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Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Harrowing of Hell--The Ignored Event in the Creed

One of my favorite meditations is the Harrowing of Hell. This is in the Creed, "and He descended into Hell" or in some translations, "He descended unto the Dead". The idea of Christ freeing all the just, who were waiting for Him for years makes for an exciting scenario. Can you imagine the joy of the just and the perplexing anguish of Satan?

Years ago, I heard a sermon by a Protestant minister on television, yes, I did. This man was describing the Harrowing of Hell and the power of Christ's Redemption. Since then, I have only heard one sermon in a Catholic Church on this Creedal belief. Why?

What a powerful belief, in which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Incarnated saves Adam, Eve, all the just of the Old Testament, John the Baptist, and even His Foster-Father, Joseph, because the Gates of Heaven were closed until the Redemptive Suffering and Death on the Cross, has been revealed to us.

The Byzantine Catholics and the Orthodox have a long history of icons of this great event. I suggest the Western Church concentrates more on this teaching.

1 comment:

New Sister said...

You're so right; that is overlooked. I am never sure how to grapple with it in meditation - unlike the Virgin Birth or Calvary, which we can at least physically envision.

It's important for apologists to listen to Protestant preaching, and sometimes it's very good. I like Billy Grahm speaking (railing) on immorality, but then, it becomes like watching a car skid off the road when he talks about how to receive Jesus. I start wincing, "O, you were doing so well...what you're now saying is soooo incomplete - stop where you were!"

It's also interesting that you mention (sort of) Protestantism tonight, because I had just been doing so about an hour ago. I had been in a quiet church looking upon a Crucifix, rather exhausted after some bitterly tearful days of prayer and Confession. Then a Protestant prayer rose to my lips -- "I accept Thee, Jesus, as my LORD and Savior." It's a very difficult thing to do, to "accept Jesus", his Gift to us, once grace has revealed how grotesquely and utterly unworthy of Him we are! I thought of how we *should* pray this (typically Protestant) prayer more, but also how much it took - preparation and grace, seeing the ugliness of my sins - before I could in a meaningful way. I wondered how Protestants so readily pray it, whilst it has taken me years to get there.

I had a good Lent, because I feel ready for Easter, am so very eager for it now. I thank you for the spiritual company via this blog, Supertradmum. Our Lady must appreciate you most especially, because you are one of her helpers. I trust you've had a safe journey to England, and wish you a most blessed Easter! In Christ through His Immaculate Mother,