Confirmation: Drip Torch Series Resist the Greyness!
A blessed Easter to all of you, the tomb is empty and Christ is risen! Before that, however, he descended into Hell to rescue the righteous of nations from the grip of Death. I’ve always been fascinated by this often overlooked bit of the Passion of our Lord. He didn’t lie silent for his days in the tomb, he descended into the depths and contented with the Devil and his servants for the release of those righteous souls who had been trapped in this gray land since the beginning of the world. Much of our world is yet in this gray land without hope. The most beautiful description I have ever heard of the Harrowing of Hell I discovered in the poem, “Limbo” by Sr. Mary Ada: “The ancient greyness shifted Suddenly and thinned Like mist upon the moors Before a wind. An old, old prophet lifted A shining face and said : “He will be coming soon. The Son of God is dead; He died this afternoon.”
A murmurous excitement stirred All souls. They wondered if they dreamed --- Save one old man who seemed Not even to have heard.
And Moses standing, Hushed them all to ask If any had a welcome song prepared. If not, would David take the task? And if they cared Could not the three young children sing The Benedicite, the canticle of praise They made when God kept them from perishing In the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them, Stilling Moses’ words. No one could speak, remembering The first fresh flowers, The little singing birds. Still others thought of fields new ploughed Or apple trees All blossom - boughed. Or some, the way a dried bed fills With water Laughing down green hills. The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam On bright blue seas. The one old man who had not stirred Remembered home.
And there He was Splendid as the morning sun and fair As only God is fair. And they, confused with joy, Knelt to adore Seeing that he wore Five crimson stars He never had before.
No canticle at all was sung. None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song. A silent man alone Of all that throng Found tongue ---- Not any other. Close to His heart When the embrace was done, Old Joseph said, “How is Your Mother, How is Your Mother, Son?””
As we enter into the Easter season and bring ever more souls into the Church of Christ, I believe it important to reflect and pray on this poem for a variety of reasons. First and foremost is this: many of our loved ones live outside of the Church, or even a relationship with Christ. They know the grayness of this “Limbo” far better than we ever could, bathed as we are in sacramental grace. It needn’t be that way, however, we can bring the light of Christ into their lives in so many little ways. As we rejoice in our risen Lord, let us strive to remember those all around us, whether they profess Christ or no whose lives we can brighten so. May God bless all of you.