973. What are the greatest sufferings that a bad spirits can endure?
“It is impossible to describe the mental tortures that serve as atonement for some crimes, as even those who experienced them would find it difficult to give you an idea. However, the most frightful of them all is the belief that the atonement lasts for all eternity.”
People form a more or less elevated idea about the joys and sorrows of the soul after death, depending on an individual’s intelligence. The greater the development of individuals, the more refined will be their idea of them, and the more rational their views of the subject, the less literally will they interpret figurative language. Enlightened reasoning teaches us that the soul is an entirely spiritual being. It teaches us that a spirit is not affected by impressions that act only upon matter and yet, it does not imply that it is exempt from suffering, or that it does not experience discipline as a consequence of its wrongdoing. (See no. 237)
Spirit communications show us the future state of the soul no longer as a mere theory, but as a reality. They thrust before us all the incidents of life beyond the grave. However, they also show us that they are the natural consequences of terrestrial life. They show us that although they are free from the fanciful accessories created by human imagination, they are painful for those who have made bad use of their abilities during this life. The diversity of the consequences is infinite but we can say, in summary, that each spirit atones for its wrongdoings; each one is punished where one has sinned. Some are punished by the incessant sight of the evil they have done; others, by regret, fear, shame, doubt, isolation, darkness, separation from their loved ones, and so on.