By now I would imagine that most of you, along with just about everyone else in the world, have seen The Lego Movie. So, with a potential readership equal to the population of the Earth, naturally I was asked to review The Lego Movie for Aleteia.
Now, if you have seen the film, then you know one of the best things about it is all of the cameos by some very recognizable licensed characters. I mean, really, where else are you going to see the likes of Gandalf, Wonder Woman, and Shaquille O'Neal having a conversation? Well, except for maybe that dream you had once which you swore never to tell anyone about, but other than that? However, since The Lego Movie is an all ages affair, there’s still some characters they couldn’t include. Don’t fret though, that’s what YouTube is for…
Ah, Hellraiser. Now there’s a film that’ll always have a soft spot in my heart because it’s the first movie my wife and I ever saw together. What? It was the first one? How could we ever have imagined the countless wretched sequels that lay in store? Have you seen any of the later ones? Well, I have and let me tell you, the depiction of Hell in those movies may not be very accurate, but the experience of sitting through something like Hellraiser: Revelations has got to be akin to receiving a small taste of Purgatory.
Actually, the Bible itself skimps a little when it comes to describing Hell. Basically it compares it to burning in a fire and says you’ll be miserable for eternity if you end up there. Some later Saints, though, had visions with a bit more detail to them. St. Faustina (of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy fame), for example, wrote in her diary of a particularly vivid impression of Hell she received in a private revelation.
"Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: The First Torture that constitutes hell is: The loss of God. The Second is: Perpetual remorse of conscience. The Third is that one's condition will never change. The Fourth is: The fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it. A terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God's anger. The Fifth Torture is: Continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own. The Sixth Torture is: The constant company of Satan. The Seventh Torture is: Horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the Tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special Tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.”
So, yeah, not exactly the fun-filled fetishist holiday depicted in the Hellraiser films.
Now, as the Catechism points out, “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called ‘private’ revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.”
All of which means we’re not required to take St. Faustina’s word that Hell is as she described. But 100% accurate or not, it’s still a vision worth contemplating if it helps us imagine what an eternity separated from God must be like. Plus, it’s got 100% less bondage gear than Hellraiser, so it’s got that going for it.