"My Own Prison" is a Creed song that most everyone knows, and most love, that is actually about a prophetic catholic vision. Creed is a power metal band who has recently re-united and will be on tour in 2024. The music of Creed is melodic, and hard hitting with a clear relatable lyric that asks some of the most profound questions of existence. In the lyrical vision of "My Own Prison" someone is moving from this corporeal world into the afterlife; they are facing judgement after physical death. What it vividly shows is what will happen to those who have not been saved. A final judgement of damnation which for Catholics is a horrific outcome that the faithful are striving very hard to avoid. Any actual lyrics will be both bold and italicized to denote them as the actual song lyrics as we progress through the song. Let us begin with the chorus and then the verses.
Chorus; part 1:
Should have been dead on a Sunday morning banging my head. This line of the chorus represents the regrets of a condemned soul at their final judgement for not having conversion in life. Who should have been dead and banging their head is the old man referred to in Romans 6:4-6. The regret that this person is expressing is in not receiving grace at Sunday Mass or the sacraments beginning with baptism to kill the old man while there was still time in life; thus, the line is sung from the perspective of the old man who is coming to an understanding in judgement that they should have been dead on a Sunday morning, and they are now banging their head in regret for not being the new creation found through conversion. The implication is that the new man or one experiencing conversion in life would have brought this now lost soul to eternal life by, among other things, going to Mass and partaking in the sacraments during life. There are seven sacraments that assist Catholics to eternal life, they are: 1. Baptism, 2. Holy Communion, 3. Confession / Reconciliation / Penance, 4. Confirmation, 5. Anointing of the sick or Extreme Unction, 6. Holy Orders, 7. Holy Matrimony. The chorus continues with a lament singing; no time for mourning, ain't got no time. This line is a reference to time being up for conversion at the final judgement and so much so that mourning or supplicating for one’s eternal soul is futile because eternal loss of God has been issued in the eternal finality of damnation.
Chorus part 2:
The lament goes on in the second part of the chorus exclaiming; and I said oh, so I held my head up high, hiding hate that burns inside, which only fuels their selfish pride. Part 2 of the chorus begins with a reference to how a completely degenerate soul becomes entirely blasphemous when judged to eternal damnation. The condemned soul standing tall and hiding hate inside is exactly what Lucifer did at his judgement. Satan’s own pride and conceit is why he rebelled against God in both Ezekiel 28 and in Isaiah 14. The lyrics here demonstrate this same blasphemous rebellion because it is a full and complete rejection of God’s love. A blasphemous and rebellious spirit is why there is no way to ever reverse a final judgement of damnation and the selfish pride that makes eternal damnation eternal for both demonic and human souls that are sent to hell. John Walvoord has a very good way of describing hell as; “Never-ending, conscious punishment devoid of any hope is indeed a frightening prospect.” He goes on to state; “The fact is, hell should be frightening, considering it is the place of judgment originally created for the devil and his angels.” This is paraphrased from Mathew 25:41. See - https://www.afterlife.co.nz/articles/four-views-of-hell-review/
Chorus part 3:
The signers’ lament then goes into a third discord with; and I said oh, all held captive out from the sun which is a reference to the human condition of original sin and how until baptism we do not have access to the grace of God or the Son Jesus or as the song sings, the sun symbolically. Here the word sun is symbolism for the light, love and warmth felt when receiving Gods graces through his Son Jesus Christ in the sacraments. The song goes on saying; a sun that shines on only some, which is a reference to the fact that not everyone will or does become a Christian in life, so the light, love and warmth of God's graces only comes to those who convert by accepting Jesus as savior and partaking in the sacraments to be sanctified by grace through faith onto good works in this life and to eternal life in the next. See Ephesians 2:8-10 and Philippians 2:12-13 for more on sanctification. The song then goes to the following; we the meek are all in one, which is a reference to the saved who are the mystical body of Christ and how as the hands and feet of Christ we must show His light, love, and warmth to the world in the hope that all will be saved from eternal damnation. Check out 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23 for more on the mystical body of Christ. According to Fr. William G. Most; “We the body of Christ struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil.” as shown on EWTN.com
Verse 1 part 1:
The first verse sets the stage as a hearing of sorts as we listen how this person is being judged. Court is in session, a verdict is in. No appeal on the docket today, just my own sin. The word court in this verse is a human metaphor for the final judgement at the bema seat in the presence of God. As an earthly king has a court, so God has a heavenly court. The verdict is in is a reference to the judgement of final damnation that has been rendered by God. No appeal on the docket today signifies the soul's lack of conversion and that because of this there is no blood of Christ available to be the payment for the sins committed during this person’s life. Just my own sin is a reference to the scripture that states that the wages of sin is death in Romans 6:23.
