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Short Reads > Exultet - Easter Proclamation

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message 1: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1289 comments Mod
We have entered Holy Week, and each year at the Easter Vigil Mass we get to experience one of the greatest highlights of the entire Liturgical Year, the Exultet. It is a long Eucharistic Prayer and Blessing of the Paschal Candle that has its roots deep in Catholic Tradition going back to at least the 4th century. It is of singular beauty.

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
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.
(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle's perfect praises.)
(V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.)
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right and just.
It is truly right and just, with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.
Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.
These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.
This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.
This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.
This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.
This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.
Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!
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.
The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.
But now we know the praises of this pillar,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honor,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.
O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.
Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honor of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Exultet sung

Exultet beautifully sung in Latin

Commentary by Fr. Michael J. Flynn

A “bit” on the history

message 2: by Frances (new)

Frances Richardson | 533 comments Thank you so much, Kerstin.

message 3: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 61 comments Awesome Kerstin. Thank you so much.

message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3579 comments Mod
Allow me to provide a short analysis of the beautiful prayer. Fr. Flynn speaks about the first section. Let’s look at all the sections. I divide the prayer's major sections into six. It is made up of 103 lines, and it might help to follow my mini exegesis if you mark off every tenth line.

The first section is the rejoicing, comprising up through the first twelve lines. We are here to exult, to “shout aloud” our “mighty King’s triumph” over death, over “gloom and darkness.”

The next section, lines twelve through twenty I take to be the central theme of the prayer. We are here to invoke God in His mercy to “pour into me [the deacon or priest performing the ceremony] his light unshadowed” so that he can sing of the “candle’s perfect praises.” It’s quite interesting that what I take to be the central theme is in parentheses.

The third section, by far the longest, stretches from line 21 “(V. The Lord be with you.” through line 54, “had we but been redeemed.” I call this section the Acclamation of Redemption both through the Passover and the Crucifixion. This section is characterized by the rhetorical repetition (called anaphora) of “This is the night.” This is the night when we mystically link back to the Passover, where God’s children were freed from bondage, and back to the Crucifixion, where humanity was freed from the debt of sin, otherwise known as the Redemption.

The fourth section, from line 55, “O wonder of your humble care for us!” through 73, “drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty” explains what the sanctifying power of redemption has done, that is, “destroyed completely” Adam’s sin “by the death of Christ.”

The fifth section, from line 74, “On this, your night of grace, O holy Father” through line 88, “and divine to the human” is the gift offering of the candle to God on this night “when things of heaven are wed to those of earth.” How beautiful.

And finally the last section from line 89, “Therefore, O Lord” through the end is the consecration of the candle, so that as Christ has overcome death, the candle’s light will overcome darkness. The prayer asks to mingle the candle’s light with the lights of heaven.


message 5: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1289 comments Mod
Beautiful, Manny!

There is a version where the choir supports the priest, and I've participated in that before in our old parish. It was quite a privilege and awesome experience to sing this in a dark church lighted only by candles. And I can't read the words without hearing the melody.

The part that always gives me chills is,

"O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!"

I am not so sure the human heart can fully penetrate these words. It puts the mystery before us that God's ways aren't our ways.

message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 360 comments Thank you all for sharing. Easter Vigil is always among my Catholic highlights as a RCIA Catholic. I can still remember the first time I heard this. It is beautiful and does give the chills and reminds me of Shakespeare still. It's poetry month (at least in NC) and while this is a prayer, it also reads as poetry. Happy Easter all!

message 7: by Manny (new)

Manny (virmarl) | 3579 comments Mod
I hope everyone is having a blessed Easter Vigil. I was watching the celebration on EWTN broadcast from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. So beautiful. I just love the Exultet that is prayed on this night. So beautiful. I remembered we had this as a short read. I hope you read it again and listyen to it on YouTube:

Have a blessed Easter tomorrow. He is Risen!

message 8: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 1289 comments Mod
He is risen indeed!

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