Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Fire Into Many Flames

In a previous post, I attempted to make a connection between Christmas and Easter using a text from the prophet Isaiah. (Your mileage may vary depending on how insightful you thought I was. Remember, my theological musings are as infinitesimal as this 'blog.) However, going where angels fear to tread (out of fear they would be a laughingstock), I shall again look toward some parallelism.

So, let us compare and contrast again the openings of Mass of the Feast of the Nativity:  Mass During the Night with the Easter Vigil liturgy.

The Church is plunged into darkness at the start of both, reminding us of the darkness of sin that has overcome the world via the "happy fault" of Adam. The Light of the world must be brought forth so we may be able to see again. And so it is, although in very different measure.

At the Christmas Mass a statue of the Christ Child is processed to the creche, the way illuminated only by the light of candles from the faithful. The introit "Dominus Dixit" (if Gregorian chant is used) and/or "Adeste Fideles/O Come, All Ye Faithful" fills the air as the "Gloria" of the angels originally did. At the Easter Vigil the Pascal Candle is processed to the ambo, the way illuminated only by the light of the candles from the faithful. "The light of Christ./Thanks be to God" fills the air (although I wonder if "Alleluia" rang out in Heaven upon His Resurrection).

But, you ask, from where did the original flame for the candles come? At Christmas there is no specific or special ritual. The Vigil, however, provides one. Perhaps symbolizing the first command from God in ordering creation, a fire is lit and blessed. This is use to light the Pascal Candle after it has been prepared. That flame is then passed to the candles used in the congregation.

And so the Light of the world, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, appears on earth. At Christmas, He came from a womb; at Easter, a tomb. At Christmas, His Glory was "veiled in flesh"; at Easter,  "flesh" was glorified. At Christmas, it was the beginning of our redemption; at Easter, its culmination.

In our unending joy, we give thanks and praise for this marvelous work of His hands.

The Exsultet "sounds aloud our mighty King's triumph".

The text of this prayer, in both Latin and English, is provided for your meditation.

No comments: