As I’ve previously written, there I’ve experienced many facets of Easter.
My personal expression of Easter is best demonstrated in song.
Exultet, the Easter Proclamation is a centuries old prayer telling of God’s love throughout all of history, calling on all creation to give praise for the resurrection.
It’s sung only once a year, during the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.
I’ve been privileged several times to sing Exultet. The first time I was in my twenties.
I was going through some personal struggles. I hadn’t been active in music ministry for a time.
When we met he said he had a request.
“Cathy, it’s the week before Easter and we don’t have anyone to sing the Easter Proclamation. Will you do it?”
I was astonished…and he must have seen this. How would I do this in a week? …was I even worthy?
“I know you can do this…your voice will fill this church…will you come to the Rectory? I’ll walk you through it.”
The following week I was privileged to sing this prayer for the first time. It gave me an important lesson during difficult times. You see, the first word of Exultet is REJOICE!
This is what we are called to do.
The last time I sang Exultet I once again faced struggles.
My special needs daughter had a number of medical issues. I had other personal concerns, too. In all, it was a difficult, exhausting time.
I rehearsed but was very distracted. How would I focus?
I contemplated one of its many lines.
Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God’s people.
I thought of John, a wonderful young man who doesn’t speak. He is vocal, however. He sings in church with a groan that comes from deep within. He inspired me.
Many people think special needs individuals like John and my daughter don’t have a voice. This is so untrue. We often need to listen in a different way.
I thought, if every person everywhere sang like John we would hear the mighty song of all God’s people!
How would John sing this? He would sing joyfully and allow the song to come forward freely. I began to rehearse anew.
On the night of the Easter Vigil I voiced the ancient prayer that was being sung by cantors around the world. A prayer that connects people through the ages.
Once again, I sang the word REJOICE!
Ever since then, during Lent I recall the Exultet. It comes naturally to me at this time of year.
I remember the call to rejoice!
Have a happy and blessed Easter!