Holy Saturday: Christ’s Harrowing of Hell

“Harrowing of Hell,” an icon by Dionisius, from the Ferapontov Monastery. https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/d/images/thumb/a/ae/Descent_into_hell-Russian_Museum.jpg/500px-Descent_into_hell-Russian_Museum.jpg

Had Mary of Magdala burdened her grief
to the tomb this day, one day early,

Easter Sunday too impossible to conceive,
and had the stone already rolled just enough

for Mary to part the veil of darkness,
yes, she would have met face to face

the angel telling her to come back tomorrow,
but since you are here, know Jesus

has descended, divine and human,
into the underworld, abode of the dead,

harrying Satan-Death, bursting through
the gates of hell, exploding wide the doors

of Hades, Hell’s innocent captives freed
to rise with him . . .

Photo Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images. A street in Bucha, Ukraine. https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2022/04/07/gettyimages-1389943528_custom-99e99581dd46afe3d42cb14d727bb9ec7a53c2df-s2600-c85.webp

from the defiant rubble of Ukraine,
the body bags of Bucha.

Look up atop that standing building–
a giant construction crane, a cross

empty against the skyline.
Come back tomorrow morning!

Photo Credit: Andriy Andriyenko/AP. After Russian shelling at the railway station in Kramatorsk. https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2022/04/08/ap22098429094424_custom-880521c58135378cdaad2a0122c8e9348e689560-s2600-c85.webp