Today is a day of silent mourning, on which we watch sorrowfully with Our Lady at the sepulcher of Our Lord, awaiting faithfully as she did the fulfillment of the promise of the Resurrection.
But when night comes, the Easter Vigil approaches, and the first Mass of the Resurrection. The liturgy of this day is one of the most beautiful events of the year, and includes the blessing of the New Fire and of the Paschal Candle, ceremonies which take place outside the church. The candlelit procession into the church is followed by the Exsultet, that is, the joyful proclamation of the Resurrection sung by the deacon at the altar, and a series of Lessons from the Old Testament recounting God’s magnificent plan of salvation.
The blessing of baptismal water and the renewal of baptismal promises follow after, and at last, during the Gloria, the bells, silent since Holy Thursday, are rung again, and the church is filled with the joy of the risen Christ.
Exsúltet jam angélica turba cœlorum: exsúltent divína mystéria; et pro tanti Regis victória, tuba ínsonet salutáris.
Let the angelic choirs of heaven now rejoice; let the divine mysteries rejoice; and let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King.
– First words of the Exsultet
Our thanks to Mr. Michael Curtis for the photos, including the featured cover photo, from FSSP Seattle.
March 31, 2018