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Easter Vigil

March 30, 2013


As darkness falls
a new day breaks
and life begins to stir…
we strike a fire
and start to pray:

Dear brethren,
on this most sacred night,
in which our Lord Jesus Christ
passed over from death to life,
the Church calls upon Her sons and daughters,
scattered throughout the world,
to come together to watch and pray.
If we keep the memorial
of the Lord’s paschal solemnity in this way,
listening to His Word and celebrating His mysteries,
then we shall have the sure hope
of sharing His triumph over death
and living with Him in God.

Let us pray.
O God, Who through Your Son
bestowed upon the faithful the fire of Your glory,
sanctify + this new fire, we pray,
and grant that,
by these paschal celebrations,
we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires,
that with minds made pure
we may attain festivities of unending splendor.
Through Christ our Lord.

Christ yesterday and today
(the priest cuts a vertical line in the Easter candle)
the beginning and the end
(he cuts a horizontal line)
the Alpha
(he cuts the letter Alpha above the vertical line)
and the Omega
(he cuts the letter Omega below the vertical line)
All time belongs to Him
(he cuts the first numeral of the current year in the upper left corner of the cross)
and all the ages
(he cuts the second numeral of the year in the upper left corner)
To Him be glory and power
(he cuts the third numeral in the lower left corner)
through every age and forever. Amen.
(he cuts the last numeral in the lower right corner)
By His holy
(the priest inserts a grain of incense in the top of the cross)
and glorious wounds
(the priest inserts a grain of incense in the center of the cross)
may Christ the Lord
(the priest inserts a grain of incense in the bottom of the cross)
guard us
(the priest inserts a grain of incense in the left tip of the cross)
and protect us. Amen.
(the priest inserts a grain of incense in the right tip of the cross)

The priest lights the paschal candle from the new fire, saying:
May the Light of Christ rising in glory
dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

As the people process into the darkened church behind the paschal candle,
the priest or deacon carrying it sings three times:

The Light of Christ
to which the people respond three times
Thanks be to God
After the second time, all light candles from the Paschal candle and continue in procession.
Once everyone is in their place, the lights of the church are turned on.

The Paschal Proclamation (Exultet)
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lighting of His glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that He who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me His light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises.)

V: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit.
V: Lift up your hearts.
R: We lift them up to the Lord.
V: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R: It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart,
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, His Son, His Only Begotten.
Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and pouring out His own dear Blood
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.
These then are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.
This is the night,
when once You led our forebears,
Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.
This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace,
and joining them to His holy ones.
This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death, and rose
victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of Your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave You gave away Your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!
This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.
The sanctifying power of this night
dispels all wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord,
and brings down the mighty.
On this, Your night of grace,
O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of Your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from Your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honor,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.
O truly blessed night,
when things of Heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.
Therefore, O Lord,
we pray You that this candle,
hallowed to the honor of Your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ Your Son,
who coming back from death’s domain
has shed His peaceful light on humanity
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Dear brethren,
now that we have begun our solemn Vigil
let us listen with quiet hearts to the Word of God.
Let us meditate on how God in times past saved His people
and in these, the last days, has sent us His Son as our Redeemer.
Let us pray that our God may complete this paschal work of salvation
by the fullness of redemption.

Genesis 1:1-2:2 (Creation)
Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 “Lord, send out Your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth”
or Psalm 33:4-7, 12-13, 20-22 “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord”
Genesis 22:1-18 (Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac–foreshadowing of Jesus crucifixion)
Psalm16:5-11 “Keep me safe O God; You are my hope”
Exodus 14:15-15:1 (the parting of the Red Sea–foreshadowing of Baptism)
Exodus 15:1-17 “Let us sing to the Lord; He has covered Himself in glory”
Isaiah 54:5-14 (God, our Bridegroom, will take us back, and love us)
Psalm 30:1-13 “I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me”
Isaiah 55:1-11 (God offers us food and water without cost from His abundance)
Isaiah 12:2-3 “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation”
Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4 (we are in need because we have forsaken God, the Source of everything)
Psalm 19:8-11 “Lord, You have the words of everlasting life”
Ezekiel 36:16-28 (God will forgive and renew us for His own sake)
Psalm 42:2-43:4 “Like a deer that long for running streams, my soul longs for You, my God”
or Psalm 51:12-19 “Create a clean heart in me, O God”
Romans 6:3-11 (because we have been baptized into Jesus’ death, death has no more power over us)
Psalm 118:1-23 “Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
+Matthew 28:1-10 (the two Marys meet an angel, then the risen Lord)

Let there be light!
~Genesis 1:3

a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin

The light of faith
braced Abraham’s hand,
foretold the holy sacrifice
of God
upon the mount:

He reasoned that God was able to raise from the dead,
and so he received Isaac back as a symbol
~Hebrews 11:19

It led the sons of Israel
through watery grave
that swallowed up
their slavery.
It brings us to rebirth
through sacred font–
a path that goes through death
to life,
baptized into His death,
to live in Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ;
yet I live,
no longer I,
but Christ lives in me
~Galatians 2:20

And as we follow it
(this Light!)
we find our way to tenderness,
to covenant,
to wisdom, joy and holiness,
to rest and deep fulfillment
in the splendor of the Lord.

This is the baptized life
that we renew
this blessed night
as rising Light
dispels the darkness
and gives blinded eyes their sight.

All praise to God!

Are you aware of Christ living in you–and you in Him?
Do you walk as a child of the light (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:5)?

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