He Descended Into Hell

David B. Couturier O.F.M. Cap., "He Descended Into Hell"

It’s been twenty-five years and she is still not over it. How could she be? With the dark circles under the eyes and a smile that never quite brings back her once infectious laugh, she wears a sadness that is no longer worrisome but that has never faded with the passing of years. They are all reminders of that awful day when Sis’s youngest son’s body was pulled from the family swimming pool. The funeral years ago was a mixture, no—a mess, of wails and numbness, alternating currents of overpowering pain and overwhelming despair. When I asked her recently how she’s been, she trusts me enough to tell the truth, “it’s been hell!” The death of a child is just one of the many ways we get there. Lent is a time when the Church gives us an opportunity to strip away our masks and put away the Pollyannaish platitudes that keep us functioning in the fast lane of life. Lent is the time when we get to tell the blunt truth about the pain and suffering we’ve experienced.

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