Spirituality of the Readings
Night’s dark soul awakens. Tiny chirps of life tug at its ear. Just the smallest candlefull of light peeks through its shadows. Dawn tiptoes in.
It is the balance-point of all time.
Friday tempted us to guilt—about his wounds, thinking that our sins caused them. About his arms, still marked with shrill hurts. And maybe that is why he can hold us, enfold us so well. Maybe the wounds know somehow the shape of our small selves.
The cantor at Easter Vigil sings these words:
O certe necessarium Adae peccatum
quod Christi morte deletum est!
O felix culpa,
quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!*
Oh truly necessary sin of Adam,
blotted out by the death of Christ!
O blessed fault, which has merited such a Redeemer,
so great a Redeemer.
Isn’t the cantor singing in praise of the sin of Adam and Eve? “O necessary fault”? Christ’s death has taken their sin away. Is it right to rejoice about sin being “necessary”? Original sin does not really seem like a good or blessed event. Nor our selfish penchant for misdeed.
Yet it is true. Without such a sin, such a Savior would never have had reason to come. Now Christ’s wounded arms can sweep us up, comfort and absolve and hold us. We are blessed beyond words.
Sins always carry in their revolt the pledge of forgiveness. Night always carries in its midst the promise of light.
O vere beata nox,
in qua terrenis caelestia,
humanis divina iunguntur!
O truly blessed night,
in whom earth is wedded to heaven,
and humans to God!
Several rows of the people have their candles lit. Over there, a lot more. Soon half the church awakens to Christ’s gentle light. And, quickly, the rest. Morning has eased their faces into daylight, into the soft, humble glow.
Jesus became the night. Jesus is the light.
We can see him for who he has been all along. The Christ of God. The essence of love. The modest flame who softly lights the world.
John Foley, SJ
**From Saint Louis University