Oh, my heavens. If you only had any idea how many blog posts have been on my mind to write! I’ve got stories and updates and photos and everything but time. Who’d have thought? I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this is my life now.
“Just wait ’till I get going! ….where was I?”
I’ll get to them. I promise. Now that I have my computer back from a friend’s daughter who doubled my RAM and made me hate my geriatric laptop just a teensy bit less, I’ll get to them. As soon as I find my camera battery charger and charge it so I can upload the photos off it which must be part of these posts. Just that soon.
Anyway! Easter. I have two favorite parts about Easter, and it’s tough to say which is more awesome. They’re interconnected, anyway, and it’s generally the awesomeness of the day that seeps through everything and colors it all wonderful. I never “got” Easter as a big holiday until college, when it was hammered home that EASTER IS THE SINGLE GREATEST FEAST DAY IN THE ENTIRE LITURGICAL YEAR. Amen.
Easter in college started with a solemn, beautiful, almost aching Triduum, three days of services following the Passion of Our Lord that culminated in a dark chapel and an empty Tabernacle, door swung open to reveal the vacancy inside. Every sense of the presence of the Divine was removed or draped in purple cloth, leaving the campus feeling oddly cold. And then, O Best Beloved, after a full day of this complete nothingness, the Easter vigil would begin.
The vigil started at 11pm, with the entire college community standing in the dark and the cold outside the building where the Mass would be held. The priest, vestments flapping in the wind, would begin the Easter chant invoking the Holy Spirit’s blessing on the fire that was about to be lit in a small crosier in the courtyard. From that small fire was lit the great Paschal candle, amidst solemn ceremony and cries of “Lumen Christi!” In a twinkling, tiny fire-lights would suddenly spread through the courtyard as each person lit his own small candle with fire from this Great Fire. Receiving that light from one’s neighbor and then turning to pass it on to another was always one of my favorite parts of this ceremony — the sense of being connected to one another through this life we have all received in Christ was palpable, and I loved the feeling of belonging it gave.
Well, it went on getting better from there. There was the procession of a few hundred people and their flickering candles into a pitch-black church, the gradual increase of lights from overhead as each of the seven Scripture readings, telling the story of salvation history, was pronounced, then the sudden explosion of light, music, bells, and excitement as the Gloria was sung for the first time in 40 days, as all the altar candles were lit and the large bell outside tolled over and over. The whole Mass just continued to unfold in awe-inspiring beauty and joy and the message that Christ has conquered and All is Right With the World.
After the Mass was over (all 2-and-a-half hours of it!), we would *feast* on an enormous brunch made by the Junior class. Yes, this meant we were eating all kinds of rich and sweet goodies at 3am, but when you’re that pumped up on awesomeness, there is no going meekly to bed. When brunch was finally over and everyone felt stuffed to the gills, after we’d all toasted the feast day with the traditional
playing blasting of the Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah (which brought everyone to their feet and — mercifully — drowned out the sound of amateur attempts to sing along), after we’d finally cleaned up and removed all traces of the hours of celebration, we did the only logical thing.
We busted out the sound equipment and danced until the sun came up.
At this point, the remaining stalwarts would stagger out into the graying dawn, face the east, and wait for the sun to peep between the hills. The sun was then greeted with an encore of the Hallelujah Chorus, (with generally less spontaneous contribution from those present), and we would all finally find our way back to our dorms and collapse into bed.
See what I mean? Easter. It. Is. Awesome. Happily, I’m now in a place where, if anything, the beauty of the Easter vigil actually surpasses that of my college years. Notre Dame does “magnificent”, let me tell you.
So! What does one do after an even more spectacular vigil? You guessed it! …one goes to bed like a rational person. Honestly, get some sleep, for heaven’s sake! THEN move on to step two: Easter brunch.
[Coming soon: Step 2. This year’s Easter brunch.]