Monday, 1 April 2013

The Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is my favourite liturgy of the year. The dark church, despite being a church, definitely has an air of death and dismay about it, considering how well lit it usually is. This contrasts beautifully with the candle-lit church of the service of light; not as bright as the electrical lighting of course, but the fact that the candlelight doesn't reach the depths of the church adds to the sense of Christ in a world which does not yet wholly believe, and emphasises the missionary work of the Church at large, both at home and abroad.

The intonation of 'Lumen Christi' never fails to stir a deep feeling of joy within me, even if I am (as this year) still outside of the church building. I remember being younger and the choir singing 'the light of Christ, has come into the world'; this remains one of my favourite snippets of Church music.

The Exultet was sung by a layperson, in the long form. This is another wonderful piece of writing and music that must be listened to in its entirety if one is to fully appreciate its beauty. It was during the Exultet that I noticed something I've never seen before, but which seems incredibly appropriate - the cold weather has been clinging on here in Birmingham and there were a good number of people holding the plastic covers around their lit candle as one might hold a cup of hot chocolate on a winter's night. The light of Christ which they had just received was literally providing them with a basic, physical necessity - warmth. I pray that as this physical need was being met, everyone present had some recognition of the spiritual need that was met when Christ rose from the dead.

The highlight of the vigil for me was our parish priest leading the Litany of the Saints. I don't think I've ever been to a mass where this was sung, but it was truly inspiring. I have heard it sung before but singing it myself has made me go looking online for nice versions. The only improvement would have been if it was in Latin. My current favourite online version is here:

All the best.

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