Wednesday 14th November 2018

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Easter And The End Of The World

April 13, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES MONTI

From the early days of the Church onward into the Middle Ages, there existed a popular tradition among the faithful that imparted to the solemn liturgy of the Easter Vigil an incomparable splendor, creating an overwhelming sense of eager anticipation. For it was believed that when Christ came again to judge the living and the dead He would come during the Easter Vigil.
Early Christians especially were captivated by the thought that there would eventually come an Easter Vigil like no other — that just as Holy Mother Church was donning her festal attire to celebrate the Resurrection, unveiling anew the splendors of her sanctuary in the blazing light of the Paschal candle, the tapers of the faithful and the candles of the altar, her Divine Bridegroom would suddenly arrive in untold glory to take her and all the faithful by the hand to the eternal marriage feast of Heaven.
This belief concerning the Second Coming of Christ is first mentioned by the ecclesiastical writer Lactantius Firmianus (+320), who describes the vigil as a night of watching for “the coming of our God and King” (Lactantius Firmianus, Divinarum institutionum, book 7, chapter 19, in Samuel Brandt and George Laubmann, editors, L. Caeli Firmiani Lactanti: Opera omnia: Pars I: Divinae Institutiones et Epitome divinarum institutionum, CSEL 19, Vienna, F. Tempsky, 1890, p. 645).
A late ninth-century pontifical from northern France (the so-called Pontifical of Poitiers) speaks of the belief that Christ would come at midnight during the Easter Vigil as an “apostolic tradition,” adding that the clergy and the faithful in Jerusalem took this possibility quite seriously each time they attended the vigil (text in Aldo Martini, editor, Il cosiddetto Pontificale di Poitiers, REDSMF 14, Rome, Casa Editrice Herder, 1979, p. 219).
Indeed, there are certain aspects of the Easter Vigil liturgy that suggest such a concept. The candles in the hands of the faithful bear an unmistakable resemblance to the lamps of the wise virgins in Christ’s parable concerning His Second Coming wherein He arrives as the Bridegroom at midnight (Matt. 25:1-13), just as the vigil was celebrated in the dead of night.
By her presentation of a whole series of readings tracing the events of salvation history from the beginning of the world, the Church seems to be inviting Christ to come and write the final chapter of the epic of our redemption, the invitation we find on the very last page of the Bible: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come’” (Rev. 22:17). The white garments of those newly baptized at the Easter Vigil resemble the vision presented in the Book of Revelation of a vast multitude from every tribe and nation arrayed in white, holding palm branches as we do on Palm Sunday, who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9-10,13-14).
In the Latin text of the ancient hymn of the Paschal candle, the Exultet, we encounter twice in its opening lines the word “fulgor,” the Latin term for lightning, bringing to mind our Lord’s prophecy likening His Second Coming to the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other, from east to west (Matt. 24:27). In the current English text of the Exultet, one of these two instances of “fulgor” is translated accordingly, speaking of the Church being “arrayed with the lightning of his glory” (The Roman Missal, English Translation According to the Third Typical Edition, 2011).
But over and above these symbolic associations, the night of Easter and the Day of Judgment are theologically linked, for it is precisely because of what took place on the first Easter night, the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, that on the last day our bodies will likewise be raised from the dead. And significantly it is in the midst of His Passion, standing before the high priest Caiaphas, that our Lord boldly proclaims His triumphant Second Coming “on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64).
At the very outset of the Easter Vigil there is a moment when the association with the end of time is most powerfully experienced. In the course of solemnly preparing the Paschal candle before it is lit from the bonfire, the celebrant inscribes the wax with a cross and the Greek letters Alpha and Omega, saying as he does so, “Christ yesterday and today / the Beginning and the End / the Alpha and the Omega” (The Roman Missal . . . 2011).
It is in the Book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, a book all about the end of time, that Christ identifies Himself as “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6; also 1:8, 22:13).
In a twelfth-century antiphonary of the Augustinian monastery of Klosterneuburg (Salzburg, Austria), and in many other medieval office books compiled afterward, we find an antiphon for Easter Sunday and the Easter season which likewise evokes this identification of Christ: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, and the Morning Star; I am the Key of David, alleluia.”
The account of the Crossing of the Red Sea from the Book of Exodus (Exodus 14:15-15:1), which is considered one of the most important readings of the Easter Vigil, wherein we see God Himself going into battle against the Egyptians, foreshadowing the holy battle of Christ on Good Friday, likewise anticipates the battle scenes prophesied in the Book of Revelation that will ultimately lead to Christ’s final victory over His enemies at the end of the world:
“. . . They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14); “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 20:16).
It is evident from the earlier-mentioned association between the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Easter Vigil that this Paschal liturgy also has a very definite nuptial dimension. This comes to the fore with the fourth reading of the vigil (in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite), from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 54:5-14), which speaks of God as the loving “husband” of His people.
Here again, we can see a parallel with the end of time, for in speaking of the coming of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1) the Book of Revelation overflows with marriage imagery, with the new Jerusalem described as “the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. 21:9), likened to “a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2), and “clothed with fine linen, bright and pure” (Rev. 19:8).
In view of all this, couples preparing for the Sacrament of Matrimony should be instructed concerning the nuptial imagery in the Book of Revelation and in the Easter Vigil liturgy so that they may perceive their reception of the sacrament as a living image of “the marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7).
For centuries, especially from the late fifteenth century onward, the dramatic custom of suddenly unveiling the high altar in all its Easter finery by the withdrawal or dropping of a veil or curtain concealing it at the intoning of the Gloria, accompanied by a burst of pealing church bells and music, seems also an anticipation of the day when the Risen Christ will show Himself in all His unutterable majesty and splendor to the entire world on the Day of Judgment.

