After getting the Easter fire started up about 45 minutes before our Vigil began (I like huge Easter Fires) I turned round about and took this picture of brilliantly exploding Forsythia rising to the occasion in the middle of the night right next to the our tiny church. They’re a good replacement for the corpse flowers of yesterday.
It is a time of great joy. Christ Jesus, Mary Immaculate’s dearest Son, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, is risen from the dead! A most blessed Easter to you all.
At the Easter Vigil, I had the privilege to sing the Exsultet in Latin. On this Easter day, I have the privilege to sing the Easter sequence, Victimae Paschali laudes, also in Latin, at both Masses (and then throughout the octave).
|Victimae paschali laudes
Agnus redemit oves:
Mors et vita duello
Dic nobis Maria,
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere: tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
|Let Christians offer sacrificial
praises to the paschal victim.
The lamb has redeemed the sheep:
Death and life contended
Tell us, Mary, what did
“I saw the tomb of the living Christ
The angelic witnesses, the
“Christ my hope is arisen;
We know Christ is truly risen from the dead!To us, victorious King, have mercy!
Sometimes it’s also good to take note of what Jesus saved us from, such as the despair and frustration screamingly evident in “O Fortuna” of Carl Orff. That was used, of course, in The Exorcist, which I saw at 14 years old on a school overnight trip.
Here’s the deal: Jesus, in rising from the dead, utterly changed our ways of hopelessness, should we choose, in His grace, to follow Him. He did this not with the worry and fear-mongering and hopelessness and the violence of the world, but with His goodness and kindness.
And that is precisely the reason why even if someone should rise from the dead, that will not be enough to make people believe (see Luke 16:31), that is, if they are not already following Moses and the prophets. If they go out of their way to reject God’s law written on our hearts (Romans 2:15), they will be too obtuse, too fearful, too self-referential, too self-congratulatory to take note of the evident implications of someone rising from the dead. They simply do not want love for others to be within their field of comprehension.
For them, everything is abstract. Everything is a mind game. Everything is just another occasion to escape further into their own little self-protected worlds.
The way to break through all that is to make it personal. For instance, it’s not about going to Mass after twenty years of being away, and skulking in the back of the Church, not feeling like one really belongs because one knows one shouldn’t be going to Holy Communion. It’s about going to Confession and then going to Mass and Holy Communion, making it personal.
And then comes the challenge (you knew it had to come) of giving some flowers to the Immaculate Conception, you know, Jesus’ mom, because it’s the right thing to do during the Octave of Easter after her hell-week of Holy Week. This makes things super personal. It’s makes us little kids eager to put a smile on mom’s face. It really is far-reaching, as far as bridging two universes, going from the mind-game thing of O Fortuna to that which is ever so personal in meeting up with the risen Jesus. Living in His presence, keeping His commandments, speaks loudly of His resurrection, for it is by His living love alone that we might be able to do that.
Anyway, today is, I think, a good day for about the best interpretation of the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s Messiah that I’ve ever heard. It’s from Andre Rieu’s “Live From Radio City Music Hall” in New York City 2004, with the Johann Strauss Orchestra and the Harlem Gospel Choir.
Brisk pace. Well done. It makes me want to ghost direct, as did my dad, especially when his favorite piece was played over his vacuum tube FM radio: die Fledermaus.
A bat? On Easter morning? Hey! It’s O.K. My hermitage, not far from my parish, was (is) in Transylvania County! ;-) I think I have too much fun. Happy Easter.