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By María G. Covarrubias

The Easter Vigil liturgy, pinnacle of the Triduum, is filled with beautiful and meaningful rituals, symbols of the Risen Christ as New Life and Light.

A most beautiful moment of this liturgy is the singing of the Exsultet or Paschal proclamation that follows the lighting of the fire and is proclaimed as the community of the faithful holds lighted candles. The Exsultet is a hymn in praise which symbolizes the light of Christ coming into the world and announces the joy of Easter, the joy of heaven, of earth, of the Church, of the Christian community gathered; the joy that comes from Christ’s victory over the darkness of death and sin.

During this proclamation of the Risen Christ as the Light of the world, the community present listens attentively as this exaltation of Christ’s victory over death is followed by the proclamation of the Word of God that proclaims the salvation history beginning with Genesis until Christ’s resurrection.

Among the community we find the “Elect” a group of adults, youth and children who have journeyed together, accompanied by their catechists, inquiring, discerning, breaking open and sharing on the Word of God with the intention to enter the Catholic church by receiving the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation).

Usually, there is a great anticipation for this liturgy, as the “Elect” go through the final period of purification and illumination which provides a more intense preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation. For most if not all, experiencing each sacrament brings joy, excitement and even tears.

Following the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, these new Catholics (called neophytes) continue with their preparation to continue learning how to integrate their new faith into their lives. The Directory for Catechesis emphasizes this as a period of mystagogy (which means interpretation of mystery) characterized by a deeper experience of the mysteries of the faith and by incorporation into the life of the community.

There is a song called “Christ in me arise” by Trevor Thomson that exemplifies the beautiful implications of the Risen Christ for the neophytes and the faithful community. This song expresses the transformation that the Risen Christ can do with us, in us and through us! Let us read slowly the lyrics of the verse to get the sense of mystery and life giving that Christ Risen brings to all of us who believe.

 Christ in me arise and dispel all the darkness.
 Christ in me arise with your power and your strength.
 Christ in me pour out your blessing and healing.
 Christ in me arise and I shall rise with you.

This reflection on the interior-exterior metamorphosis Christ offers to each of us brings to memory the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 13:14 that invites us to “Clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” St. Paul begins by saying that we who were baptized were given a new life in Christ – clothed with him from the moment of our baptism. Through no effort of our own, by the virtue of the sacrament itself, we are made into a new creation.

María G. Covarrubias is the Director of the Department of Ministry of Educational Services.