Abbot Patrick’s Homily for the Easter Vigil

Easter Sunday Vigil, 2012

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. That is all we know and all we need to know about our faith as Christians. Our real and only future is through Him, with Him, and in Him. He is our great trail blazer. Without Him our life is a bubble in the ocean, the sparkle of a dragonfly in the night. It may light up the sky for a second but in the larger scheme of things it is unremarkable. There is another dimension the other side of the Milky Way; it is that place beyond the waterfall which we can reach once we have taken the plunge of death and held out our hand to Him. We will be carried through to Resurrection. So many of those we love are there before us and they are with us now around this altar. This other dimension is not a place or a time like the one we inhabit at this moment, as we stand here together lifting our darkness with the mellow glow of candlelight. Beyond us is a blaze of eternal light; not beyond, in the sense of miles away, but beyond in the twinkling of an eye, the revolving door that separates us from those who have left us and passed into eternity and infinity.

What we celebrate here this night is the certainty that God came down among us; came to walk this earth as a human being, not for any other reason than to be with us, to show us his love and to receive our love in return. He only remained with us for a short thirty three years because we couldn’t take any more of his transparent goodness, his strong, probing, searching, questioning, penetrating, all-pervading, love. It was a light too bright for us to bear. We had to quench it in order to survive. We thought we had finally put out that light but just as we were coming back from the killing fields a new kind of light dawned on our planet and this is the light we celebrate through this paschal candle.

It is the light of resurrection, the light of divine love which has risen like the morning star to greet us. He has sent his love back to us in another way.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant  –  the poet advises:

The Truth must dazzle gradually,

Or each of us be blind—

He had to tell his love in a different more diluted and more distant way; easier for us to accommodate, more in accordance with our kind of time and space and our particular kind of heartbeat.

Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise.

What we are witnessing here this evening, some of us for maybe the sixtieth time or more, is the Truth’s superb surprise repeated over the years, like the sudden appearance of dandelions, forsythia, gorse, and primroses spreading a halo of yellow across the green of our roadways and our countryside, making us aware of the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

The crude oil of His love, which bursts forth everywhere at Springtime throughout the world, has been refined into the more absorbable elements of the Eucharist. His body and blood made available as bread and wine, to our body and blood so that we too can rise from the dead with him. Let us taste and see that the Lord is good.

Christos Anesti (“Χριστός ἀνέστη!”), Christ is risen, Alleluia, Alleluia.