“Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.”
From the Exsultet: The Proclamation of Easter
This year I spent the Easter Vigil with the faith community at St. Vincent’s Parish in Albany, New York. It was quite a vigil, not just in length (about 2 hours 40 minutes), but it was a dramatic unfolding of the mystery and reality of Easter. The rich symbolism of the vigil struck me in new ways which made me reflect, so much, on the faith I have followed all of my life.
The words of the Exsultet (above) were felt within me, with such power. The words became a mighty prayer and I had a deep sense of being at one with the people of God, the Church. Here we were, at night, carrying our candles, keeping vigil in faith, waiting for what we know to be true: Christ is Risen!
In my work, especially working with adults in faith formation and teaching religious studies, I am very aware of the many struggles people have with the Church, but during this vigil, on hearing these words, I felt the power of the people of God and the strength of their faith and witness. According to these words, the ‘mighty voices of the peoples’ can shake the holy building with JOY!
Everyone gathered that evening to celebrate, and to be in communion with those who believe in the same Christ and the power of God working to bring about new life with tremendous force and LIGHT. As I sat at one with the people, surrounded by the communion of saints depicted on the windows and icons in the building, and looking up to the stars, I experienced in a real way the connectedness of the cosmos; the whole universe caught up in the mystery and redemption of God.
This Easter season, let us reflect on the light of Christ which continues to move us into greater oneness with each other, with the earth, and indeed the whole universe!
Victoria L. Battell, RSM