Moments before his death on the cross, Jesus spoke his last words: "It is finished." Then his body was taken down, hastily washed and prepared for burial. But there was one thing more for Jesus to do - an invisible thing!
In this painting by Fra Angelico (1395-1455) who seems to paint with light, we see Jesus in the last great act of his love. While his body rests in the tomb awaiting the Resurrection of Easter morning, Jesus, in some way unknown to us, descended into hell, the Sunday Creed says. What does this mean?
He went in search of all those who had gone before him in death. And today, Jesus goes to the inner place where I am in any way imprisoned. Perhaps it is where there is some unrelenting, personal heaviness. He searches for me where I am imprisoned in some regrettable, mistaken choice that causes sorrow and pin. Jesus goes where I hide inwardly, the place of my loneliness and the isolation I feel perhaps because of lovelessness or selfishness.
And then, like a child who plays Hide and Seek, he tears the place apart, searching in every dark crevice of shame and abuse, ignorance and fear, resentment, addiction or depression. And there he announces, "I have found you! I have found you!"
Fra Angelico has painted a wonder! Scroll back to the top and look again! In my meditation: feel the depth of the cavernous room, the kicked-down-door which has crushed the demon, while another on the far left flees. Each of us can name these realities. And now I can tuck myself in the middle of the surprised and much-relieved crowd: "I once was lost but now am found..."