Resurrexit Sicut Dixit!

Christos anesti!  Alethos anesti!  Had a lovely Easter Break - would not have missed the Holy Rosary Triduum for the world.  I love all the ceremonies for the Paschal Triduum, but one of my favorite moments is the glorious end of Lent.  After three days of silence and darkness, and an hour of a church lit only by candles and a few lights, the shadows are lifted.  All the bells ring out their glad peals; the choir sings the Gloria at full volume; the organ plays its mightiest; the lights are turned on and all the violet covers on the statues are removed.  Then it is that the full joy of the Resurrection comes!

Before that, though, in the darkness with the light of the Paschal Candle and a few candelabra, the priest chants an incredibly beautiful piece of writing.  He sings about the Paschal Candle; about the night on which Christ rose from the dead; and rejoices in the light in the darkness, and even in the darkness for manifesting the light.  Here is a translation of the Exsultet.

Now, let the angelic host of heaven exult, exult the mysteries divine; and for the victory of so great a King sound the trumpet of salvation.  Let earth rejoice, irradiated by such mighty beams, and, being lighted up with the splendor of the eternal King, let her feel the shadows gone from all her sphere.  Let Mother Church also rejoice, adorned with the effulgence of so great a light; and let this place ring with the voices of many.  Wherefore, do ye here present, O most dear brethren, in the wonderful brightness of this holy light, join me, I pray, in invoking the mercy of almighty God, that He, Who for no merits of mine own, hath deighnd to number me among the Levites, may shed upon me the brightness of His light and make me perfectly perform the praise of this candle.  Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, Who with Him liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.  Amen.

V. The Lord be with you.  R. And with thy spirit.

V. Lift up your hearts.  R. We have them lifted up to the Lord.

V. Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.  R. It is right and just.

It is truly meet and just, that with all the powers of heart and mind, uplifting, too, our voices, we sing the God invisible, the Father almighty, and His only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ; Who hath paid for us unto the eternal Father the debt of Adam, and hath wiped out with His dear blood the reckoning of the ancient offence.  For these are the paschal rites wherein the true Lamb is slain with Whose blood the door-posts of the faithful are consecrated.  This is the night on which Thou didst cause our fathers, the children of Israel, to cross dryshod the Red Sea, leading them out of the land of Egypt.  This, then, is the night that hath purged away the darkness of sins with the illumination of the pillar of fire.  This is the night which now, throughout all the world, doth separate believers in Christ from the iniquities of the world and the gloom of sins, doth restore them unto grace, and join them unto holiness.  This is the night on which, bursting the bonds of death, Christ came victorious from the grave.  For it profited us nothing to be born except that we might be redeemed.  O wondrous condescension of Thy great kindness in our regard!  O inestimable affection of charity: to redeem the slave, Thou didst give up the Son!  O truly necessary sin of Adam, that is wiped out by the death of Christ!  O happy fault, that was worthy to have such and so great a redeemer!  O truly blessed night, that alone was worthy to know the time and the hour when Christ rose again from the dead.  This is the night of which it is written:  And the night shall be enlightened like day; and the night is my enlightening in my pleasures.  The sanctification of this night, therefore, driveth away evil deeds, cleanseth offences, restoring innocence to the fallen and gladness to the mournful.  It driveth out hatred, it produceth concord and curbeth tyrannies.

In thanksgiving, then, for this night, O holy Father, receive the evening sacrifice of this incense, which the most holy Church rendereth to Thee by the hands of her ministers, in this solemn oblation of wax, from the labors of the bees.  And now we know the glories of this column which the flickering fire doth kindle in God's honor.

Which fire, though it be divided into parts, yet knoweth no diminution of its light.  For it is nourished by the fluid wax which the mother bee hath produced for the material of this precious torch.

O truly blessed night that despoiled the Egyptians and enriched the Hebrews!  Night in which heavenly are joined with earthly things, divine with human!  We therefore pray Thee, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated to the honor of Thy name, may persevere without failing in breaking up the gloom of this night.  And, being accepted for an odor of sweetness, may it be mingled with the heavenly luminaries.  May the daystar of the morning come upon its flame: that daystar which knoweth no setting: He Who, returning from the grave, hath shed His serene light upon the human race.  We therefore beseech Thee, O Lord, that, granting peace in these paschal joys to us Thy servants, and all Thy clergy, and Thy most devout people, together with our most blessed Pope N. and our bishop N., thou wouldst deign to direct us with Thy watchful protection, to govern and preserve us.  Through the same Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.  Amen.