Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Catholic Defender: Easter Vigil 2012

St. Paul's letter to the Colossians states, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me" (Colossians 1:24-29).

This is one of the holiest nights of the year.

This night, millions of Catechumens and Candidates are received into the Catholic Faith around the world. There will be nearly 100,000 people in the United States alone.

I don't think this will be reported by CNN or MSNBC any time soon, but they are aware of it. They will simply try to ignore this because the Church counters their liberal agenda.

The struggle is between good and evil and the Church is centered and primed for battle. Jesus Christ is victorius as we celebrate his glorious resurrection from the dead.

Churches all over the world were filled at capacity, from Copperas Cove Texas, to Jerusalem, from Rome to Washington D.C. at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Whereever Mass is being said, this is holy ground. Jesus is calling us to a closer relationship to himself through His holy Catholic Church.

How awesome this is to play a roll in this great mission. Jesus told us to go to all the Nations and Baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the first and foremost Command of the Lord. Whenever the Church is on a new frontier, the first concern is meeting the needs of the people.

This is what Mother Teresa of Calcuta's prime purpose was, to reach people with the love of Christ. This is what we are to do in our families, in our communities, and our Nation. This is the heart of liberty, to worship God in freedom and to stand for the holy Faith.

At the Easter Vigil, Father traces a cross on the candle with the words: "Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. All time belongs to him and all the ages. To him be glory and power and through every age and for ever."

Grains of incense are traditionally inserted into the extremities of the cross to represent the wounds of Christ: "By his holy and glorious wounds, may Christ the Lord guard us and protect us."

Father then lights the candle from the new fire, saying: "May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds."

The people process into the darkened church following the deacon as he carries the candle high. The altar servers, Father, the RCIA, and the whole community proceeds into the Church.

The Easter candle becomes a visible pillar of fire leading us into the Promised Land. This symbolism points to the sign of our unity. We are the Body of Christ and Christ is our light.

From the Easter candle, all the people light their candles carrying the flame of light reminding us that we are the Light of world. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14). The Catholic Church proclaims this truth through the liturgy handed down from centuries past. We have a direct commission from Christ himself.

Baptism has always been an important sacrament.

St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, spoke to the Jews who were celebrating Passover. They had arrived from all over the Roman Empire. The Holy Spirit moved people to accept Jesus the crucified through the words of St. Peter.

He said to them, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38,39)

This glorious night echos the journey of the ages from Christ down to today's successors of the Apostles. We will continue this work until the Lord returns at the Parousia.

This past year, I was honored to sponser two people into the Catholic Faith. This is always a joy to see people grow in their faith.

There are many challenges in this life and our faith is such an important help to manage through it. Deepertruth wants to offer prayer and thanksgiving for all who have come home to the Catholic Faith this Easter Vigil.

It is a process, a journey that does not end with the reception of the Sacraments, but it is the beginning. As St. Paul said, "we may present everyone perfect in Christ". That means that the Church gives them the weapons to fight the battle of life with.

If you have been away from the Faith and the Sacraments, please consider taking another look at the faith of your fathers. If you have never been a Catholic, please consider speaking with a local Catholic Parish and speak with the Priest. RCIA will begin for next Easter Vigil soon.

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