Jesus goes to hell. Of course he does. Itinerary Good Friday Holy Saturday.

jesus peaches to fallen spirits

//// We say in the creed every Sunday – before we say that Jesus rose from the dead – that Jesus descended into hell. Of course we do, because he did, as the good book says. See 1 Peter 3:19ff. In context, it’s pretty much what is depicted above. Jesus goes to proclaim the good news to those who all were fallen but who He redeemed and saved. But not only. For those continuing in disobedience would also hear, including the fallen angels, the demons, Satan. I know one priest who wrote on this passage for his doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, getting full honors. He says that the main audience was the fallen angels, who would carry these words of Jesus through eternity to their eternal intellectual frustration, a writhing agony that is unspeakable. Anyway: here’s the meditation of an author way back in what, the 2nd century perhaps, for Holy Saturday and this preaching of Jesus. It says homily, but, of course, there is no Mass on Holy Saturday if not the later Easter Vigil (not this). I’m guessing this is a final preparation for the catechumens: ////

From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday
(PG 43, 439, 451, 462-463)

The Lord descends into hell

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. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.



Filed under Jesus

5 responses to “Jesus goes to hell. Of course he does. Itinerary Good Friday Holy Saturday.

  1. sanfelipe007

    Wow! My Mother would have loved reading this. But she now has firsthand knowledge. Thanks be to God.

  2. litteralis

    Thank you, Father, for that beautiful and enlightening explanation of, “…He descended into hell…”. Those words, of themselves, are not easily understood by some laymen, who may not have been blessed with eight years of grade school, taught by holy nuns in great habit, who would go to great lengths to help young minds understand that which can be easily misinterpreted.
    May Our Crucified Lord bless you, Father, and keep you safe and well. You are in my prayers each day.
    V. resp’y,

  3. Josephine

    Father George,
    Can you please further explain “…but now I make them worship you as God”
    Thank you,

    • Father George David Byers

      I would have to check the original for language. But, just chancing my arm, I’m guessing that this refers not only to sanctifying grace but also to the Mystical Body of Christ. “As” is also important here.

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