Into Darkness, Into Light

Last Supper Icon

Simon Ushakov, The Last Supper (1665)

Yesterday, the sanctuary light was already extinguished and the tabernacle was already empty as we celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The candles at the altar were carried out with the Blessed Sacrament leaving the altar in darkness.

Pange, lingua, gloriosi, corporis mysterium . . .

The candles were set with the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose. The room was dark, except for the flickering flames that reflected off the ciborium that held Our Lord’s body.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum, veneremur cernui . . .

While back in the church, the altar was stripped and washed in the darkness as the words Our Lord spoke on the cross echoed off the walls.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Today, the church will only be lit by the natural light outside as we commemorate The Passion of Our Lord. We will read the account from St. John’s Gospel, shout “crucify him,” and hear how the sun was blotted out.  Our Lord’s last words will be said:

It is finished.

And bowing his head, he will hand over his spirit.

Veneration Crucifix

Veneration Crucifix (Photo: Klemens Steinhauser CC BY-SA 3.0)

After the Passion Gospel “the wood of the cross upon which hung the world’s salvation” will be brought into the church and we will each walk up and venerate the crucifix.

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One
have mercy on us.

Candlelight will return briefly with the Reserved Sacrament, only to be extinguished in silence.

Tomorrow, the church will be cold and dark, like the tomb in which Christ lay on that most holy of Saturdays. Then, as the last light of dusk fades to darkness, a fire will be kindled and a candle will be lit.

The Light of Christ.

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God. The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, to Whom belongs all time and all ages. The Light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.


M. Grunewald Resurrection

Matthias Grünewald, Resurrection (c. 1510-15)

This is my latest contribution to “Five-minute Fridays,” a weekly blog carnival hosted by The Gypsy Mama. Today’s prompt is “Light.”


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