Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday - "The power of this holy night..."

Tonight is the great Easter Vigil, where we will enter into a dark church with an empty tabernacle, the sanctuary lamp snuffed out; where a new fire will be lit, both without and within. Where the beautiful Paschal candle, recalling the wounds of Christ will be lit from the fire; where that Paschal candle will light the candles of every person there. Christ is the light in the darkness and His light has spread throughout the earth.

Tonight is the night of the Church's highest hymn, the Exsultet, the Easter Proclamation. This hymn is traditionally sung by just one voice, no instruments. Just one pure, clear voice in the church, telling in these ancient words the story of mankind's downfall, God's plan for salvation, His showing of the way through the law and the prophets, and finally through the coming of His Son, Jesus.

My favorite line: "To ransom a slave, you gave away your Son." I always bring tissues. It's impossible to sit through this Mass and be untouched by Him.

Here's the Exsultet, the powerful hymn of praise and thanksgiving for the unearnable gift of our salvation through Christ Jesus.

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is night, when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night, when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever. +Amen+

1 comment:

Kbg said...

Beautiful...Happy Easter!