This is a brief excerpt of the Troparia for the Lumen Christi, which we sing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in a plainchant setting by Leo Nestor, every year at the Easter Vigil as the paschal candle is brought into the darkened church. The texts are translations of 2nd-century writings by Melito of Sardis and Clement of Alexandria:
Born as a son, led like a lamb,These remarkable texts lead into the proclamation of the Easter Exultet, the ancient chant that was intoned in the Middle Ages from ornately decorated scrolls. When I hear this music, only then do I know it's Easter.
Sacrificed like a sheep, buried as a man,
He rises from the dead as God,
Being by nature both God and man.
He is the judge of all things:
When he judges, he is law; when he teaches, word;
When he saves, grace; when he begets, father;
When he is begotten, son; when he suffers, lamb;
When he is buried, man; when he rises, God.
Come, then, all you races of humankind, whom sin has saturated,
And receive the forgiveness of sin.
For it is I who am your forgiveness; I, the saving pasch;
I, the lamb, sacrificed for you; I, your purification; I, your life;
I, your resurrection; I, your light; I, your salvation; I, your king!
It is I who bring you to the heights of heaven:
It is I who shall raise you up here on earth.
I will show you the eternal father, I will raise you with my right hand.
Best wishes for joy in the Easter season!
Image at right:
The Risen Christ, detail from the Isenheim Altarpiece (c.1515), by Matthias Grünewald