May 5, 2009

Easter Vigil!

I am a Catholic

It seems simultaneously a long time ago and yet also so recently that I first said those words. I'm just going to add it to the mounting pile of paradoxes I find in the Christian Faith.

This Easter was a microcosm of that - it began theologically almost two thousand years ago; seasonally at Christmas; liturgically on Thursday; and yet concentrated and culminated at Easter Vigil last night - which seemed like a blink of the eye that takes forever. Time has a way of losing its meaning with God, I think.

Anyway, I'll share the experience again and (maybe) stay away from too much theology. Our RCIA classes continue thru Pentecost, and last time we spent the whole time reflecting on Holy Week and especially on the Vigil. I took a bunch of notes, so this might be a long (couple of) post(s), as there are many detail(s) ...

We started Holy Saturday with a Rite of Preparation at 9am, including Ephphatha and presentation, recitation, and profession of The Creed. It set a good tone for the day and I mostly rested all day after that. We went to my parents' house so Tiff could do some thing for a baby shower, and I actually got in a good talk with my dad about we, as the Mystical Body of the Church, are faring in our efforts in American culture. He was very positive on it and I think it helped ease any lingering concerns he might have had about the veracity of my faith thru this journey into the Catholic Church.

After more resting at home, Tiffany and I went to Agora for what turned out to be a very pertinent discussion about Pilate. More on that later. Then we headed to St. Benedict as I had to be there early.

I felt under-dressed as I got there with the rest of the RCIA folks. I was the only guy not wearing a tie, and there were only two of us not wearing full suits. But I didn't care too much. We waited in McGuire hall while the rest of the parishioners and guests arrived. The entire sanctuary was dark.

When it was time to start, Fr. Joe lit a flame from which he lit our (elect, catechumens, candidates) candles, and then we proceeded in and lit the candles of the congregation while everyone sings "Christ our Light - Thanks be to God." Very cool. There were prayers and psalms in the candle-light, and then we sang Gloria and Alleluia while the lights of the church were brought up - which was actually very cool and had a very uplifting effect since we do not sing them during Lent.

The Liturgy of the Word was longer than usual - including a few rather long Old Testament passages in addition to the readings from Romans and the Gospel. There were three lectors doing the readings which gave the narration a dynamic pace. Again the effect was great; it really gave the sense of Easter as the culmination of God's long dynamic history of salvation - from Creation to Preservation to Resurrection.

In Fr. Joe's homily he especially thanked our non-Catholic faith communities for helping us get to where we are. That meant a lot to me as I'm still really active in the faith of my family, Agora, and other communities. The other bit of his homily that really stuck out to me was that although, especially in Catholicism, we use and celebrate with many symbols, the best symbol of Christ's resurrection is us - the Body of Christ. I think that really is an Easter message that stretches across all Christian traditions.

I'll need to post more later. It's been way too long already to get even this much up.


+ Alan said...

Congratulations, Luke. I pray your continued journey in Christ within the Catholic Church is deep and rich and full. Very good to hear, as well, that you're still connected to Agora and your siblings in other traditions. Don't lose that, man. Peace to you.

Kairo Neves said...

Hello. I'm a brasilian Catolic, and I'd like invite you to read our blog: We white about liturgy, in portuguese.

Ah... congratulation, your blog are very instructive.

Ecclesia Una, Sancta, Catolica et Apostolica

Kairo Neves said...