Easter Week – Remembering Triduum backwards 2…
Easter Vigil: Light in the darkness! “This is the night the Light broke the chains of death! Oh, Holy Night! Oh, Night of Glory!”
The Easter Vigil begins after sundown, at night. This is the first symbol of the Vigil. People gather as the sun sets. Final preparations in the waning light. Then, night. It’s the night of alienation and separation from God and others. It’s the night of blindness and shame. It’s the night in which deeds done therein are hidden. Opaque. Unseen.
This is the mystery we can get in touch with during Lent. We may have recognized self-will and self-absorption as modes of operating. Whatever the case, in the night we are alone. We don’t see others. We don’t see our faces.
Then the new fire blazes forth! The Light appears within the night. The night gives birth, as it were, to the flame! “Oh, Holy Night! Oh, Night of Glory!”
Once the fire and candle have been blessed, the Paschal Candle proceeds through the assembled faithful and shares out its light to all the baptized. Here is a snapshot of the Church: some light, shadows, night still present. And the Light of Christ everywhere in humble smallness.
The singer blesses the Candle and the Night in which God has acted and continues to act (the Exultet). “This is the Night you…” “This is the Night you…”
“Oh, happy fault, Oh, necessary sin of Adam which gained for us such a redeemer!” It’s as if the night we inhabit calls out for Light and Light appears within it! “Oh, Holy Night! Oh, Night of Glory!”
[Photo: Roc O’Connor, SJ – Easter Vigil, 2016; Fr. Jim Flaherty, SJ, presider]