WHEN I WAS CAST INTO OUTER DARKNESS
I had a call to make an unusual request of the Lord, one that was curious for someone like me who likes to pray only nice things happen to me. I asked the Lord to consider my soul in my worst mortal sin and to allow me to experience being "cast into outer darkness" - for one mere minute. Essentially, I asked to feel the reality of Hell for 60 seconds and meet the same dire fate that befell the man in Matthew's Gospel who dared show up not wearing "a wedding garment" at the marriage feast for the King's son. The King is outraged on seeing a guest not dressed in the proper attire for his son's nuptial banquet. As punishment, the King has the guest bound hand and foot and cast into the place that sounds like a prison in black fog.
Oh, but let me tell you it is worse than can ever be described, but I will endeavor all the same to approach a description.
So, my prayer was answered. Oddly, I was in a state of grace when I made the petition, and that's perhaps why it was granted to me to be in that place of perdition where the man who had no wedding garment was sent. One night I had a dream where I was suddenly thrown into that same "outer darkness" of which Jesus speaks in Matthew's Gospel. First, I was shown a writ of my transgressions, and then like a bolt of lightning, I was absorbed down into an ever increasing blackness, like being vaccuumed into a hole of blackest mud, and the force of the suction was so strong I could not resist it. Then I came to a place of total seclusion.
I felt at one with this place of bleakest night; that I was the dark and the dark was me. It was cut off from all that is good and lovely; there would never be the faintest feeling of love again, and I would never know any of my friends or loved ones ever again. The impossibility of ever receiving sanctifying grace, and of being separated from our Savior for all time pervaded my senses 'til an unbearable agony set in. But then, it was over, it had only lasted as long as I'd asked, and I woke up. One minute was more than enough for me.
I wonder if the famed spiritual writer, Thomas a Kempis, author of The Imitation of Christ, ever made the same request as I did and had a true-to-hell experience which meant he wrote from knowledge when he penned his section on hell in his work, Meditations on Death. He wrote of it as, "a lightless and sinister subterranean cavern" wherein "there is an unfathomable opaque darkness...the senses and the mind are suffocated and reduced to a state of perpetual, tormented confusion." And I find this so agonizingly true to my minute of hellish mysticism that I think he wrote from having been thrust into total torture so that he could write travelogue of torment.
Unlike me, Thomas a Kempis never deserved hell, perish the thought, but I think he was given a vision of hell so he could write something so visceral it would save souls from going there. I invited such a vision to sate curiosity and to compare my minute in misery to having that state for all eternity. Thomas a Kempis, however, is so benevolent in his zeal for souls to be before the Face of God that he renders so hot a depiction of hell that it burns itself onto the memory and his aim is primarily and most charitably to make others turn from sin. When the soul becomes one of Satan's spoils, the eternal segregation is "a state of utter isolation, bereft of all companionship" which sparks with St John Bosco's account of hell, that there is never friendship or even a kind glance to be had there.
Yet, Thomas a Kempis is humble enough to concede, "we can never accurately describe it in words or depict it in comprehensible images" and there is his implicit humility because even though he stresses hell can never be portrayed in all its horridness, he still writes of the "inextinguishable fire of unbearable intensity" but he admits that a true understanding of hell, "exceeds the capacity of the human mind". Thomas a Kempis does not put himself forward as the author who can perfectly illustrate hell; rather he is like the rest of us, he falls short, but he will nevertheless do his damndest to save others from damnation.
Unlike in a Kempis's time, however, I think it requires even more effort and more self-sacrifice to tell the ones who need to read Meditations on Death the most that they had better take its message to soul. My friends and loved ones who are dying to read it, are the ones who are the least likely to be going to hell because they have already reckoned with its reality. The ones who are anything but dying to read it, are the ones who are in the most danger of dying a bad death.
If you are worried about someone, then this is the book for them, that said, it may take sublime courage on your part to give it to them because it could risk offending them, in their pride the person you think needs it the most has the air of immortality and may lack the humility to ever even admit the slightest risk they could go to hell. It is best to do the meditations yourself, and then tell someone who you believe might benefit that you found this set of meditations to be most helpful. Too often we wish for souls who we fret may be in jeopardy to do meditations on death that we have not done ourselves. I caution you against asking for a minute in hell as I did; it truly is that bad. Instead, read a Kempis's Meditations on Death.
