That phrase is repeated several times in the Exsultet, a hymn of praise to God as we bless the Paschal Candle. “This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!”
If we have done Lent properly, it has taken a long time to get to this night. At least it would feel that way. This week alone would feel like a few weeks with all the intense services and all the time necessary to get things done. There is decorating and take down for one day (Palm Sunday), decorating and take down for another day (Holy Thursday), decorating and take down for still another day, (Good Friday) and after all of that is said and done, decorating for the Vigil Mass of Easter and the Masses of Easter Day.
Phew, I’m tired thinking about all of that and I don’t even do the decorating and take downs! 🙂 However, I do have a role to play in all of these days and it can get very intense, especially when other parish duties call such as anointing people in the hospital or in hospice or having funerals for those who have died. It may not sound like much to someone on the outside; but, just one funeral in the midst of Holy Week throws all sorts of things off kilter. Everyone adjusts, don’t get me wrong. It is just that the adjustment, in and of itself, is another source of the stresses of the week.
At this time of the week, I am exhausted, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I often feel as if I have nothing left to give. I look at the fact that I still have to get up tomorrow and celebrate the morning Masses of Easter. And yet, I would have it no other way because This is the night! Somehow, when we are celebrating the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, our fatigue fades and the celebration of the resurrection fills us with joy.
I hope and pray that your Lenten trek was a good one. I hope that you find yourself closer to God this year than you were last Easter. I hope that you have seen other ways and times that God is in your life. And, for any of you who have recently lost a loved one, I hope that the celebration of the resurrection brings you comfort and hope knowing that your loved one is living the resurrection in heaven!
This is the night!
He is risen as He said!