This post is also available in: Français
Pour la Conservation du Dépôt de la Foi!
Pour que le Règne de Dieu arrive!
Let us Celebrate the Glorious Resurrection of our Redeemer
The paschal candle
near the statue
of Our Lady of Graces
in the Chapel
of Jesus Crucified,
at the Monastery of the Apostles.
Each year, the Church renews in its liturgy the remembrance of the events
of the Saviour’s life, in which we are invited to take part. On the feast
of Easter, it celebrates the anniversary of the triumph of Jesus overcoming
death. This is the central event of history, and everything in the life of
Christ converges towards it; it is also the culminating point of the life
of the Church in its Liturgical Cycle. 1
The Resurrection of the Saviour is the preeminent proof of His divinity,
for He must be God in order to be able, as Jesus said, tolay down His life and take it up again. 2 Belief in
the Resurrection of Jesus is therefore the very basis of the Christian
is also its definitive consecration, for the Pasch of Christ, His passage
from death to life, marks the victory that all of humanity won in Jesus
over the world, the flesh and the devil. 4
The Easter Vigil is the loftiest summit of the entire Christian liturgy.
Followed with attention and piety, it lays up great spiritual riches in our
hearts, with which our soul may be nourished throughout the liturgical
This holy Vigil is the vigil of remembrance. It calls to mind the exodus
from Egypt, when the Hebrews were delivered by the passage of the
exterminating Angel after they had marked the doors of their houses with
the blood of a lamb. They were then able to leave for the Promised Land,
crossing dryshod through the Red Sea, while the Egyptians who pursued them
were swallowed up in the waters.
But above all, the Easter Vigil reminds us of the passage of Our Lord Jesus
Christ in this world, from His earthly life to His glorious life, which is
the true Pasch. Consequently, it calls to mind our own deliverance,
included in principle in the deliverance of Jesus, because He is our Head
and we are the members of His Body.
Everything is symbolic in this Vigil. The Church, which blesses all the
objects it employs for divine worship, implores the blessing of God upon
the new fire which it will draw from a stone, and which it will use to
light the Paschal Candle, to recall that Jesus Christ, Light of the world,
overcame death and the stone of the tomb.
— The words of the blessing, spoken over the Paschal Candle, clearly show
that this Candle is the figure of the risen Saviour. “Christ, yesterday and
today, beginning and end, to whom belong time and eternity; to Him be glory
and honor for ever and ever.”
— The five grains of incense set into the wax symbolize the glorious wounds
which remained visible on the hands, feet and side of the Risen Christ.
— The lighted Paschal Candle represents the Saviourenlightening every man who comes into the world, 5 and the
darkness that surrounds us is the image of the darkness of sin with which
the world was covered before the coming of the Redeemer. The celebrant
says, “May the light of Christ, rising glorious, dispel the darkness of
heart and mind.”
— The procession of the Light recalls the Hebrews’ walk towards the
Promised Land, and above all the Christian people’s walk towards Heaven
behind Jesus our Head.
— The celebrants and the children light their candles from the flame of the
Paschal Candle, to symbolize the light of Christ which is shared, and which
comes to us by means of the Hierarchy of the Holy Church.
— The lighted candles of the faithful and the light that streams throughout
the church remind us of our own spiritual resurrection and inform us that
we are light in the Lord. 6
Finally, at the conclusion of the procession, the deacon invites us to
praise the Lord and rejoice in our salvation, symbolized by the passage of
the Hebrews through the Red Sea and fulfilled by Christ, who passes from
the tomb where He reposed to the glory of the Resurrection.
The readings, related to baptism which releases us from sin, recall to us
the greatness of our dignity as children of God, the confidence we ought to
have in His Word, the rewards of Christians faithful to their sacred
promises, and the chastisements reserved for unfaithful Christians.
The invocation of the Saints disposes us to renew with fervor the holy vows
of our baptism, and the Church concludes by imploring God to bestow His
universal blessing upon all of His Creation, upon the Christian people and
all of humanity.
For us, therefore, the Easter Vigil and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is
more than a remembrance. It is precisely the pledge of Jesus’ glorious
return, just as He Himself solemnly announced to His enemies during His
Holy Passion, saying,
One day you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the
Power of God and coming upon the clouds of Heaven,
and as the Angels prophesied on the day of His Ascension. 8
Following our Saviour’s example, may our moral resurrection be definitive.
May the communion of the Body and Blood of the true Paschal Lamb, immolated
for our salvation, sustain us in our determination to fully live the
teachings of the Holy Church, in such a way as to win the eternal reward of
Heaven where, according to the holy Apostle,we shall ever be with the Lord. 9
. “As the memorial of the Passion and the Resurrection of Jesus, the
Mass is like the mustard seed from which the entire Catholic liturgy
arises.” Dom Cabrol
. Cf. St. John 10:18.
. St. Paul, I Corinthians 15:14 – If Christ has not risen, vain is your faith.
. Dom Gaspar Lefebvre.
. Cf. St. John 1:9.
. St. Paul, Ephesians 5:8.
. St. Mark 14:62.
. Cf. Acts of the Apostles 1:11.
. St. Paul, I Thessalonians 4:17.
This is the grace that we ask for, through the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sources: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, Missel quotidien et vespéral (Apostolat Liturgique: Bruges, 1951), p.ྭ788; Manuel de la Semaine Sainte (Editions Magnificat: Mont-Tremblant QC, 1992), pp. 76-77.