Hell is an inversion of everything we hold most dear. St. Thomas Aquinas taught: “Even as in the blessed in heaven there will be the most perfect charity, so in the damned there will be the most perfect hate. Wherefore as the saints will rejoice in all goods, so will the damned grieve for all goods.”

Lucifer certainly laments the punishment he endures, for every will naturally desires happiness, and the notion of punishment is repugnant to the will. He also envies the good fortune of those who do not suffer as he does. What makes his punishment — and that of any soul in hell — more painful is the awareness that the pain is unnecessary, for it might have been avoided. But once God has rendered judgment, the will can no longer express remorse for sin. Thus, the damned may bewail their punishment, but they cannot express sorrow for the sin that merited it.

What does this say about God’s love — or lack thereof — for the damned? Although the pains of hell are horrible to consider, our theology teaches that God’s love reaches even to hell, if only because the punishments suffered by the damned could be greater.