What do you think Heaven is like?


Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
. . . those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God . . . But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (Saint Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises).
I provide below (in another English translation) the entire passage from St. Isaac the Syrian's homily, as this makes the things somehow clearer.

I also maintain that those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love. Nay, what is so bitter and vehement as the torment of love? I mean that those who have become conscious that they have sinned against love suffer greater torment from this than from any fear of punishment. For the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against love is more poignant than any torment. It would be improper for a man to think that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God. Love is the offspring of knowledge of the truth which, as is commonly confessed, is given to all. The power of love works in two ways: it torments sinners, even as happens here when a friend suffers from a friend; but it becomes a source of joy for those who have observed its duties. Thus I say that this is the torment of Gehenna: bitter regret. But love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability.
And a passage from his next homily:

The Lord's Day is a mystery of the knowledge of the truth that is not received by flesh and blood, and it transcends speculations. In this age there is no eighth day, nor is there a true Sabbath. For he who said that 'God rested (the Greek also has the sense of "ceased") on the seventh day' (Genesis 2:2), signified the rest [[of our nature]] from the course of this life, since the grave is also of a bodily nature and belongs to this world. Six days are accomplished in the husbandry of life by means of keeping the commandments; the seventh is spent entirely in the grave; and the eighth is in departure from it. Just as those who are worthy receive in this world the mysteries of the Lord's day in a similitude, but not that day itself as long as they are in their bodily nature (Literally: "corporeally". Syriac: "in their corporeality") so ascetic strugglers receive the mysteries of the Sabbath in a similitude, but not the true Sabbath itself, which is repose from every sorrow and perfect rest from every troublesome [[passion]]. For God has given us [[to taste]] a mystery, but he has not [[ordained]] that we should here lead our lives in the true reality. The true Sabbath, the Sabbath that is not a similitude, is the tomb, which reveals and manifests perfect repose from the tribulations of the passions and from the toil against them. The whole man, both soul and body, there keeps the Sabbath.
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