That is Hell…

Fr. Thomas Hopko: ‘There is a story about St. Innocent, in Alaska. I may have said this on the radio before, but it is a great story. He was talking to one of the Siberian or Alaskan priests one day, and the priest was saying to him, as he was a bishop already, “Your Grace, Bishop, I do not understand this hell business. I do not understand how God can punish people. I do not understand the torment and all that kind of stuff; it just does not make sense, and it is a scandal to people.”

…[W]hen they were having this conversation, it was in the middle of an ice-covered field, like a glacier, where everything was bright, sparkling white, and the sun was shining. St. Innocent said to this priest, “Before I answer you, Father, why are you squinting? Why are you covering your eyes? What is the matter with you?”

“Your Grace,” he said, “I am sitting by the window here and the light is shining on the snow and the ice, and it is sparkling, and it is shining into my eyes.”

St. Innocent asked, “Why don’t you pull the shade down over the window?”

The priest said, “Oh, forgive me, Your Grace, but I do not have a shade. There is no way that I can block out that light.”

“St. Innocent said, “There is your answer, Father. That is hell.”

Hell is when the light is shining, and you do not love it, and you do not want to become all light yourself, and you resist that light, and it tortures you. It torments you.’ (The Names of Jesus podcast: “The Light of the World”)

H/T to my brother Athanasy Brown