St. Isaac of Nineveh: hell is full of love and compassion

Gehenna, Its Duration

Even in the matter of afflictions

—the judgment of Gehenna, say—

there bides a hidden mystery, whereby

the Maker has taken as a starting point

our patent willfulness, using even Hell

as a way of bringing to perfection

His greater dispensation.

If the world to come proves entirely the realm

of mercy, love, and goodness,

how then a final state that claims

requital for its measure?

That we should think that hell

is not also full

of love and mingled with compassion

would be an insult to our God.

By saying He will deliver us

to suffering without purpose, we

most surely sin. We blaspheme also if we say

that He will act with spite or with a vengeful purpose,

as if He had a need to avenge Himself.

—Adapted from the writings of St. Isaac of Nineveh by Scott Cairns, Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2007), 78.


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