WDTPRS: Vigil of Easter: stir up in your Church a spirit of adoption

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.

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.

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

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. kelleyb says:

    I am so sad that I will be unable to attend the Holy Vigil tonight.

  2. ShoelessMichael says:

    I just had to share part of a hymn (called a stichera) that was sung tonight at the vespers/Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great:
    “Today hell groans and cries aloud: ‘It had been better for me, had I not accepted Mary’s Son, for He has come to me and destroyed my power; He has shattered the gates of brass, and as God He has raised up the souls that once I held. Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.”

    “Today hell groans and cries aloud: ‘My power has been destroyed. I accepted a mortal man as one of the dead; yet I cannot keep him prisoner, and with Him I shall lose all those over whom I ruled. I held in my power the dead from all ages; but see He is raising them all! Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection”

  3. teomatteo says:

    The zenith of my church participation is uniting my heart/mind to the saints. The litany always leaves me speechless. It is the beautiful.

  4. APX says:

    Tonight’s my first Easter Vigil, which is starting in just over an hour. I don’t think it will be happening in darkness, as it’s still bright as day outside. I have a feeling they forgot to take day-light saivings into consider this year.

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