Descendit ad inferos
You who dwell beneath the sky above
Praise Him for your aching limbs
Your beer-bellies and ugly faces
Praise Him for the struggle with appetite
And the insurrection of the body.
For we here are thin things
Indestructible things, yes
Things made in the image of Him, the rumors say
And yet things unwhole, things severed
Shadows of our very selves.
Man is made of spirit and flesh
And how we do so miss it.
Strange, that we are made
Of these four coarse things: blood, spittle, sweat, tears
And how these four are shed,
In toil, in battle, in love,
Tells all you need know of a man.
Ah, but now we have none of them
Only ash and dust and dirt
And empty cold air
None of those good things to distract us
From this truth: we are the dead.
We were men of Israel
Men of Greece and Rome
And men of wilder lands to east and west
Now we are brothers all
Comrades in the Empire of the End.
And in this gray place we dwell
With nothing to say or do
Confused mind and absent body
Rendering us vacant.
But friend, smile, for on this day
We have seen what we never guessed
A light arises, a voice announces:
Now we may live again, for God has joined us
Among the ranks of the dead.