The night of Easter

On the occasion of Holy Week, we propose a mediation by Msgr. Massimo Camisasca on the Easter Vigil.

Camisasca Copia Dimensioni Grandi
A moment from the Easter Vigil liturgy in the House of Formation of the Fraternity of St. Charles.

The liturgy of the night of Easter is the most ancient in the Church: born in the synagogue, it then slowly developed until it took on, in the VII century, its current form. We can live it according to its two registers: word and sign. If we listen to the texts that are proclaimed or prayer, a pedagogy of words helps us to enter into the unity of the history of salvation and therefore of our own personal history. But the Church also educates us through a “pedagogy of signs.”

At the beginning of the celebration, we find the church engulfed in darkness: an invitation to remember our condition as sinners. Only God can tear us from the darkness. At the beginning of the world, He created the light. It was the dawn, the prophecy of a full light that would unfold on the morning of the Resurrection. To light the candles, which will illuminate, as they spread, the entire world, a new fire is lit. One single flame is spread to the candles of the faithful and, in the end, it fills the Temple with all of its warmth. The light of Christ needs to be participated in to be truly received, enjoyed and loved.

But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him (Rm 6:8-9). And so why in so many moments of our life does it seem to us like everything is falling into darkness, into difficulty, into delusion?

Faith is a journey, an itinerary that must continually pass through and overcome the experience of incredulity. When the women, who are the first to go to the tomb, run to the apostles to tell them the words of the angel, they find that they do not believe. And yet they had heard the prophecy of the resurrection in the words of Christ Himself. When Peter and John run in turn to the tomb and see what the women had seen before them, they finally begin to believe. For as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead (Jn 20:9).

Every day, we are called to rediscover the signs of the resurrection of Jesus that works generating in men faith, hope, and charity. Wherever these virtues come to maturation, which is the work of God and God alone, the person is saved from the corruption of death. A path of communion with God and with their fellow man begins, a path of peace and joy that is the anticipated beginning of the future life.

The Resurrection of Jesus is not an illusion; its historical truthfulness is documented by the men and by the women who live of Him and for Him.

The light of Christ needs to be participated in to be truly received, enjoyed and loved

The light of Easter is magnificently expressed in the Pasqual Preconium, the Exultet. […] It is a text that should be meditated upon at length, such is its density and poetry. “I would renounce all of my music – Mozart is said to have said – to have just composed the Exultet.

“Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven […] Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, […] let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples”: the love of God defeated death, the light of Christ has won over the darkness and His Resurrection gives us new life, which does not pass and does not end.

“This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.” These are the same words as Psalm 139: Even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee (Psalm 139:12). These words proclaim what happens in our life if we follow the light of the risen Christ. Our crimes are canceled out, our sins washed in the blood of the Lamb, to us who have fallen into sin is given back a pure soul, just like it was when it came from the hand of God. The Resurrection of Christ sweeps away the hates that separate men and that generate division and war in the world, give peace of communion and breaks the hardness of the powerful: “O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human!”.

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