Archive for April, 2013

Practicing resurrection

 

The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, Trappist, Ky.

Second Sunday of Easter, April 7, 2013

 

It’s late night on the eve of Easter. Trappist monks in their white habits gather round a stack of wood while one starts a fire by striking stones and blowing on the kindling until it ignites.

Soon the fire is roaring and the flames leap into the night sky.

While the monks and their guests stand silently witnessing, two monks light the Paschal candle, from which the candles of the worshippers are then lit.

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness from our hearts and minds,” one monk said.

Quietly, the the faithful file into the darkened church, where the Mass gets under way with Scripture readings and chanted Psalms. The readings begin with Genesis — “God said, ‘Let there be light’ — and continue through the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

In his homily, the preacher reminds us that we are to be bearers of the light of Christ in a world that is often dark, and in renewing our baptismal vows, we renounce the powers of darkness and celebrate the Great Thanksgiving.

The Great Easter Vigil at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani near New Haven was the most beautiful worship service I’ve ever been part of since my baptism and confirmation eight years ago. It lasted from 10:30 Saturday evening until about 1 in the morning on Easter Sunday, and I wish it could have been longer.

As one of the many non-Catholics attending the service, I couldn’t take the sacraments, but a few hours later, at Apostles Anglican Church in Lexington, I did eat the bread and drink the wine, and I know the risen Lord was present in those elements and in that act of grace.

They give me sustenance to live in the hope of the resurrection and the promise of a newer world.

 

 

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