Hi, was your vision of Hell during a dream? how was it different from a dream? did you recognize your transgressions as being from your real life or were they just part of your dream world? how did it affect your resolve after you awoke?ReplyDelete
Thank you for your forthright questions. Yes, it was a dream in that I was asleep when it happened, but it was an experience given my soul that was real just as hell is real, and not the product of the unconscious mind. A normal dream can only let you experience things of this world; this was a trip to eternal life that lasted as long as I'd requested. Our Lord gave me the time I asked for, in biological dreams the time is subject to the processes of the body and whether the person is woken up or not. Yes, the transgressions were from my real life and were two sins. It made me want to stop anyone from ever going there, and thus I'm devoting myself to prayer and fasting for non-Catholics especially.Delete
what I do not understand is why people who have died and saw god all say there not judged for there sins, even athiests and God haters -what gives!!!!Delete
This comment might just be saying it can happen to Atheists. Maybe God uses different methods to try and convert them and other enemies of His. You’re not really stuck in Hell, unless you are totally dead. Till then, you are mostly dead. Miracle Max in “The Princess Bride” was kind of right. It was probably like a sensory hallucination (though realistic) by God for one in good health and in a state of grace, (which the Fatima seers mostly just saw as spectators, which was enough) , but it might not be for one having an NDE. It is just not permanent if it is an NDE. We only have these bodies that allow us our pretensions for so long. What happens when we can’t excuse away our attachments to sin and the objects of which or omissions of true charity (not like offing someone, when they just need brotherly love or, if one’s spouse, more)? Probably what this person experienced for s moment. We see how science cannot explain everything that exists with our obviously limited knowledge, methods and instruments. Some can never be explained or will even by quantum physics or whatever: just the accidentals.Delete
I just purchased this book last week. It is a very short but powerful meditation. I wanted to use it to accompany my Lenten discipline.ReplyDelete
Yes, absolutely splendid idea to read Thomas a Kempis's meditations as an aid to Lenten discipline. I am trying to do the same, the power of the text at times overpowers me, but I'm on my second reading.Delete
Hi Mary. Thank you for sharing this insight into the abyss of darkness . I too have experienced it, although I did not ask to . It lasted over the course of entire evening whilst a priest came to preach and give his healing ministry to about 20 couples. As I sat in the rear of the venue where the event was held, I was taken into outer space, into the deepest, darkness environment I had ever experienced. I was reminded of Gallicantu Prison, and Psalm 88. Then got an image of myself like an astronaut in the space suit, working on a repair outside of the spaceship, when all of a sudden my "ombilical cord" was cut, and I went sailing off into the dark abyss of chilling cold...believing it was forever. I had the sense that I was everything you mentioned above. I was "cast out" into the deep recesses where there is no mercy, only the shame of separation. Something similar is described on a recent post from the American exorcist priest Fr Rossetti. All I can say is that it was not necessarily a "downwards, hellish, infernal movement", but in my experience, it was rather a "beyond the atmosphere of the earth - into the glacial freeze of outer space" experience. I stayed in that mode for several hours and am not even really sure how it ended. It just lifted, by the Grace and Mercy of God. I pray to God that it obtained many graces for the couples I was praying for, because I was specifically in the "intercessors mode" of prayer when it occurred. This is called Burden Bearing in ministry, in case others have experienced such things. Just wanted to share , in case it can help another intercessor out there. God is Good. God is Light. God is Love. God is Life. And I am so grateful that I have experienced that sensation of Absolute Absence so that I may forever worship His Presence. I believe this experience will also be part of the Three Days of Darkness, when all of Humanity will have its "Eli Lama Sabachthani" moment...ReplyDelete
WOW, thank you for sharing your experience. I have been meditating on your words. Your genius phrase, "Absolute Absence" of the Almighty cuts to the soul; we must strive always to avoid that state. And help as many as we can do the same. Your gratitude is very indicative of your generosity of spirit. You gave me and my readers an important insight when you said that you believe it will be part of the Three Days of Darkness, yes, I think it will be a severe mercy when many experience the outer darkness in this life so they may repent and avoid it forever in the next. I will be re-reading your comment.Delete
Sometimes i wonder, i really do not wish to be sceptical, but why people like that singer Madonna can be so bold and keeps taunting God and Mother Mary relentlessly, but is not afraid of hell? Ver mind boggling!ReplyDelete
Yes, truly disturbing, but more so is the way Catholics and Christians have made her career possible by buying her records and attending her concerts. When someone like her gets so big, so famous and so rich, there are millions behind her success, every dollar they give props up her empire.Delete