Saturday, April 11, 2020

Echoes In The Light

Thanks to EWTN, I have seen a few of the Triduum Liturgies via the host's livestream media. With only a minimal amount of people assisting, both clerical and laity, the starkness of the empty church seems to me to bring out more of the solemn nature of the rituals. I don't think this is what the Church Fathers had in mind when they spoke of "noble simplicity", but the bare-bones nature of the execution of these rites is more out of necessity than anything. They have their own beauty, just as much as a full-blown "smells and bells" service would.

So how does one approach tonight's Vigil Mass? When normally "this is the night" to wrap the glory of the Resurrection and its accompanying Rites of Initiation with all the pomp and circumstance befitting the moment, this is not going to be the case this year. Less will be enough. But this "less" takes nothing away from the actions.

Consider the beginning of tonight's festivities as an example. The creation of the Vigil fire and the preparation and procession of the Paschal candle will be done in its required red and black. What will be missing is the myriads of candles held by the People of God in attendance. This may not be such a bad thing. It will allow the light of Christ to shine even brighter throughout the Church.And isn't this what we need right now?

This "enhancement" of sight will also apply to the intoning of the Exsultet, the Church's great hymn of praise and thanksgiving to our risen Lord and Savior. Without the pews full of the Church Militant, the sound will symbolically carry farther, alerting the world to the ultimate message of the Good News:  "He is not here. He is Risen." Is this also not a message we need to hear?

The Light of the World shining brighter because of the darkness enveloping us right now. The Word made Flesh made more audible because of the silence which has fallen upon us right now. This is noble simplicity at its finest. This is the worship done in spirit and truth.

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

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