Fire lit. Bodies gather around the flames. The Easter candle is prepared. Anticipation mounts.
“May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds,” speaks the priest.
The crowd parts ways as the souls anticipating reception into the Church pass between us. We have made walls of prayer and hope. Then, we follow those whom the Lord has beckoned.
Switch. Switch. Switch. Switch.
Darkness covers the sanctuary. Those in white and those who will soon wear the baptismal garments, light the candles that each one of us holds in hand. We have filled the church with the light of Christ. Deo Gratias.
I breathe in the smell of incense, and I am aware that my stomach doesn’t turn over; I don’t feel nauseous. Little feet and tiny fists don’t move within my belly. My skin isn’t glowing in quite the same way, and the heat of the white robe is absent from my body. My back isn’t aching and my feet aren’t swollen. I stand, renewing my baptismal promises, and I am thirty pounds lighter. My soul remembers that one year ago I was the one lighting the Easter Vigil candles, receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, and being anointed with sweet smelling oil.
I cross myself as the water flicks my face, and I renounce Satan and all his empty promises.
I am here to welcome my new brothers and sisters into the Catholic Church. I am here to say that He has risen. I am here to remember my journey, and to declare Christ our light. Lumen Christi.
I watch those in white receive the body and blood, and joy laps over my eyes. Tears of life. I follow my new family members, taste the body and the blood, and my eyes are bright with amen and amen. My hands are folded in prayer, and I kneel in thanksgiving to the God of the universe.
Hope. Hope. Hope. Hope.
Prayers carry to the heavens that one day I will see each and every one of my loved ones wearing white on an Easter Vigil night.
The season of Lent is over, and Easter has arrived. Easter is not a mere day, but it is an entire season. Let the celebration begin.