Friday, March 21, 2008

Why He Died

From St. John Bosco's vision of Hell in 1868, as recorded in Biographical Memoirs. "I" is Don Bosco; "he" is his guide in his journey to Hell. Don Bosco always had a guide during his visions, to give him courage and explain the meaning of what he saw and heard. He had several guides: sometimes it was the Blessed Mother; sometimes it was someone he had known personally in this life, such as St. Dominic Savio; often, however, he described the guide simply as "the stranger" and would not give clear answers when questioned on this point. Whatever the identity of the guide in this vision, it is worth pondering on this Good Friday, as a reminder of what Jesus died to save us from.

"Now that you have seen what others suffer, you too must experience a touch of Hell."

"No, no!" I cried in terror.

He insisted, but I kept refusing.

"Do not be afraid," he told me; "just try it. Touch this wall."

I could not muster enough courage and tried to get away, but he held me back. "Try it," he insisted. Gripping my arm firmly, he pulled me to the wall. "Only one touch," he commanded, "so that you may say you have both seen and touched the walls of eternal suffering and that you may understand what the last wall must be like if the first is so unendurable. Look at this wall!" I did intently. It seemed incredibly thick. "There are a thousand walls between this and the real fire of Hell," my guide continued. "A thousand walls encompass it, each a thousand measures thick and equally distant from the next one. Each measure is a thousand miles. This wall therefore is millions and millions of miles from Hell's real fire. It is just a remote rim of Hell itself."

When he said this, I instinctively pulled back, but he seized my hand, forced it open, and pressed it against the first of the thousand walls. The sensation was so utterly excruciating that I leaped back with a scream and found myself sitting up in bed. My hand was stinging and I kept rubbing it to ease the pain. When I got up this morning I noticed that it was swollen. Having my hand pressed against the wall, though only in a dream, felt so real that, later, the skin of my palm peeled off.

Read the entire account of the vision here.

NOTE: A reader has noted in the comment box that the site containing the text of the above vision is run by sedevacantists. Please note that this blog does not endorse sedevacantism. If anybody can find this vision at an orthodox site, please let me know.


  1. Thank you for that excerpt, and the link to the entire account. I read through the whole thing, despite being up at 3 AM after the Easter Vigil. Unfortunately, the link given appears connected to a sedevacantist group spreading slanders against our beloved JPII and BXVI (see link at bottom of page). That aside, great show!

    Your brother in Holy Father Dominic,

    Anthony OPL

  2. The source is unfortunate. If anybody has another source for the account of this vision, I'll link to it instead. It's too long to post in its entirety.