Verse 1 part 2:
Part 2 of verse 1 continues to describe the surroundings with; the walls are cold and pale, the cage made of steel which is a reference to a prison cell. This is a metaphor for how one can be enslaved or imprisoned onto death by sin. The prison cell is erected over time by a lifetime of sins. A cage made of steel is used to symbolize that there is no human means to escape from the consequences of sin; namely, death. The lyrics continue with; screams fill the room, alone I drop and kneel. The screams that fill the room are all the wrongs done throughout life that cry out against the accused soul. Those screams are a demand for justice. To be alone, drop and kneel shows us exactly how we will all face God at each of our own final judgements'; alone. Humanly all will be judged alone; however, not without an advocate if we have accepted Christ Jesus as our savior. The soul being judged in the song, by kneeling alone shows us that they never accepted Christ in life and so He (Jesus) is not there in this person's death either. The lyrics then look outward with; silence now the sound which is a reference to the finality of Gods judgement as completely just, so much so, that not even the demons will make a sound in God’s declaration of final damnation. The person being judged then realizes the stillness singing; my breath the only motion around which is a reference to the body and soul that are one and will experience judgement together. A soul by itself does not need to breath; however, a body and soul does need to breath and the judged ones breathing is the only movement after God’s judgement is rendered in this verse. Then the lyrics speak of a gathering around the condemned person with; demons cluttering around, my face showing no emotion which is a reference to the demonic escorts that will carry this condemned soul to hell. The face showing no emotion is a reference to how utterly empty and alone it will be in final damnation.
Verse 1 part 3:
In part 3 of verse 1, the judged person is describing what is happening next with; shackled by my sentence expecting no return which is a symbol similar to the image of a prison cell in the previous part of this verse. Shackles and chains gives the listener the impression of being a prisoner who is bound up physically in chains. This is also a spiritual metaphor for how your soul can be mortally bound in sin at death and onto eternal damnation at judgement without the graces of conversion and the sacraments. The lyrics then turn to the reality of the circumstance with; here there is no penance, my skin begins to burn which is a reference specifically to confession, reconciliation, penance, and how it will feel in hell where there is no forgiveness of sins. The three actions of confession, reconciliation, and penance can be done during one’s life in order to be restored to a state of grace onto eternal life. The penance done during life is also spiritually how one might begin to make amends for wrongs done throughout life while still alive. The lyrics here clearly show that there are no more opportunities to make amends after one is judged by God. The fact that his skin begins to burn shows the complete despair and suffering that awaits those who are condemned to hell.
Verse 2 part 1:
The lyrics then turn to a greater sense of awareness with; I hear a thunder in the distance; see a vision of a cross which is a reference to the crucifixion and the lost soul is realizing just how serious the rejection of the savior has been. The song goes deeper with; I feel the pain that was given on that sad day of loss which shows us how one will recognize the gift of love given by Christ that was meant to secure an advocate at your final judgement and that every knee will bow, and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of heaven and of earth.
Verse 2 part 2:
The second part of verse 2 is a clarification of the fact that this judged soul now clearly has no access to redemption with the words; a lion roars in the darkness, only he holds the key which is a reference to the King of Kings Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord of heaven and earth. This is evidenced by the fact that only He; Jesus Christ, holds the key and that key is explained in the next phrase of the lyrics with the words; a light to free me from my burden and grant me life eternally. This granting referred to in the lyrics is done by accepting Him; Christ Jesus as King of kings, Lord and Savior of heaven and earth. Allowing His grace to move you through the various sacraments to holiness in life and to be shown worthy of heaven upon death because your debt is paid by His blood from the cross.
With verse three the judged person makes a desperate attempt requesting mercy with the words; I cry out to God; seeking only his decision, this is a final plea for mercy that is futile once judgement is rendered. We then see a holy angle of heaven standing there to verify the choice made by the judged person with the words; Gabriel stands and confirms; I've created my own prison which is a last reference to the heavenly court of God as Gabriel is an Arc angel who presides always in the presence of God. Gabriel’s proclamation is the final word from heaven that the judgement rendered is just, final & eternal. Gabriel is confirming here that the consequences of sin are a death alone without God. This means that one goes to hell not because God does not love us but because we choose not to love Him in life, and so in the afterlife he loves us so much that he honors our choice by leaving us completely alone to suffer in this misery for ever more.
In the reprise we find the judged person again lamenting with; and I said oh, I created, I created, I created, I created, I created, I created my own prison which is a reference to the eternal state of realizing that you will not be with God because of how you lived. While it is too late for this condemned soul it cries out for us to reflect upon our life and how we might all avoid the lonely misery in the eternal damnation of hell. This is an exhortation to accept what Christ Jesus has already done for us out of love. This song is a window showing us what is to come if we do not have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe that is nurtured over a lifetime via the sacraments and practice of virtue prior to death.
Stay tuned for another look at the Catholic nature of Creed songs to come.