Easter Vigil – A Preview

Let’s talk about fire.

flames backgroundAt the very beginning of the Easter Vigil, we witness the blessing the Easter Fire.  Jesus is dead.  The Light of the World had been extinguished.  Yet, at the beginning of our liturgy, we see the blessing of the new light, and the lighting of the new candle.  And the fire of this candle is spread throughout the congregation (except the catechumens in most cases), so that we are able to symbolize Christ’s light shining within us.

The blessing of the candle is beautiful.   As Fr. Michael blesses the candle, he inserts the incense pins into the five wounds of Christ, in the form of a cross, praying:

Christ yesterday and today
the Beginning and the End
Alpha and Omega
all time belongs to him
and all the ages
to him be glory and power
through every age for ever.

Once the Paschal Candle is lit, the light is given to the congregation, and slowly, the Light of Christ spreads throughout the world, so that the words of the Exultet ring true,

fire “Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.”

What is most dramatic and solemn is when the deacon holds the candle in front of the darkened Church and we hear the words, “Light of Christ”.  We see nothing but a darkened tomb behind him, yet here is this tall, white, decorated candle that is almost blinding in comparison.

When you come this evening, look around you as your find your seat.  See how the light and the light of your neighbors illuminate the inside of the Church.  …it’s a pretty cool effect.

We are called to be this very same light in our very same world.  We rely on the light that had been given to us—through Christ, our Pasch—and the light given off by our neighbors, in order to illuminate our darkened world. We cannot be the light without Christ, and we cannot be the light without our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need each other, we have been given to each other, in order to keep our light burning brightly.  May the light we hold in our hands this evening be a sorry symbol for the saintly light that we are called to be.

See you tonight.

Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!

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