Noli me tangere by Giotto
Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia! Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!
It is Easter! Christ has triumphed over death!
Here is the Alleluia for the Easter Vigil Mass:
The Exultet, of course, is the unique and preeminent announcement of this great Easter joy:
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 heartand 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.
The history of that prayer: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Exultet
The Introit of the Easter Sunday Mass sums up the joy of this day!
St. Matthew describes the moments of the Resurrection thus, in chapter 28:
"Chapter 28:1 On the night after the sabbath, at the hour when dawn broke on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary came near to contemplate the tomb. 2 And suddenly there was a great trembling of the earth, because an angel of the Lord came to the place, descending from heaven, and rolled away the stone and sat over it; 3 his face shone like lightning, and his garments were white as snow; 4 so that the guards trembled for fear of him, and were like dead men. 5 But the angel said openly to the women, You need not be afraid; I know well that you have come to look for Jesus of Nazareth, the man who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, as he told you. Come and see the place where the Lord was buried.7 You must go in haste, and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead; and now he is going on before you into Galilee, where you shall have sight of him. That is my message to you. 8 Whereupon they left the tomb, in fear and in great rejoicing, and ran to tell the news to his disciples. 9 And while they were on their way, all at once Jesus met them and said, All hail. With that, they came near to him, and clung to his feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid; go and give word to my brethren to remove into Galilee; they shall see me there.
11 They had not finished their journey, when some of the guards reached the city, and told the chief priests of all that befell. 12 These gathered with the elders to take counsel, and offered a rich bribe to the soldiers;13 Let this, they said, be your tale, His disciples came by night and stole him away, while we were asleep.14 If this should come to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him, and see that no harm comes to you.15 The soldiers took the bribe, and did as they were instructed; and this is the tale which has gone abroad among the Jews, to this day. "
For more history and customs of this most glorious day of the Church year, visit these links:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Easter
Fish Eaters: Easter
There is so much more to say and ponder on this high feast -- so we shall do that over the Octave! Easter only begins today!
Live well so as to rise with Him on the last day!