Our Lenten journey brings us to the greatest feast day of the whole liturgical year.
We saw the priesthood and Eucharist instituted at Holy Thursday. A glimpse of Easter glory was given us with the singing of the Gloria. The priest responded to Christ’s priestly command to serve by washing the feet of males only (viri). Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was reposed and the altar was stripped.
On Friday the Passion was sung and the Cross kissed. We could receive Communion but we “fasted” from Mass. On “liturgical” Saturday, that is until sundown, we had neither Mass nor Holy Communion, and thus we arrived at the nadir of the year in our preparation for Easter. Suddenly with the Vigil, flowers, instrumental music, and white and gold vestments return. The Church springs back to life like Christ from His tomb.
Remember that at this point, the liturgy begins in darkness.
The priest kindles the fire and prepares the candle. Light spreads through the church from hand to hand.
The deacon sings three times Lumen Christi … The Light of Christ, three times as the sacred ministers process to the sanctuary. The Christ Candle is set in place, incensed, and Exsultet is sung.
The liturgy of the word begins, and after each reading there is a Collect.
The 2002 Missale Romanum presents 11 different prayers. We shall examine the final Collect, which follows the singing of the Gloria and the lighting of the candles on the altar during the ringing of the bells.
FINAL COLLECT (2002MR):
Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem
gloria dominicae resurrectionis illustras,
excita in Ecclesia tua adoptionis spiritum,
ut, corpore et mente renovati,
puram tibi exhibeamus servitutem.
This is adapted from the prayer in the 1962MR situated in the same moment of the Mass. The 1962 prayer was the same as that found in the ancient Gelasian Sacramentary.
O God, who illuminate this most holy night
by the glory of the Lord’s resurrection,
rouse up the spirit of adoption in Your Church,
so that, having been renewed in mind and body,
we may render You our unstained service.
NEW CORRECTED TRANSLATION:
O God, who make this most sacred night radiant
with the glory of the Lord’s Resurrection,
stir up in your Church a spirit of adoption,
so that, renewed in body and mind,
we may render you undivided service.