Living the Zeal of Benedict

a blog by Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB

Rejoice heavenly spirits!
Sing choirs of angels!
Exult all creation around God.
Jesus Christ, our Savior is risen!

The Exultet has roots in the first centuries of Christianity.
In form, it is a “thanksgiving,” with similarities to the Eucharistic prayer.
It is a call to exult, to rejoice, to sing!

Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth,
in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your God.

The Exultet calls to mind the greatness of God in the paschal mystery.
Through the chanted melody we remember the history of salvation
and meditate on the effects of that salvation in the life of every believer.

Christ has conquered!
Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!
Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the joyous song of all God’s people!

The text of the Exultet invites heaven, earth and the people of God
to rejoice in this “most blessed of all nights.”
It recalls Israel’s exodus,
then proclaims a new exodus as Christians everywhere
move from slavery to freedom,
and all people of God share in the rising of Christ.

This is the night!
This is the night! This is the night!
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

With great rejoicing the Paschal Candle is offered,
“a pillar of fire, mingled with the lights of heaven,”
where we meet Christ, the Morning Star,
whose resurrection dispels darkness forever.

Accept this Easter Candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!

Christ is risen! Christ is truly risen!

Christ did not enter into a holy place made by hands,
but entered heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
It was through Christ's blood that eternal redemption was obtained
and we were cleansed from lifeless deeds,
so that we could worship the living God.
Christ was offered up once to take away the sin of many
and will appear a second time,
not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly wait.

(Hebrews 9:24, 14, 28)

Let us go, therefore, with confidence into the presence of God
that we may obtain mercy and find favor in time of need.
For every representative taken from among us
is appointed to act on our behalf in the things that relate to God.
They offer gifts and sacrifices for sin
and have compassion on those who are ignorant and err,
because they also are encompassed with weakness.
So too, Christ did not seek glory but was chosen by God who said,
"You are my Beloved; this day have I begotten you."
God also said, "You are the Anointed One according to the order of Melchizedek."
Though anointed, Jesus learned obedience through suffering,
became the source of eternal salvation,
and was appointed by God as our representative according to the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 4:16-5:10)

Ever-creating God, we witness your love in the expression of Benedictine life. As we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Benedict, may we be ever-mindful of Benedictine influence in past ages, and may our continued commitment give hope to oppressed peoples who seek peace and justice. We pray in praise of your holy name now and forever. Amen.

O God, you wondrously inspired Joseph and Benedict to show us the way to life by their faithfulness to the Spirit. Grant that through their intercession we may persevere. We pray in praise of your holy name now and forever. Amen.