O Blessed Night!

March 30, 2024

God is a hidden God. He loves to visit us at night. It was on Christmas night that he became incarnate to save us. It's on the night of Holy Thursday that he institutes the Eucharist to be with us every day, and offers his life to the Father. It was on the night of Holy Saturday that, after descending into hell, he rose from the dead to take us with him and anticipate for us the joy of living with him forever. Let's not be afraid of the night! Let's not be afraid of the night of sin, let's not be afraid of the night of faith, let's not be afraid of the night of ignorance, of indifference, let's not be afraid of the night.

"This is the Night that a pillar of fire banished the darkness of sin. This is the night that even now, throughout the whole world, sets Christians apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace and joining them to his holy ones.  Our birth would have been no gain had we not been redeemed. O truly blessed night, worthy alone to know the time and hour when Christ rose from the underworld!  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.  Christ your Son who, coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity."
(from the Exultet, Praise of the Paschal Candle)

This night of vigil in honor of the Lord opens with the blessing of the new fire. By its warmth, it communicates divine charity; by its light, it dispels darkness and burns away all that is not yet resurrected in us. We acclaim Christ, the Light of the world, and bear witness to the Resurrection with our lighted candles. The Paschal candle represents the Risen Christ. That's why we walk behind it, carry it solemnly, incense it and sing its praises. As we await the Lord's coming, we listen to his Word: the marvels of salvation history unfold for us, from the Old Testament to the Gospel of the Resurrection, joyfully announced by the long-awaited Alleluia! Through the baptismal liturgy, the Church is glad to welcome new children and give us the opportunity to plunge back into the fountain of baptism, alongside them, to receive the grace of new life. With them, we take our place at the Eucharistic table prepared for us by the Lord's death and resurrection, and enter into the joy of Eastertide.

"Since the dawn of Easter, a new springtime of hope has invaded the world; since that day, our resurrection has already begun, because Easter does not simply indicate a moment in history, but the beginning of a new condition: Jesus rose, not so that his memory might remain alive in the hearts of his disciples, but so that he himself might live in us, and that in him we might already taste the joy of eternal life.
Today the Church prays, invoking Mary, Star of Hope, to guide humanity to the safe harbor of salvation, which is the Heart of Christ, the Paschal Victim, the Lamb who "redeemed the world", the Innocent One who "reconciled us sinners to the Father". To Him, the victorious King, to Him Crucified and Risen, we joyfully cry our
Benedict XVI, April 12, 2009

"Carry this light in your hearts, enlivened by grace; carry it in your eyes, in your smile, in your kind features. And may you accomplish all the good you desire."
St John XXIII, April 3, 1963

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