On Saturday of last week, I did what Catholics around the world did: I attended the Easter Vigil. My parish, Corpus Christi, gathered at the vigil’s outset. In one of year’s most beautiful liturgies, the entire congregation (we had about 100 that night) lights candles, passing the flame one to another, and processes into the dark Church as the deacon sings, “Christ, our light!” And we respond, “Thanks be to God!” A long ceremony follows, as we recount the story of salvation, and baptize the catechumens (new Christians, who have been in training for some months) into union with Christ.
The vigil is the most important night of the Church’s year, even more so than Christmas. The latter celebrates the incarnation of God among us (no small matter); Easter tell us what God did with his presence. That’s why Easter is composed of three parts, what we call the Triduum: Holy Thursday (celebration of the Last Supper, where Jesus gave us the Eucharist); Good Friday (where we unite with the Passion and death of Jesus); and Easter (where we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, and join in it).
Here’s what I considered this year, something I may write up someday for St. Anthony Messenger: God feeds us on Holy Thursday, giving us the nourishment we will need to endure the suffering of all of our Good Fridays, until we come the glory of the Resurrection. I know that’s not “liturgically correct,” but doesn’t that happen in each Christian’s life, over and over again?
“Light of Christ!”
“Thanks be to God!”