Don Bosco’s dream of hell

A sobering excerpt:

We entered that narrow, horrible corridor and whizzed through it with lightning speed. Threatening inscriptions shone eerily over all the inner gateways. The last one opened into a vast, grim courtyard with a large, un­believably forbidding entrance at the far end.

“From here on,” he said, “no one may have a helpful companion, a com­forting friend, a loving heart, a compassionate glance, or a benevolent word. All that is gone forever. Do you just want to see or would you rather experience these things yourself?”

“I only want to see!” I answered.

“Then come with me,” my friend added, and, taking me in tow, he stepped through that gate into a corridor at whose far end stood an observation platform, closed by a huge, single crystal pane reaching from the pavement to the ceiling. As soon as I crossed its threshold, I felt an indescribable terror and dared not take another step. Ahead of me I could see something like an immense cave that gradually disappeared into recesses sunk far into the bowels of the mountains. They were all ablaze, but theirs was not an earthly fire with leaping tongues of flames. The entire cave — walls, ceiling, floor, iron, stones, wood, and coal — everything was a glowing white at tempera­tures of thousands of degrees. Yet the fire did not incinerate, did not con­sume. I simply can’t find words to describe the cavern’s horror.

I was staring in bewilderment about me when a lad dashed out of a gate. Seemingly unaware of anything else, he emitted a most shrilling scream, like one who is about to fall into a cauldron of liquid bronze, and plummeted into the center of the cave. Instantly he too became incandescent and per­fectly motionless, while the echo of his dying wail lingered for an instant more.

Terribly frightened, I stared at him for a while. He seemed to be one of my Oratory boys. “Isn’t he so and so?” I asked my guide.

‘‘Yes,” was the answer.

“Why is he so still, so incandescent?”

“You chose to see,” he replied. “Be satisfied with that. Just keep looking.”

As I looked again, another boy came hurtling down into the cave at breakneck speed. He too was from the Oratory.

More frightened than ever, I asked my guide, “When these boys come dashing into this cave, don’t they know where they are going?”

“They surely do. They have been warned a thousand times, but they still choose to rush into the fire because they do not detest sin and are loath to forsake it. Furthermore, they despise and reject God’s incessant, merciful invitations to do penance. Thus provoked, Divine Justice harries them, hounds them, and goads them on so that they cannot halt until they reach this place.”

“Oh, how miserable these unfortunate boys must feel in knowing they no longer have any hope,” I exclaimed.

“If you really want to know their innermost frenzy and fury, go a little closer,” my guide remarked.

I took a few steps forward and saw that many of those poor wretches were savagely striking at each other like mad dogs. Others were clawing their own faces and hands, tearing their own flesh and spitefully throwing it about. Just then the entire ceiling of the cave became as transparent as crystal and revealed a patch of heaven and their radiant companions safe for all eternity.

The poor wretches, fuming and panting with envy, burned with rage because they had once ridiculed the just.The wicked shall see and shall be angry. He shall gnash his teeth and pine away-Ps. 111, 10.

“Why do I hear no sound?” I asked my guide.

“Go closer!” he advised.

Pressing my ear to the crystal window, I heard screams and sobs, blas­phemies and imprecations against the saints. It was a tumult of voices and cries, shrill and confused.

“Such are the mournful chants which shall echo here throughout eternity. But their shouts, their efforts and their cries are all in vain. All evils will fall upon them-Cf. Job. 20,22.

“Here time is no more. Here is only eternity.”

While I viewed the condition of many of my boys in utter terror, a thought suddenly struck me. “How can these boys be damned?” I asked. “Last night they were still alive at the Oratory!”

“The boys you see here,” he answered, “are all dead to God’s grace. Were they to die now or persist in their evil ways, they would be damned. But we are wasting time. Let us go on.”

He led me away and we went down through a corridor into a lower cavern, at whose entrance I read: Their worm shall not die and their fire shall not be quenched-Is. 66, 24.

In this lower cavern I again saw those Oratory boys who had fallen into the fiery furnace. I drew closer to them and noticed that they were all cov­ered with worms and vermin which gnawed at their vitals, hearts, eyes, hands, legs, and entire bodies so ferociously as to defy description. Helpless and motionless, they were a prey to every kind of torment. Hoping I might be able to speak with them or to hear something from them, I drew even closer but no one spoke or even looked at me. I then asked my guide why, and he explained that the damned are totally deprived of freedom. Each must fully endure his own punishment, with absolutely no reprieve what­ever.

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5 Responses to Don Bosco’s dream of hell

  1. Benedict Marshall says:

    Please listen to Penderecki’s “The Dream of Jacob” while reading for the full effect.

  2. Adam Armstrong says:

    Do you believe this literally? What is your purpose in posting this here?

    • Foolishness says:

      My purpose in posting it here is that today we remember this particular saint and I found the dream interesting. What difference does it make whether I “believe this literally” or not? It’s private revelation and I would say I am agnostic on it. I believe in hell, but what it looks like, and who is going to end up there, I don’t know. If it is helpful for people to read a dream like this and ensure they do not get entrapped by the snares outlined, then I will will have done a service by posting it.

  3. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: More frightened than ever, I asked my guide, “When these boys come dashing into this cave, don’t they know where they are going?”

    “They surely do. They have been warned a thousand times, but they still choose to rush into the fire because they do not detest sin and are loath to forsake it. Furthermore, they despise and reject God’s incessant, merciful invitations to do penance. Thus provoked, Divine Justice harries them, hounds them, and goads them on so that they cannot halt until they reach this place.”

    How well this is summed up by a bumper sticker with the following text that I saw some years ago.

    There is an eternal HELL into which
    DAMNED people rush themselves.

    It also harkens to the words of Deuteronomy 30:15-20.

    See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    Norm.

  4. Pingback: Don Bosco’s dream of hell | Catholic Canada

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