Dear Catholic Freepers with charitable hearts, please help me with this.
All my life I have had a grave difficulty with the doctrine of hell. It is not doubt (I know that hell exists, and is a "hot possibility" for each and every one of us if we offend God by sin, and especially if we do not forgive those who offend us.) Jesus teaches us this very clearly.
But the grave difficulty is this: if I permit myself to think about hell AT ALL, I am at real risk of losing --- not my faith --- but my hope and charity. It makes me doubt the Fatherhood of God. It makes me question his holy titles, "the Good Lord" and "The Fountain of Mercy" and "the Only Lover of Mankind" (as Eastern Christians call Him.)
I know of ~no~ father who would permit any child of his, however wayward, to be tortured in fire for one minute, let alone for "eternity" --- not if he had the power to stop it. Even if the child were insane enough to keep throwing himself in the fire, a good Father would keep pulling himout--- wouldn't he?
God is Love. Jesus is the Way, ther Truth and the Life. Jesus Himself --- not just this or that mystic --taught the reality and eternity of Hell.
What can the human heart do with this information? I can't bear to think of it. It's like learning that a demon rules the Universe, after all.
Help me, please. Kyrie eleison.