I imagine the cold and dampness of a tomb carved out of rock. Perhaps angels attend to his wounds, or they stand guard and surround his body while his soul travels into the deep depth of hell. As his soul ascends, his body is transfigured into divine light.
I can only imagine with my own limited understanding something that is beyond my human grasp. Today, I share with all this moving ancient homily. It is solemnly beautiful as it contemplates the mystery of the death of Jesus. It comes from an ancient Holy Saturday homily:
“If a man die, shall he live again?
All the days of my service I would wait,
till my release should come.”
Something strange is happening—
there is a great silence on earth today,
a great silence and stillness.
The whole earth keeps silence
because the King is asleep.
The earth trembled and is still because
God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has
raised up all who have slept ever since the
world began. God has died in the flesh
and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first
parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring
to visit those who live in darkness and in the
shadow of death, he has gone to free from
sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he
who is both God and the son of Eve.
The Lord approached them bearing the cross,
the weapon that had won him the victory.
At the sight of him Adam,
the first man he had created, struck
his breast in terror and cried out to everyone:
‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him:
‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand
and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper,
and rise from the dead, and Christ
will give you light.
I am your God, who for your
sake have become your son. Out of love
for you and for your descendants I now by my
own authority command all who are held in bondage
to come forth, all who are in darkness to be
enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.
I order you, O sleeper, to awake.
I did not create you to be held
a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead,
for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of
my hands, you who were created in my image.
Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in
me and I am in you; together we form only
one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God,
became your son; I, the Lord,
took the form of a slave; I, whose
home is above the heavens, descended
to the earth and beneath the earth.
For your sake, for the sake of man, I
became like a man without help, free among
the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle
I received in order to restore to
you the life I once breathed into you.
See there the marks of the blows I
received in order to refashion your
warped nature in my image.
On my back see the marks of the
scourging I endured to remove the
burden of sin that weighs upon your back.
See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree,
for you who once wickedly stretched
out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword
pierced my side for you who slept in
paradise and brought forth Eve from your
side. My side has healed the pain in yours.
My sleep will rouse you from your sleep
in hell. The sword that pierced me
has sheathed the sword that
was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The
enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.
I will not restore you to that paradise,
but I will enthrone you in heaven.
I forbade you the tree that was only
a symbol of life, but see, I who am life
itself am now one with you.
I appointed cherubim to guard
you as slaves are guarded, but now I
make them worship you as God. The
throne formed by cherubim awaits
you, its bearers swift and eager.
The bridal chamber is adorned,
the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling
places are prepared, the treasure houses
of all good things lie open.
There is a moving depth to ancient writings that is lost in our modern vernacular.
Here is the source: https://universalis.com/canada/20230408/readings.htm for Holy Saturday.
May God bless each of us with a deepening of faith and trust. Please pray for me as I pray for you. 🙏💕