Monday, December 20, 2010

Fr. Horacio de la Costa SJ on Hell

In life, Father Horacio de la Costa S.J. was one of the most eminent and celebrated of all Filipino Jesuits, a "gentle genius" who, it is said, once astounded his professors at Harvard with the elegance of his writing. Father de la Costa was counted among the graduates of what many call the most glittering era of the Ateneo de Manila; and not only that: for a story still circulated today goes that the young Horacio once climbed to the top of a flagpole, inebriated, whereupon he was duly reprimanded by his teachers (apparently, the only time it ever happened, too). He died in 1977 from cancer, but the memory of his titanic genius lives on, most significnantly, in the rare but pithy writings he left behind.

From a sermon:

"...It is a peculiar fire, the fire of Hell. Our Lord says that it is like salt. Salt is a preservative. So is Hell-fire. It does not consume what it tortures, it preserves it. Indefinitely. The damned soul is the charred corpse of Okinawa made eternal. But alive; and shrieking."

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