Visio Divina for 2/25/12 – “Harrowing of Hell” – Day 4 (Becoming Christ-like)


Return to God’s word. Allow it to transform you. Notice how your faith is being deepened and your way of life motivated.

1 Peter  3:18-22

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God.  He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.  And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.


Today, we return to reading the text for the third time. As we encounter God’s word, let us ponder how this text is making a difference in our journey of faith, in other words, how we are becoming Christ-like.

Many persons approach Lent as a time of the year to give up something they enjoy.  It is a season to restrain from a treasured food or activity, like coffee from your favorite café or chocolate or dessert after dinner.  We often are party to conversations with family and friends and colleagues about what we are giving up for Lent.  It can sometimes be a light-hearted competition (tongue in cheek)!  Over the years, I have personally found it more spiritually beneficial to take on an extra discipline or two rather than give up something I enjoy.  For example, every Lenten season for the last six years, I have reread the Gospel according to Saint John in an attempt to learn and understand more about the meaning of the metaphors our Lord uses in the “I AM” statements in that narrative – “I AM the good shepherd”, “I AM the vine”, etc.  Lent for me is such a rich penitential time of getting in touch with who I am and what I truly value in life, a time of taking stock yet again of my shortcomings, a time of getting my spiritual house in order, a time of more intentional journeying in yet another attempt to be more like Christ.


This encounter with the “Harrowing of Hell” these past four days has caused me to take a deeper look within me and around me at the things that create chaos in my life.  How do these things detract me from being more like Christ?  Do I create chaos in the life of others?  Christ already has taken away the chaos, how can I then show appreciation for his act of kindness and love for humanity?  How can I take away the chaos in the life of my neighbor?  How can my actions in the world be an extension of Jesus’ redeeming love?

I now have a new discipline this Lenten season, that is, to do my part in taking away the chaos in the lives of others.  This sounds like a tall order, but in reality it’s simple.  After all, that is what Christ did and continues to do.  Are we not Christ’s agents in the world?  By intentionally practicing a random act of kindness toward and for my neighbors I am well on the way in becoming more like Christ.  Please join me in this movement of showing Christ’s love.  May it become infectious and continue to spread everyday of our lives!

– Fr Kirtley Yearwood

© Harrowing of Hell, Suzanne Moore, 2011. The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.  Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

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