Sunday, April 20, 2014


Lumen Christi gloriosae resurgentes
Dissipit tenebras cordis et mentes.
[May the light of Christ gloriously rising scatter the darkness of hearts and minds.]

This is, of course, an open comments thread, and I look forward to hearing your Easter reflections (and images & music) in due course. As for me, from the richness of the Easter liturgy, I was particularly struck this year by its emphasis on the effects of Easter in our own minds and hearts.

In lieu of a longer post on Easter, I will link to, which has made available a detailed article by Dom Jerome Gassner on The Exsultet (history, structure, effects). Some highlights:
"Immediately following the seven proclamations concerning the night of Resurrection and concerning the cause and motives of Redemption, seven effects of the supernatural illumination by the risen Christ, symbolized by the light of the candle, are briefly enumerated: the holiness of this night 1) banishes crime, 2) washes away sin, 3) restores innocence to those who have fallen, 4) gives gladness to those who are sad, 5) drives forth hate, 6) brings peace, and 7) humbles the haughty. So far the Preface. . . .
"The Exsultet is a most solemn sacramental. . . . . It is a sacramental preparation and a disposing for a happy celebration of Easter, which is to climax in the Easter Eucharist, the resurrection of the souls — with Christ. . . . 
"The actual graces produced by the Exsultet are acts of faith in the Resurrection of Christ, and in its re-enactment in the Easter celebration, proclaimed and described in such fervent, glowing colors; acts, moreover, of expectant hope, of reverence and admiration for the Easter mysteries; acts of gratitude for the charity and mercy of God, for so great a Sacrifice, for so great a glory merited for us by the Redeemer (cf. John 17).
"The light of the Easter candle "blots out crime, washes away sins, restores innocence," by forgiving venial sins and temporal punishment for sins. It "banishes enmities, produces concord, gives joy to the sorrowful." The prayer for "humbling the haughty" (literally: bring low the power of empires) refers not merely to the haughtiness of civil authorities, but also and primarily to the empire of death, the reign of the prince of this world and his hosts. 
"The Exsultet has also an abundance of temporal effects, partly implied already in the seven effects enumerated, partly suggested in the great intercession, e.g. a quiet and peaceful Eastertime, free from disturbances of all kind, so that Christians may in complete tranquillity enjoy the holy season. When the Church asks God in so solemn a manner on behalf of the faithful that He may "ever rule and guide and keep them" in His "devoted protection," then this special protection of their ways and lives, of their health and happiness is assured. The Exsultet is both wish and prayer, congratulation and impetration of a blessed, glorious, joyful, jubilant Easter." (emphasis mine)
I plan to reread the Exsultet in short bits throughout Paschaltide, so I can take it in more fully. Clearly, my own Easter greeting to you for happiness and peace this season can only be a faint echo of the fulsome prayer Holy Mother Church has already offered for all of us: that the Lord "quietate temporum concessa in his pascalibus gaudiis, assidua protectione, regere, gubernara, et conservare digeris." [grant peaceful times during this Paschal Festival, and vouchsafe to rule, govern, and keep us with His constant protection]. We pray in a special way for the church and civil authorities that the Lord "dirige cogitationes eorum ad justitiam et pacem." [direct their thoughts in justice and peace].

So, in sum, God grant you much peace and joy this Paschal season. May the light of the triumphantly Risen Christ illumine our minds and hearts.


  1. We are all thankful for the bilingual blessings and enthusiastic proclamation of the Easter message by our most learned editor! An Easter Season without disturbances of any kind is a gift given to few of us, but this should not prevent us from constantly remembering the purposes of this season, to contemplate the light of Christ. Some of us went to Easter vigil at the Mission and Easter Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in Camarillo. In both sermons there was also emphasis on the light of Easter in our own hearts as individuals as well as the world. I think the theme of darkness and light has been one which we have discussed in our sodality.

    For me, particularly as a Convert, the Exsultet is one of the most spiritually moving prayers and I look forward to hearing it sung every year at Easter Vigil. I would definitely like to join you in your meditation of it in Easter Season. As I may have mentioned in the Bible Study that many of us are a part of, I am always particularly struck by the section which, using a vague translation, states that the sin of Adam was necessary for us to receive so great a redeemer. I also enjoy the references to nature and to all of the various blessings given to us through the Resurrection, and, as mentioned, the prayers for love, peace and justice among other virtues.

    Now, more selections from the Messiah. The underrated "For Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell", and the more well-known "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth."

  2. I have some questions about the upcoming Sodality mass. May I bring cats to the mass? I have two cats named Charles Taylor and Alexander Pope. They like to fight each other; hopefully this will not happen during the mass but I cannot garuntee it. I would also like to know if any of you can recommend an astrologer who can do horoscopes for my cats. Maybe I'll write to the astrophysics department at the university because astrophysics is very similar to astrology, but I'm not sure if anyone there knows about cat astrology. Right now I have the Christian radio station on and my kitties are dancing to "Your Grace Is Enough." Will there be any praise and worship music at this mass?

    1. Dear Troll,
      N.B. Admins of this site reserve the right to delete comments for any reason, and to block users whose comments are deemed contrary to the aims of the Sodality. You have been warned.
      However, as an indulgent favor, the present editor will consider your first query at some length. (Note that resources for the other queries, howsoever spurious, can be found for free online.) The following opinions are those of the present editor in a personal capacity, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Sodality or any official entities of the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.
      1) The problem of pets at Mass has been addressed elsewhere, for instance Dr. Edward Peters's canon law blog here:
      2) Pet owners often speak wistfully (and foolishly) of their pets as being nearly human. Yet those are manifestly not human: they are not made in the image and likeness of God, do not possess an immortal soul and the faculties thereof, and do not have the responsibilities and privileges given by God to mankind. [Incidentally, even outside the Christian tradition, pagan writers have sought to curb this strange disordered affection for pets: "On seeing certain wealthy foreigners in Rome carrying puppies and young monkeys about in their bosoms and fondling them, Caesar [Augustus] asked, we are told, if the women in their country did not bear children, thus in right princely fashion rebuking those who squander on animals that proneness to love and loving affection which is ours by nature, and which is due only to our fellow-men." --Plutarch, Life of Pericles]
      3) For the purpose of this conversation, even if we were to overlook the human-feline divide, these fighting creatures would have no place at the Holy Sacrifice. See Christ's words in Matthew 5:24.
      4) Did you know that cats are only mentioned once in the Bible? And that instance is not at all favorable: the are listed among other filth and corruption in the temples of the Babylonian idols. See the 6th chapter of Baruch.
      5) Since you seem to have chosen the very name of your cat to draw the ire of the present editor, please note that the poet Mr. Pope did not have a cat (though he did have a dog, named Bounce) and that he did not write about cats. The poet Thomas Gray, however, did write an "Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.", which ends with a moral admonition.
      I pray that you may receive the grace you need now to set aside the distractions of this life and seek that which is eternal. I also remind you (and any other readers who have followed the prolix reply to its conclusion) that the main purpose of this thread was to reflect further on the Easter mysteries.
      Yours in the light of the risen Christ,