On Faith: Rejoice! And a Happy Easter!Time is money, we say. But time is also much more than money. There is, after all, sacred time. Every culture celebrates sacred time in its religious rituals.
By: From Fr. Michael Lyons, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
Time is money, we say. But time is also much more than money. There is, after all, sacred time. Every culture celebrates sacred time in its religious rituals.
As you read this, we are in the three most sacred days of the year. What we otherwise call the Sacred Triduum, begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on the afternoon of Easter Sunday. We’re not forgetting of course Good Friday and the remembrance of the Suffering and Death of the Lord. The other two remembrances hinge on this! But we do not remain there, as we look forward to the glorification of Christ in the Resurrection.
Of all of the liturgies in the Catholic Tradition, I look forward most of all to the Easter Vigil with its Service of Light followed by nine readings, seven from the Old Testament and two from the New, interspersed with seven psalms. Preceding these there is the chanting of the Exultet, a song of rejoicing, while standing by the new light of the Paschal Candle, with only background light from the hand held candles of parishioners.
This too is why the Easter Vigil is celebrated no earlier than sunset. During the liturgy I feel I am one with every generation of Christians who took time out to celebrate the gift of redemption. The liturgy is also a time outside linear time as we are gathered in the kairos, which is God’s time again. To paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot: time present and time past, are both present in time future!
And so as the Exultet in part proclaims: It is truly right and just, with ardent love of mind and heart and with devoted service of our voice, to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his only begotten Son, who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father, and, pouring out his own Blood, wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.
These then are the feasts of Passover, in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb, whose blood anoints the door posts of believers. This is the night, when you led our forebears, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea. This is the night that with a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin. This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to his holy ones.
This is the night when Christ broke the prison bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld. Our birth would have been no gain, had we not been redeemed. O wonder of your humble care for us! O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away our Son. O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
This is the night of which it is written: the night shall be as bright as day, dazzling in the night for me, and full of gladness. O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human! Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen!
Rejoice! And a happy Easter!
Fr. Michael Lyons is Pastor of Holy Spirit Two Harbors and St.Mary’s SilverBay. REJOICE! REJOICE!