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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Vigil

Last night we attended the Easter Vigil. Let me just say, I did not think it would be possible unless accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth from my little girls. Oh my, God is good! I offered many fervent prayers to their Guardian Angels to please help them. My dear little girls behavior was just short of saintly even if, as Anna explained, "I took a little nap, I was very tired."

We attended because my nephew was Confirmed last night. This young man only came into the Church through Baptism a few years ago. Its been a crash course in his faith. And the truth is, he has struggled growing up, to mature, to learn patience. Many of the circumstances of his young life were beyond his control. I cannot tell you how happy he was last night. I was so blessed to see how, almost before I noticed, that indeed the boy was giving way to the man. And he knew it. He was solemn and serious as Father laid his hands on him. I had made him a one decade rosary, a "tenner" as a gift. I was pleased with it, simple and elegant, just right for a young man. I explained to him it is like a travel rosary. Just before we left the house to head over to the Church, he got my attention to show me he had it with him, it would be in his pocket when he got confirmed.

And the Mass? It just does not get any better than the beauty of the Easter Vigil. For me, it wrapped up in memories of Deacon Prien joyfully proclaiming the Easter Exsultet acapella in the darkened Church lit only be the newly lit Paschal candle. Indeed, even the very flame is blessed and made holy by Christ's triumph over death. Is there a more perfect prayer for Christians? It makes my heart soar just thinking about the beauty, hope and truth in its words. Stored forever in wonderful memories is Mr. Popek telling us the story of Pharaoh and his chariots and charioteers. Every year it was like hearing the story of God's saving power in the desert for the first time. And then the Gloria and the bells and suddenly...light! What a feast for the senses! We share in the baptism of new Christians brought into the family God by the newly blessed waters. We see them empowered even more by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. We see them come in even fuller communion as they receive Our Lord into their hearts as they share in the Eucharist for the first time. Christ, our Paschal Lamb, surely knows how to prepare a feast for His people He has freed from sin and death.

Christ is Risen!
Indeed, Christ is Risen!


juli said...

i actually get teary eyed at the Easter Vigil, particularly when the lights come on. though it will never be the same without Deacon Prien, the chariots and charioteers as told by Mr. Popek, and the St. B's choir's Gloria. those are the EXACT memories of the Easter Vigil that i tell andres about EVERY year.

Elizabeth Foss said...

And I remember Mr. Popek too! Thanks for the memory...