The Exsultet (cont)

The Exsultet (cont)
Here is the second part of the Exsultet, or Easter Proclamation, in the revised translation, this time from the Sorter Form which is the one usually used. It contains eighty percent of the text of the longer version.
The Exsultet is arguably the best piece of poetry in our liturgical books, employing rich imagery to tell of the greatest events of our salvation story. But it is long and challenging, and needs to be proclaimed well if it is to be prayed well.
The revised translation retains startling, seemingly contradictory expressions such as “happy fault” and “necessary sin”. The role of bees in producing the wax paschal candle, omitted in the previous Missal, has been reintroduced. More ancient texts of the prayer went to great lengths to extol the contribution of these industrious insects.
It is impossible to take everything in with a prayer as long as this. Some words and images will touch you more than others. What speaks to you this year may not be what touches you when it is proclaimed again at Easter 2013.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!
O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!
The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners.
O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.
Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Elizabeth Harrington