The Easter Vigil Part Two: Symbolism in the Celebration


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The Easter Vigil Part Two: Symbolism in the Celebration

The Easter Vigil Part Two: Symbolism in the Celebration

Symbols stand for something else. They are used to teach something, or to remind us of something. The various elements of the Vigil Mass, indeed, any Mass are rich with symbolism. I’ve already discussed a few in the first part. There are several others. Two of the first things we should notice once the Liturgy starts is that the Gloria and the Alleluias are back. We didn’t have them during the forty day dry desert experience of the Lenten season. Another is the ringing of bells. Bells make a joyful sound, and they are not used during Lent. In some local churches we not only hear bells during the Consecration, but also they may be rung during the singing of the Gloria. Liturgical colors are also symbolic, in the Easter Season they are white, the color of resurrection.

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There are some other, minor symbols during the Mass, but in my opinion, the most powerful symbol is demonstrated only during the Vigil: The blessing of the Baptismal Font.

In Part One, I explained that the Paschal, or Easter Candle represents Christ. The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Font is the womb of the Church. During the prayers of blessing for the Font, the Paschal Candle is plunged into the water of the Font three times. This represents Christ, the Bridegroom fertilizing the Womb of the Church. And just as any fertile womb is created to do, children come forth. In this case, the children are those who were just baptized at the Vigil Celebration. It is left for the parents, godparents, and us, the sisters and brothers of Christ to nurture ahose newly re-born into Christ, helping them to grow in faith, and to become ever closer to Jesus.The blessing ceremony is obviously and deliberately phallic, teaching a powerful lesson about the importance of being born again as Scripture says, in water and the Spirit.

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I hope that each of you who have read these two essays on the Vigil Mass will be able to attend this year. Notice the symbols, history, and lessons the Church teaches us at this, the highest, most Holy Celebration of the Liturgical Year. And with great joy at what you have witnessed, may you repeat with sincere feeling that ancient Easter Greeting of the Church:

“Christ is risen, Alleluia!” And the response: He is risen, indeed, Alleluia!”


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86 shares, 67 points