Here we are at the Easter vigil playing our hearts out at the front of the church in the string section, my eldest daughter and I along with 2 other musicians. Looking across the pews in front of me are faces, ordinary faces of ordinary people, gathered to witness the extraordinary. As they listen to the words of the sacred scriptures and respond to the prayers, to the cantors singing in their language and smelling the incense as it wafts past them, they await. The water is blessed and then sprinkled across them in the pews; my daughter winces as she gets hit at point blank range with holy water in the face. I remembered when we played hand bells in the parish across the city on Easter Vigil nights and needing to hide our bells behind us as the priest walked by. With the palm branch full of holy water showering us mercilessly, my daughter whispers to me, “Hide your instrument!” just before the priest walked by. What a blessing being next to her on such a special night, I beam and looking over at her younger sister, I feel overwhelmed with thanksgiving for their presence in my life. My knight and I are so blessed with our three charges, one of which have moved out, married his sweetheart and are happily married nearly 4 years now. The first time I attended an Easter Vigil, Marshall, our son was an infant and I mistakenly went with an aunt-in-law, a lady I really enjoyed being around. When we returned to my in-law’s home, Marshall was deliriously hungry and being tossed and turned by one relative to another in effort to console the breastfed baby…..to no avail. Angry and totally undone, I grabbed my infant and retreated to the back bedroom to nurse him, vowing to never attend another Easter Vigil!!! That was then, this is now and I look forward to this amazing service and ritual.
Someone on Facebook brought up a question that they have wondered about since childhood, but never asked it before. She asked what we thought about the time during Christ’s burial and His resurrection. Did he take a nap after such a harrowing passion, or did he get right up and handle those in purgatory and then just hang around for a day. Another thought was that He just walked around in the tomb for a time, and then went about His business of salvation. Really, this is a wonder? I don’t know why so many people have to have answers, definitive answers to everything. During the three days of rebuilding the temple, what did Jesus do? Does having the answer make something more clear? Does knowing what He did make us believe in Him more? Does having the answer give us more understanding to Jesus? I don’t know, really, I don’t; He did what He did for a reason and whether I know what He did and for what reason is not mandatory knowledge. God told us to listen to Him, to behold Him, to be pleased with Him as God Himself is. Does that mean anything else?
During the Easter Vigil, we await the resurrection, we pray, we sing praise, we wait. We wait for the extraordinary of things that happen in our midst, keeping our midst clear and steady whether we know it or not. We exist due to God and His plan, Jesus is part of that plan and part of Him who created us, loves us, and WANTS us. Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that what we are asked to hold on to? Honestly, I don’t want to be ugly or uncharitable, but we certainly can find things to be concerned with that have no measure of worth! Praise God for the resurrection!! Praise God for His only begotten Son and His passion!! Praise God for loving and WANTING us! As the vigil progresses through the night, I am in awe of the rituals that the night contains. The Pascal candle and the wounds symbolized by the markings and the nails pressed into it. The music, the readings, the prayers, and this year playing my violin alongside my children, so inspiring!
Well, I know I have babbled enough about this, but I am forever changed as a result of mine attending and participating in the Easter vigil Mass.