Tonight, all over the world Christians will celebrate the Easter Vigil.  They will light the Easter fire and with candles in hand, we will process in darkness into the Church where we will hear the story of our salvation sung in what is known as the Exsultet.  The Paschal candle will be shining brightly reminding us that we do not have to live in darkness and emptiness.  Just like the tomb where Jesus lay is emptied, we too will be filled with the Light that is our Risen Lord.

The signs and wonders of the Easter Vigil are so powerful!  They tell us of God’s great love for us, his people, his Beloved.  Our once empty selves can be filled with purpose, we can see the glory of Jesus and understand more fully the vision of Resurrection life.

I love, when at the Gloria, the bells ring throughout the song, proclaiming loudly that Christ is Risen from the dead, that death has no more power over him, or us.   At that moment I feel like I truly understand what is meant when we say: “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our cry.”  Somehow the human spirit is broken open then and perhaps for the first time we see what is possible in the impossible.  Good Friday has given way to Easter, to new life, to new possibilities—this is the life breath of our faith. 

These are just some of the signs given us in the beautiful Easter Vigil liturgy.  They can speak to us on a deeper level and affect the way we view our lives.  It reminds me of a quote I once read and kept.  It comes from Holy Cross Fr. John Dunne.  In one of his talks he said:

“Things are meant;

there are signs;

listen to your heart;

there is a way.”

It reminds me to always be attentive to events and encounters in my life, to be alert to those touchstones along my journey, be they Easter Vigil signs and wonders—fire, water, baptism, story—or  simply some bright yellow tulips on my path or a small bunny on the top step of the porch greeting my cat. 

Whether you hear the bells tonight at the Easter Vigil or tomorrow at Easter morning, pay attention!  They ring out a glorious message for Christians everywhere—Christ died for us and rose from the dead and gave us all new life.  We are God’s Beloved now…and nothing can ever change that!  So celebrate that new life with an open and grateful heart!    Happy Easter!

Barbara McMullen, CDP

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