It is difficult to find hope when we see the darkness of the world and the challenges facing humanity, but the Easter Vigil reminds us that Jesus has conquered the darkness.
The entire liturgical year culminates in the celebration of the Easter Vigil, an ancient liturgy that takes place on the night before Easter Sunday. In the early Church, it was initially an all-night vigil and didn’t end until the first rays of dawn when the celebration of Mass began.
For those early Christians, it was a way to welcome the rising of the Son of God, who dispels the darkness of night.
Our current liturgy can still remind us of this fundamental truth and give us hope in the darkness we see all around us.
The Easter Vigil begins with a church shrouded in darkness as a fire is lighted outside the church and the Easter candle is lit from it. The candle represents Jesus Christ, the light of the world. The deacon or priest processes into the dark church and stops three times, proclaiming “Christ, our Light!” By the time he reaches the sanctuary the entire church is blazing with candles that were lit from the Easter candle.
Pope Benedict XVI further explains the symbolism of this action.
“First there is the fire that becomes light. As the procession makes its way through the church, shrouded in the darkness of the night, the light of the Paschal Candle becomes a wave of lights, and it speaks to us of Christ as the true morning star that never sets – the Risen Lord in whom light has conquered darkness.”
Each month Pope Francis marks out for us various challenges facing humanity and at times, it can seem like our prayers do nothing. Yet, the Easter Vigil reminds us that Jesus is the one who can dispel the darkness we see and through him, his light will dawn upon the world.
There is still hope and despite how black the darkness gets, God will reign victorious.
Philip Kosloski is the Digital Content Manager for the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (USA) and is also a spirituality writer for Aleteia.org and has been featured on such places as The Huffington Post, Crisis Magazine, The Catholic Herald, Catholic Exchange, National Catholic Register and EWTN Radio.