“He Descended Into Hell”

October 24, “He Descended Into Hell” St. Anthony Mary Claret, Eph. 4:1-6; Luke 12:54-59

We were required to be in therapy the two years prior to our ordination, to “descend into the hell’ of our own lives, as the Apostle’s Creed says Jesus did. It was a tough time, but from that time I learned that was what we were called to do, “to descend into hell” of our parishners lives.

Last night I sit with a young man as he descended into his hell, of drug abuse, sexual abuse, sexual identity, parental abuse, and for two hours I saw Satan in his life, and in that process I saw the presence of the Risen Christ.

It is never easy to sit with someone and descend into hell with them, it is the hardest work that one can do, tough work, and sometimes debilitating. But it is in that work that we experience the resurrection. And I have realized through the years that is where we need to be the most present in the hell of people’s lives.

Last night a person was raging at me because I served a vegan meal and frankly a part of the awareness that has come to permeate my life the past four or five years can be found in the words of Will Tuttle:

“We can argue that animals are largely unconscious, decreeing that because animals seem to lack the complex language that allows them to formulate thoughts in words as we do, their experience of suffering must therefore be less significant or intense for them.

This same thinking, however, could be used to justify harming human infants and senile elderly people. If anything, beings who lack the ability to analyze their circumstances may suffer at our hands more intensely than we would because they are unable to put the distance of internal dialogue between themselves and their suffering.”

Jesus rises each time we descend into hell and brings resurrection in all areas of our life, we simply need to let go of ourselves and surrender to that experience. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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