Our Own Good Friday

Of course, no one knows when the Lord will come again, but it is entirely possible that He could do so on some future Easter night. The remembrance of this beautiful idea can deepen our understanding of the Easter season, and act as a counterbalance to the many things that could virtually extinguish the light of Easter in our souls.
For our joy in celebrating Easter is sobered and checked by the realization that although Christ has already risen and sits in glory at His Father’s right hand, our fate still hangs in the balance.
Those of us in this present life have yet to face the Good Friday of our own deaths. And even as we celebrate Easter, our hearts remain heavy with concerns for those we love, concerns for those who are ill, and for those who are away from God. There is likewise the grief of being separated from our loved ones who have already passed from this world.
Yet if in our participation in the Sacred Liturgy of Easter we can think ahead with hope to the day when all these sorrows shall be behind us, when the risen Christ will at last wipe away every tear (Rev. 21:4), we will find a way to rejoice despite the very real darkness in our present lives.
Reflection upon the beautiful early Christian idea that Christ might come during the Easter Vigil serves to remind us that sooner or later He shall indeed come. By thinking thus we will find in the spiritual and sensory splendors of the Church’s Easter liturgy a foreshadowing of the unimaginable glory of Christ’s Second Coming “on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64), with the Easter Vigil, in a sense, serving as a “dress rehearsal” for that very real day yet to come.
So it is that amid the night shadows of earth’s sorrows, as we spend our lives keeping watch with Christ, let us anticipate with joy that dawn when the long night of time will give way to the eternal day of Christ our Light.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Having watched the first session of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting, and that fact that the Pope has ordered them not vote on any action items, I have to ask, what is the point of this meeting? What is the point of National Bishops' Conferences?

One of my #prolife colleagues talked to a mom outside of an #Abortion facility the other day; at one point she asked, “My baby has a heartbeat?“ She chose life. The simple facts about the development of the #unborn turn people around. The abortion industry hides all these facts.

Load More...

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Youth Synod Archbishop apologizes to young Catholics for sex abuse, ‘unbeautiful liturgies’

ROME, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, has issued an extensive mea culpa at the Vatican Youth Synod for all the ways in which the hierarchy and members of the Church have failed young people — whether…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a brief note to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals to hold bishops accountable for their failures after the reve

Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 12 November 2018 [Multimedia]   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet the full complement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I offer cordial welcome to the new Members and I am grateful to the former President, Professor Werner Arber for his gracious words of introduction, while I pray that Professor Joachim von…Continue Reading

Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

BALTIMORE – The first gathering of the nation’s Catholic bishops since a summer wave of anger and recrimination over clergy sex abuse in the American church opened Monday with a stunning announcement: The prelates would not vote on a series of new accountability measures – and it was the Vatican who ordered them to hold off.

Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading

US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development continues to fund pro-abortion, pro-LGBT groups

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Grants from the U.S. Bishops’ domestic anti-poverty arm are again benefitting groups associated with support for abortion and open homosexuality, new reports from the Lepanto Institute say. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) encourages Catholics to support its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which it says helps those on the margins. Yet in the last several years, roughly half a million dollars, much of which…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that his natural political instincts are superior to those of any other current figure. As campaign 2018 entered its final week, Trump seized upon and elevated the single issue that most energizes his populist base and most convulses our media elite. Warning of…Continue Reading

Shawnee State . . . Professors Must Speak Contrary To Their Beliefs Or Be Punished

CINCINNATI — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Shawnee State University officials Monday, November 5 on behalf of a professor that the university punished because he declined a male student’s demand to be referred to as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns (“Miss,” “she,” etc.). Although philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether…Continue Reading

Trump Administration… Announces New Conscience Exemptions For HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — The Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor released two updated rules concerning conscience protections for organizations and individuals in relation to the HHS contraception mandate. Under the new rules, organizations and individuals objecting to the controversial mandate’s provisions on either religious or moral grounds will be exempt. According…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Humility — Foundation Of The Spiritual Life

By DON FIER As has been demonstrated over the past two weeks, temperance is the cardinal virtue that “moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts, and provides balance in the use of created goods” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 383). Although most often associated with man’s innate appetitive drives to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading