Friday, April 02, 2004


P. It is indeed right and salutary that we should with full devotion of heart and mind and voice praise the invisible God, the Father Almighty, and his only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ; who paid for us the debt of Adam to the eternal Father, and who by his precious blood redeemed us from the bondage to ancient sin.

For this indeed is the Paschal Feast in which the true Lamb is slain, by whose blood the doorposts of the faithful are made holy. This is the night in which, in ancient times, you delivered our forebears, the children of Israel, from the land of Egypt; and led them, dry-shod, through the Red Sea. This, indeed, is the night in which the darkness of sin has been purged away by the rising brightness. This is the night in which all who believe in Christ are rescued from evil and the gloom of sin, are renewed in grace, and are restored to holiness. This is the night in which, breaking the chains of death, Christ arises from hell in triumph. For it would have profited us nothing to be born had we not also been redeemed.

Oh, how wonderful the condescension of your loving kindness! Oh, how inestimable the goodness of your love, that to redeem a slave you delivered up your Son! O necessary sin of Adam that is wiped away by the death of Christ! O happy fault that was worthy to have so great a Redeemer! O night truly blessed which alone was worthy to know the time and the hour wherein Christ arose again from hell!

This is the night of which it is written: "and the night is as clear as the day"; and, "then shall my night be turned into day." The holiness of this night puts to flight the deeds of wickedness; washes away sin; restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn; casts out hate; brings peace; and humbles earthly pride.

Therefore, in this night of grace, receive, O holy Father, this evening sacrifice of praise, which the Church lays before you in the solemn offering of the candle. We sing the glories of this pillar of fire, the brightness of which is not diminished even when its light is divided and borrowed. For it is fed by the melting wax which the bees, your servants, have made for the substance of this candle. O night truly blessed in which heaven and earth are joined -- things human and things divine.

We, therefore, pray to you, O Lord, that this candle, burning to the honor of your name, will continue to vanquish the darkness of this night and be mingled with the lights of heaven. May he who is the Morning Star find it burning -- that Morning Star which never sets, that Morning Star which, rising again from the grave, faithfully sheds light on all the human race.

And we pray, O Lord, rule, govern, and preserve with your continual protection your whole Church, giving us peace in this time of our Paschal rejoicing; through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C. Amen

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