03 April 2010

From the Great Vigil: This is the Night

Bless, we implore You, this new flame and those who keep this joyful Easter festival that, burning with desire for life with You, we may be found rightly prepared to share in the Feast of Light which has no end... May the light of Christ, who is risen in glory from the dead, scatter all the darkness of our hearts and minds... The light of Christ: Thanks be to God!... Rejoice now, all you heavenly choirs of angels; rejoice now all creation; sound forth, trumpet of salvation and proclaim the triumph of our King... know that the ancient darkness has been forever banished... let all this house of God ring out with rejoicing...This is the night when You brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt and led them through the Red Sea on dry ground. This is the night when all who believe in Christ are delivered from bondage to sin and are restored to life and immortality. This is the night when Christ, the Life, arose from the dead. The seal of the grave is broken and the morning of the new creation breaks forth out of night. Oh, how wonderful and beyond all telling is Your mercy toward us, O God, that to redeem a slave You gave Your Son... That through this saving flood all sin in us, which has been inherited from Adam and which we ourselves have committed since, would be drowned and die. Grant that we be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church... The almighty God and Father of our Lord JEsus Christ, who has given you the new birth of water and of the Spirit and has forgiven you all your sins, strengthen you with His grace to life + everlasting... That we may daily die and rise with You in our Baptism and walk in the freedom of Your forgiveness... That we may set our minds on things above and not on earthly things, serving others as we have been served by You... That we may dwell with You forever in the creation as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, together with all saints... Preserve in us the spirit of adoption which You have given so that, made alive in body and soul, we may serve You purely... Therefore with Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, and with all the witnesses of the resurrection, with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying: Holy, holy, holy!

1 comment:

Past Elder said...

You know, I served a bunch of these "Easter Vigils", mostly in Latin, from just after Pius XII revised the Holy Week services in 1955 until the first years of the liturgical Kristallnacht called the novus ordo.

It's quite a service, a good show indeed. But it restores nothing. The Easter vigil was a practice of the early church where they held a predawn vigil to culminate in the day at dawn, presumably the hour Jesus rose, complete with the baptism of catechumens at that time.

A service that begins and ends the night before just ain't it, and restores a later practice to an earlier form of it, not some recovery of the "early church" to which this as a foreign as when the "vigil" was held during the day. A vigil that starts and ends before that for which it is a vigil. Oy, no matter how venerable historically.

If we're not going to "recover" holding a predawn vigil to culminate with day, at least go during the day! Not rocket science, but I suppose an age which celebrates the "little Easter" of every Sunday morning on Saturday night and calls it good may find it so.

But if you want, I can help with the "new fire", getting it going in darkness in the back of the church like I had X-ray eyes, and chant that first "Lumen Christi" from memory! Of course, if I'm feeling cantankerous, or maybe if PTM is there, I may fire up an Olympic torch!