Darkness has fallen on us. The alleluias have fallen to their most silent. The ropes of the church bells left un-pulled. Statues have been covered, the crucifix is veiled, and not a single flower fills the church with its scent. Candles are left wanting for flame. Even the Eucharist itself has been taken from its place of honor.
This is how we start the Easter Vigil. Then, from one single light – the new paschal candle lit from the Easter fire – we begin our procession into the Church as we sing threefold, “Christ our light!” Gradually, from one flame, which like love loses none of its ‘essence’, spreads throughout the Church. By the light of these candles and by the light of the Paschal Candle, the minster sings the Exsultet making the first announcement of Christ’s resurrection.
We then hear the story of salvation history story as seven readings and corresponding psalms are read. We hear from the beginning of Genesis, the journey through Abraham’s willing call to sacrifice, Moses parting the sea, Isaiah and his writing of God’s unceasing love and of the life giving water of God, and the prophet Baruch shows us lady prudence and her wisdom, as Ezekiel promises us a new heart and death to sin.
It is at this point that the Gloria resounds; the lights are brought up to reveal flowers of new life, votives returned. Water of new life pour into the stoups. The Church has been born anew and new catechumens and candidates are brought into the church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (all sacraments of initiation), as alleluias fall forth from our lips.
Christ has Risen! Death has conquered sin. Darkness has overcome light. And a promise that there is no darkness that light cannot penetrate, no tomb whose stone cannot be rolled away, and no wound on our hands and feet that cannot heal. For with every lily placed out this Easter, a promise of hope blooms for us to know that the love, which has always been present within, will always be watered and born of the tears of our suffering. Always and in all ways will resurrection be ours because He has shown us it can be.