Ave Maria Meditations
What is resurrection? It does not form part of our experience, and so the message often remains to some degree beyond our understanding … The Church tries to help us understand it by expressing this mysterious event in the language of symbols in which we can somehow contemplate this astonishing event.
First of all, there is light … Where there is light, life is born, chaos can be transformed into cosmos. The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light. With the resurrection, the Lord’s day enters the nights of history … This Light alone – Jesus Christ – is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light. He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos … Let us pray to the Lord that the fragile flame of the candle he has lit in us, the delicate light of his word and his love amid the confusions of this age, will not be extinguished in us, but will become ever stronger and brighter, so that we, with him, can be people of the day, bright stars lighting up our time.
The second symbol of the Easter Vigil – the night of baptism – is water … Christ descended into the sea, into the waters of death, as Israel did into the Red Sea. Having risen from death, he gives us life. This means that baptism is not only a cleansing, but a new birth: with Christ we, as it were, descend into the sea of death, so as to rise up again as new creatures. The other way in which we encounter water is in the form of the fresh spring that gives life, or the great river from which life comes forth … In baptism, the Lord makes us not only persons of light, but also sources from which living water bursts forth. We all know people like that, who leave us somehow refreshed and renewed; people who are like a fountain of fresh spring water … Thanks be to God, we find them constantly even in our daily lives: people who are like a spring … Let us ask the Lord, who has given us the grace of baptism, for the gift always to be sources of pure, fresh water, bubbling up from the fountain of his truth and his love!
The third great symbol of the Easter Vigil is … the singing of the new song – the alleluia. What happens when a person is touched by the light of the resurrection, and thus comes into contact with Life itself, with Truth and Love? He cannot merely speak about it. Speech is no longer adequate. He has to sing … Year after year, we sing it as our song, because we too, through God’s power, have been drawn forth from the water and liberated for true life. While, strictly speaking, she ought to be sinking, the Church sings the song of thanksgiving of the saved … Once Christ is risen, the gravitational pull of love is stronger than that of hatred; the force of gravity of life is stronger than that of death … The Lord’s saving hand holds us up, and thus we can already sing the song of the saved, the new song of the risen ones: Alleluia!
Pope Benedict XVI