with red-hot pincers. But all is as nothing before this: It is a wholly different matter. In short, the one is a reality, the other a description; and all burning here in this life is as nothing compared with the fire that is there.

"I was so terrified by that vision - and that terror is on me even now as I write - that though it took place nearly six years ago, the natural warmth of my body is chilled by fear even now when I think of it. And so, amid all the pain and suffering which I may have had to bear, I remember no time in which I do not think that all we have to suffer in this world is as nothing. It seems to me that we complain without reason. I repeat it, this vision was one of the grandest mercies of God. It has been to me of the greatest service, because it has destroyed my fear of trouble and of the contradictions of the world, and because it has made me strong enough to bear up against them, and to give thanks to Our Lord who has been my Deliverer, as it now seems to me, from such fearful and everlasting pains.

"Ever since that time, as I was saying, everything seems endurable in comparison with one instant of suffering such as those I had then to bear in Hell. I am filled with fear when I see that, after frequently reading books which describe in some manner the pains of Hell, I was not afraid of them, nor made any account of them. Where was I? How could I possibly take any pleasure in those things which led me directly to so dreadful a place? Blessed forever be Thou, O my God! And oh, how manifest is it that Thou didst love me much more than I did love Thee! How often, O Lord, didst Thou save me from that fearful prison! And how I used to get back to it contrary to Thy will.

"It was that vision which filled me with very great distress which I felt at the sight of so many lost souls, especially of the Lutherans - for they were once members of the Church by Baptism - and also gave me the most vehement desires for the salvation of souls; for certainly I believe that to save even one from those overwhelming torments, I would willingly endure many deaths. If here on earth we see one whom we specially love in great trouble or pain, our very nature seems to bid us compassionate him; and if those pains be great, we are troubled ourselves. What, then, must it be to see a soul in danger of pain, the most grievous of all pains, forever? It is a thought no heart can bear without great anguish. Here we know that pain at last ends with life, and that there are limits to it, yet the sight of it moves us so greatly to compassion; that other pain has no ending, and I know not how we can be calm when we see Satan carry so many souls daily away.
"This also makes me wish that, in a matter which concerns us so much, we did not rest satisfied with doing less than we can do on our part - that we left nothing undone. May Our Lord vouchsafe to give us His grace for that end." 


Mystic - Teacher of Prayer - Doctor of the Church
St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila, lived in Spain during the 16th Century. Her life as a Carmelite, though far removed from the mainstream of modern culture, still speaks powerfully to us today, as we enter the third millennium. 


[Source: The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume 1, Chapter 32. Published by Institute of Carmelite Studies]

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Top website, I had not noticed christtotheworld.blogspot.com earlier in my searches!
Keep up the superb work!

Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I have a question for the webmaster/admin here at christtotheworld.blogspot.com.

Can I use some of the information from your post right above if I give a link back to your website?

Thanks,
Oliver

Parry Sequeira said...

Hi Oliver,

Thanks for contacting me.

Yes, you can use this information to spread the message of Christ.

A link back to my website will be helpful.

May God's grace be with you always,

In Christ,
Parry Sequeira

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I have a question for the webmaster/admin here at christtotheworld.blogspot.com.

May I use part of the information from your blog post right above if I give a backlink back to this website?

Thanks,
Harry

Anonymous said...

I have had an experience of Hell as well. It was during my conversion when God, after blessing me with an unbelieveably beneficial turn around of my wretched life, proceeded to introduce me to the voice of the demon who had been tormenting me with temptations all my life. A voice of thermonuclear heat and simultaneously liquid nitrogen cold, furiously murderous and of reptilian hissing, which said, "I WILL KILL YOU ALL!" Today I must say my family has lost virtually all Faith, so I can see how it still is working on us. Turn off the TV, the internet, the Xbox and everything else which takes you away from prayer with the heart, and fasting. God bless you all!!

Parry Sequeira said...

Hi Anonymous (experience of Hell),

The purpose of the Lord’s coming into our lives is that we “may not perish but have eternal life.” No matter how defeating the circumstances of life may have proved itself to be, we are not to give in to despair.

“The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8)

You can recite this prayer of spiritual warfare daily

http://catholicprayerstotheworld.blogspot.com/2009/08/spiritual-warfare-prayer.html

Lims Thomas said...

Great Work. Last week only, I came to know about this website

To the administrator, Can i use these prayers tp other social networking sites with the ref of this blog

Hatts Off you for the Great work.. Keep posting

God Bless yo

Christ Jesus said...

Hi Lims,

Thanks - yes please use the prayers and share with all.

Jesus will love your help to share his message of love and salvation to people anywhere, anytime including all the media tools.

For the greater glory of Christ.

May God Bless you always,

In Christ - Parry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing... All information are amazing and no doubt that in strongly builds up the catholic faith!!!
Praise JESUS ! Ave Maria!

kevin McGeeney said...

Thankyou for this website. The devil threw everything he had at me yesterday and the prayers here helped me resist. I receive the eucharist daily and pray the rosary nonstop. God bless all of you and pray that you will leave this life with no regrets having done everything you can. What we do in this life matters. Every second is an opportunity to get closer to God.

MATHAI K said...

K MATHAI

Ireally thank the website for having published the comments of people and their experience which will help others analyse their experience and strengthen their bondage with Jesus

Anonymous said...

Prayer Requests:

Those in my prayer lists: Protections, resources, happiness, safety, quench storms, remove thorns, bless in our daily lives, families, relationships, resources, works, foods, water, shelters. Grant us final perseverance.
Health: of Mind, Body, resources, careers, finances, families, relationships, future, shelter, foods, water, air, emotions, heart, soul, studies, careers, businesses.

Those in most need of Gods Mercy:
Yahweh our God and Mother of Perpetual Help. We commit this world and everything into your hands forever. With all souls, sinners, our families, bloodline, hopes, works, relationships and future. Have mercy on us always through the blood, wounds, face , heart & works of Jesus our Lord. Bless our ways, Grant us protection ,safety and final perseverance always. Unite all our works and prayers with those of the Confraternity of Capuchin, Rosary Confraternity of Dominican& Fatima always. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Anonymous said...

I have read various accounts of those who have seen hell-Fatima,Faustina,Bosco,etc. I find all of the descriptions to be different. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

Hi Parry,

Can you please send me the link of the Spiritual warfare prayer. This link is not working http://catholicprayerstotheworld.blogspot.com/2009/08/spiritual-warfare-prayer.html

Anonymous said...

I like your site but did not understand why you have info on mediugorje.I thought it was not approved by our church. Thank you Matt

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