Night clearer than the day!
O night more luminous than the sun! O night whiter than the snow! giving more light than our torches, sweeter than Paradise!
O night that knows no darkness;
driving away our sleep,
you make us keep watch with the angels.
O night, the terror of the demons,
paschal night, awaited for a year!
The Church’s wedding night
which gives life to the newly baptised
and renders harmless the torpidity of the demon. Night in which the Heir
brings the heirs into eternity.
Asterius of Amasea
Preface for Easter
It is necessary, and for our well-being, to give you thanks God, Holy and Almighty,
to celebrate your praise with devotion, Father of glory, creator and author of the universe,
through your Son, Jesus Christ.
He, being God, full of majesty, humbled himself
to the point of accepting the punishment of the cross
for the salvation of men.
In the depth of ages
Abraham prefigured this in his son;
the people of Moses with the paschal lamb they immolated.
He it is of whom
announcement was made by the voice of the prophets:
he would take upon himself the sins of all men,
cancel out the whole of our misdeeds.
This is the great Pasch
which the blood of Christ has covered with glory,
making the Christian people exult with joyous devotion!
O mystery of grace!
Inexpressible mystery of divine munificence!
O festival most venerated among all festivals,
in which he abandoned himself to men
even unto death, to save mere slaves!
O blessed death, which has broken the chains of death!
Now the prince of hell is vanquished,
and we, saved from the abyss of guilt,
exult in joy and take with Christ once more
the road to heaven.
It is the Pasch; the Pasch of the Lord. . .
O you, who are truly all in all! . . .
The joy, the honour, the food and the delight of every creature; .
through you the shadows of death have fled away,
and life is given to all,
the gates of heaven are flung open.
God becomes man
and man is raised up to the likeness of God.
O divine Pasch! . . .
O Pasch, light of new splendour . . .
The lamps of our souls will no more burn out. The flame of grace,
divine and spiritual,
burns in the body and soul,
nourished by the resurrection of Christ.
We beg you, O Christ, Lord God,
eternal king of the spiritual world, stretch out your protecting hands
over your holy Church
and over your holy people;
defend them, keep them, preserve them. . .
Raise up your standard over us
and grant that we may sing with Moses
the song of victory, .
for yours is the glory and the power for all eternity! Amen. .