Saint Placid

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Saint Placid


Saint Placid was born in Rome, in the year 515, of a patrician family, and at seven years of age was taken by his father to the Benedictine monastery of Subiaco, recently founded, to be educated. At thirteen years of age he followed Saint Benedict to a new foundation at Monte Cassino, where he grew up in the practices of a wonderful austerity and innocence of life.

He had scarcely completed his twenty-first year when he was chosen to found a monastery at Messina, in Sicily, upon some estates which had been given by his father to Saint Benedict. He spent four years in building that monastery. There miracles made him known, and it was said that his humility was so perfect and had such charm, that it earned for him the affection of all. He could not see a poor man without hastening to aid him. One day he cured all the sick of the island at the same time, when they were brought and assembled before him for his benediction.

The fifth year spent by the monks in Messina had not yet ended when a band of Saracen pirates who had already killed a great many persons, burnt everything to the ground in 541. They then put to a lingering death not only Placid and thirty monks who had joined him, but also his two brothers, Eutychius and Victorinus, and his holy sister Flavia, who had come to visit him. The entire flotilla of the invaders perished when these barbarians left the island, amid a sudden storm; although they had a hundred ships and were 16,800 in number, not one ship or passenger survived. A religious who had escaped notice wrote to Saint Benedict an account of the massacre, after burying the martyrs. Saint Placid was the first Benedictine martyr, and the monastery of Messina, which was rebuilt not long afterwards, was henceforth known by his name.

Reflection: Adversity is the touchstone of the soul, because it makes manifest the degree of its virtue. One act of thanksgiving when matters go wrong, is worth a thousand thanks when all things please us.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894)

The Pains of Hell

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The Pains of Hell


MY CHILD, I have proved My goodness by My numberless gifts to men. They cannot mention a single good thing in their daily life which does not belong to Me. My love for them was proved by My earthly life of labor, work, suffering and prayer to obtain forgiveness for their sins. Anyone who takes time to think of what I deserve, cannot deny that he owes Me more than he can ever repay. Yet, in spite of My goodness and love, some people choose to walk away from Me. They refuse to follow My directions. As a result they fall into sin. Though I made them for Heaven, they shall never see it because they are refusing to do what it takes to get there.

2. Hell was made for the devil and his rebel angels. Man was made for Heaven. In refusing to live for Heaven, a man chooses to exist without Me. He shall have his wish-he shall join the rebel angels in hell. In refusing to follow My law, a man actually turns his back on Me as the fallen angels did. If he dies in this condition, he condemns himself to hell. The jury which convicts him is his own sinful life. I merely pronounce sentence on what he himself has chosen.

3. There is nothing on earth which can compare with hell. It is beyond all description. One must see it to know it. Though I may try to give you some small idea of it in this chapter, remember, this is a tiny and very imperfect idea of the real thing. Words fall far short of the reality which is hell. I make no threats here. I simply want you to face this fact: Unless you live for Heaven, you shall one day be in hell.

4. All the sufferings known to man are as nothing in comparison with the sufferings of hell. The wise man would rather bear any trial on earth than place himself in danger of hell. One single hour of hell will be harder than a hundred years of suffering on earth. In this earthly life people have some rest from their labors and trials. They get some measure of consolation from their friends. In hell, however, there is no rest, no consolation, and no friends.

5. The fires of hell will never die. There will be no end to suffering. One will find no comfort in knowing that he has been there a thousand years. He can never hope for an end to his tortures. All the other sufferings would be bearable if only the damned could hope for relief. Despair is hell’s bitterest pain.

6. In hell a man will be punished through the same faults by which he sinned on earth. Each sin will have its own particular torment. The lazy will be forced to work continuously. The gluttonous will be tormented with extreme hunger and thirst. The proud will be filled with confusion, and the greedy will feel the pinch of miserable want.

7. And yet, the worst pain of hell is none of these. The people in hell would gladly bear all of this and much more if only they could hope for My friendship and love, no matter how long it might take, be it even a billion years from now. Their keenest torment is that they have forever lost Me, the Source of all true joy and perfect happiness. This suffering makes hell the home of despair and undying hatred.

8. My child, follow My Will in your daily life, and you need never fear hell. In fact you have every reason to be joyful and merry if you are following My commandments and using My sacraments. Do not condemn yourself to hell by refusing to obey My directions. I love you dearly. Do not prevent Me from taking you to Heaven.


Hell is a fact. Christ, Our Lord, pointed this out time and again during His earthly life. Whoever rejects this fact is simply denying the word of Christ. He is God. He proved His divine power many times during and after His earthly life. His word is truth. He preached the truth of hell and continues to preach it today through His Church and Holy Scripture.


My Jesus, many find too hard a command in the words: “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.” Yet a much harder command will be: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire.” If I become so impatient with a little suffering now, how can I ever stand hell? I cannot expect to have unrestricted enjoyment on earth and still rejoice with You in Heaven. Therefore, dear Lord, that I may be safe from eternal punishment, let me do my best in bearing the burdens of this earthly life. Let me prefer to suffer on earth or even die now rather than commit a mortal sin. Amen.