In Christian Tradition Black Saturday doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
We know Palm Sunday, Jesus appearance in Jerusalem as a Humble King. The Last Supper and the Agony in the garden of Gethsemane on Holy Thursday. The sacrifice of the lamb on Good Friday. And, of course, the Resurrection of Easter Sunday.
What in hell happened on Saturday?
That question could be read literally and metaphorically.
The early medieval Church has a legend (based off a tricky reading of 1 Peter 3:19) known as “The Harrowing of Hell”, Of a Triumphant Christ fresh from his sacrifice at Golgotha literally raiding Hell itself and rescuing the Virtuous souls who could not have achieved Salvation before his sacrifice (Namely the Old Testament Patriarchs).
If you could find a Latin Mass you will still hear the words describing the Saturday after Good Friday:
Hodie portas et seras partier salvator noster disrupit (On this Day our savior broke open the door of the dead and it’s lock as well.)
How much damage did Christ cause?
While approaching the Gates of Dis in the 6th Circle of the Inferno Dante’s descent into the Abyss is encumbered by the Fallen Angels who are blocking the gate. Dante’s guide, the Latin poet Virgil, assures Dante that this wasn’t the first time they tried this nonsense:
“This insolence of theirs’ is nothing New– Virgil (The Inferno Canto VIII 121-123)
They showed it once at the less secret gate
That still stands open for all that they could do.”
Dante’s Descent into Hell started on Good Friday 1300 AD. Virgil is saying that in the 1267 years since Christ kicked open the gates of Hell itself so God Damned (Literal sense not the blasphemous 2nd commandment breaking sense 😉) hard no one bothered to call a(nother) carpenter to fix the shit.
Imagine that. Knowing the despair of defeat so great that you see no utility in fixing that which is broken. Fuck it. Just leave it the way it is. Move on as you can’t change shit.
Utter unconditional defeat. Holy Saturday 33-34AD(ish)…The day even Hell Gave Up cause it got its ass kicked.
Do you not see the semblance of a metaphor in that? 😉
Breaking down the Gates in life so hard that there is no need to repair it. Coming and going as you please.
I intend to re-read La Comedia every Easter weekend and am forever impressed with allegorical imagery Dante describes. The broken gate shattered and useless serving no purpose beyond reminding itself of its former utility.
I’ve mentioned before Despite my catholic upbringing I’m not a Christian myself, at least not in the traditional biblical sense but I think the life, words, and deeds of Christ remain an excellent template for how others should live and interact with each other.
He loved the common folk yet warred with the State (Roman)-Religious (Sanhedrin)-Financial (Money Changers in the temple) industrial complex that still fucks things up today. The love he gave his brethren and followers. The appropriate contempt towards the undeservingly pompous elite, That’s a Homey I could roll with any day of the week.
And then when it was all finished the ass kicking he gave the Gates of Hell itself.
Not everyone celebrates the resurrection of Christ. But we can all celebrate the spirit with which he lived.
Especially today. There is salvation on the other side of those gates that need to be broken down…