by Catherine Doherty.
The stone was heavy. It took strong Roman soldiers to roll it across the entrance. The cave was cold. There wasn’t a chink that let in any light. The walls were hard. There was so little air, and what there was, was strangely dank with smells of a hundred years of darkness, dust and cold.
But then he was dead. He could not breathe or smell or see. He was so utterly, so terribly, so really dead, and he was Life, and Life was dead.
And he who breathed death was king. He did not roar like lions do, nor did he roam. He stood somewhere on top of some mountain that never had known the steps of men. And there on some unknown pinnacle he stood, and laughed and laughed and laughed.
The mountains shuddered. The snow began to turn. That night the valley knew avalanches that covered the earth with a white shroud. It seemed to men that the snow trembled as it fell.
Below the high and pointed mountaintop, the trees grew in abundance. When they heard the laughter of the king of hell, they withered. And grass turned brown, and all that lived died in their tracks.
It was a night of laughter, the sound of which brought death. But there were some who, hearing it, found it music and began dancing to its strange, awesome tune.
The night passed. It seemed to run its course as if it too wanted to hide from the king of deadly laughter, the one who thought he owned the world now outright.
A pale day came, afraid to breathe. It was gray with fear and pale with loathing. It wished it did not have to run its course. So many times it almost fainted and became twilight at its noonday time.
The laughter grew in strength. The king of death began to move, striding across the face of hapless earth. Wherever he passed, there death of soul or body followed him, and corpses sang strange travesties of hymns to him.
The ones with faith felt his coming from afar and covered their heads with praying shawls of love, invoking the name of the Lord or of Christ. For all the world had not yet heard the gentle voice of God speaking in the humble, daily Aramaic tongue of the Jews.
And it was time for night to return. It had to be. So on its knees night trembled and covered the earth.
The laughing one gathered his servants and ordered them to make merry, for now the earth was his.
While the dead were obeying, while the loving ones were praying, the night was rent with the thunder of a stone rolling away from a cave. And suddenly without warning, the night turned into the brightest of all days. A thousand suns seemed to come forth from the dark, dank cave that was God’s tomb.
Christ was triumphant and all the earth heard the angels’ song. Trees, grass, and all living things were resurrected, and snow melted into a river of gold. The living ones were singing the Alleluia song.
And he who laughed was once again hurled into the darkness of his thousand hells. He could not weep. He had no tears. He lay like one prostrated, and cursed and cursed the risen Christ.
—From Journey Inward, p. 13-14, (1984), Madonna House Publications.
If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!