Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ Has Risen! Alleluia!

Today we experienced a glorious Easter morning! We were blessed to be Godparents to a beautiful, baby boy - Ignatius. What heightened the spiritual experience was the Easter Mass and baptism in the Latin rite. Everything is saturated in symbols and deep meaning, particularly so, in the Latin rite.

Never is there a better time to bring new life into the life of Christ than at Eastertime, they run parallel together. New life of Easter morn. New life in the saving waters of baptism.

It was beautiful in particular, to listen to the antiphon chant at the beginning of Mass. Normally we it would be the Asperges but in Eastertime it is the Vidi Aquam.

Vidi Aquam - The Choir of Etheldredas

Father Leonard M Puech explains how the words in this chant are connected to baptism:

"Eastertide, we sing a beautiful antiphon, the Vidi aquam: "I saw water coming out from the right side of the temple, alleluia! And all those, whom this water reached, were saved and will say: Alleluia, alleluia!" Then followed a verse from Ps. 117: "Praise the Lord for he is good, for eternal is he mercy." It contained a twofold allusion to Ezekiel and to Saint John and applied their texts to baptism.

Ezekiel was a man of great visions. He describes one: he saw a stream coming out from the right side of the future Temple, seen in a series of visions, and it kept growing until it became a river, which it was impossible to cross, teeming with fish, making every kind of fruit tree grow on its banks, bearing abundant fruit in all seasons and flowing into the sea and making its water wholesome (Ez.17,1-2). For his part Saint John insists (Jo. 19,34-35), that he saw blood and water coming out from the side of Jesus, when one of the soldiers pierced it with a lance.

This water, coming out from the right side of the Temple, naturally suggested the water coming out from the right side of Jesus, who said of his body:"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again" (Jo.2,19). This water from the side of Jesus was for many of the Fathers a symbol of baptism, figured also by the all-curing and life-giving water described by Ezekiel, since it purifies from sin and bestows grace, that we may bear abundant fruit spiritually (Jo.15,8). This was the meaning of the beautiful Vidi aquam: the grace of baptism comes from the Passion and death of Jesus, it purifies us and makes us spiritually fruitful."

Here area some of the beautiful parts of the baptism that I had never witnessed before (I have quoted only the English translation):

The Exsufflation

The priest then breathes 3 times on the child in the form of a Cross, recalling the Spirit (breath, wind, "ruach") of God.

P: Go forth from him, unclean spirit, and give place to the Holy Ghost, the Parclete.

The Imposition of Salt

Now the priest puts a little blessed salt in the child's mouth. Salt is the symbol of that wisdom which gives a relish for the sweetness of divine nourishment; preserves, by the teaching of the Gospel, from the corruption of sin, and prevents evil passions from growing in men's souls.

P: Ignatius, receive this salt learning from it how to relish what is right and good. May it make your waty easy to eternal life.

(It continues on, which I am not quoting here.)

The Exorcism

The priest makes the Sign of the Cross over the child three times and says:

P: I adjure thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father + and of the Son, + and of the Holy + Ghost, to depart and remain far from this servant of God, Ignatius. He commands thee now, accursed one, Who walked upon the sea, and stretched out His reight hand to Peter about to sink. Therefore, accursed spirit, acknowledge thy sentence, and give honour to the living and true God: give honour to Jesus Christ His Son, and to the Holy Ghost; and begone from this servant of God, Ignatius, for God and our Lord Jesus Christ has called him to His holy grace and benediction and to the font of Baptism.

All this takes place before entering the Church!

There was another prayer that was new to me:

The Solemn Exorcism

I adjure thee, every unclean spirit, in the name of God the Father + Almighty, in the name of Jesus + Christ, His Son, our Lord and Judge, and in the power of the Holy + Ghost, to be gone from this creature of God Ignatius, whom our Lord in His goodness has called to His holy tempole, that he himself may become a temple of the living God, and that the Holy Ghost may dwell therein. Through the same Christ our Lord, who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.


It was such a blessed experience to hold this precious child at one of the most important moments in his life, it is grace I will be pondering upon in the days to come.

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter Season!

Christ has Risen! Alleluia!

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