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Praeconium Paschale, Exsultet: Proclamation of the Easter Vigil

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

The Exsultet, also referred to as the Praeconium Paschale, is an ancient chant sung during the Easter Vigil. It is traditionally sung by the deacon after the Paschal candle has been lit and the clergy have processed to the altar. The lighted Paschal candle contains a twofold symbolism. First, it represents the pillar of fire that went before the Israelites during their flight from Egypt. Second, it represents Christ, who is the light of the world. The procession likewise has a twofold meaning. It symbolizes the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt, and also the arrival of Christ who is the Savior of the world. The Exsultet sings of this symbolism and recalls for us the history of our salvation; from the fall of Adam, to the events of that first Passover held by Moses and the Israelites, and then finally the events of that last Passover at which Jesus suffered, died, rose from the dead and by which mankind was redeemed. The tone of the hymn is very much one of joy at having received so great a gift as our redemption and eternal life. (Adoration of the Cross)


---- This hymn was performed by Alejandro Tobón OCD along with the Gregorian choir of Paris


Latin Text


Exsúltet iam angélica turba cælórum: exsúltent divína mystéria: et pro tanti Regis victória tuba ínsonet salutáris.

Gáudeat et tellus, tantis irradiáta fulgóribus: et ætérni Regis splendóre illustráta, tótius orbis se séntiat amisísse calíginem.

Lætétur et mater Ecclésia, tanti lúminis adornáta fulgóribus: et magnis populórum vócibus hæc aula resúltet.

[Quaprópter astántes vos, fratres caríssimi, ad tam miram huius sancti lúminis claritátem, una mecum, quæso, Dei omnipoténtis misericórdiam invocáte. Ut, qui me non meis méritis intra Levitárum númerum dignátus est aggregáre, lúminis sui claritátem infúndens, cérei huius laudem implére perfíciat.] [V/ Dóminus vobíscum. R/ Et cum spíritu tuo.] V/ Sursum corda. R/ Habémus ad Dóminum. V/ Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro. R/ Dignum et iustum est. Vere dignum et iustum est, invisíbilem Deum Patrem omnipoténtem Filiúmque eius unigénitum, Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, toto cordis ac mentis afféctu et vocis ministério personáre. Qui pro nobis ætérno Patri Adæ débitum solvit, et véteris piáculi cautiónem pio cruóre detérsit.

Hæc sunt enim festa paschália, in quibus verus ille Agnus occíditur, cuius sánguine postes fidélium consecrántur. Hæc nox est, in qua primum patres nostros, fílios Israel edúctos de Ægypto, Mare Rubrum sicco vestígio transíre fecísti. Hæc ígitur nox est, quæ peccatórum ténebras colúmnæ illuminatióne purgávit.

Hæc nox est, quæ hódie per univérsum mundum in Christo credéntes, a vítiis sæculi et calígine peccatórum segregátos, reddit grátiæ, sóciat sanctitáti.

Hæc nox est, in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis, Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit. Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit, nisi rédimi profuísset. O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio! O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis: ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti! O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum, quod Christi morte delétum est! O felix culpa, quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem! O vere beáta nox, quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit! Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est: Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur: et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis.

Huius ígitur sanctificátio noctis fugat scélera, culpas lavat: et reddit innocéntiam lapsis et mæstis lætítiam. Fugat ódia, concórdiam parat et curvat impéria.

In huius ígitur noctis grátia, súscipe, sancte Pater, laudis huius sacrifícium vespertínum, quod tibi in hac cérei oblatióne solémni, per ministrórum manus de opéribus apum, sacrosáncta reddit Ecclésia. Sed iam colúmnæ huius præcónia nóvimus, quam in honórem Dei rútilans ignis accéndit. Qui, lícet sit divísus in partes, mutuáti tamen lúminis detrimenta non novit. Alitur enim liquántibus ceris, quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis apis mater edúxit. O vere beáta nox, in qua terrénis cæléstia, humánis divína iungúntur!

Orámus ergo te, Dómine, ut céreus iste in honórem tui nóminis consecrátus, ad noctis huius calíginem destruéndam, indefíciens persevéret. Et in odórem suavitátis accéptus, supérnis lumináribus misceátur. Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat: ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum. Christus Fílius tuus, qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit, et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum. R/ Amen.


English Text


Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,

exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,

let the trumpet of salvation

sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!


Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,

ablaze with light from her eternal King,

let all corners of the earth be glad,

knowing an end to gloom and darkness.


Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,

arrayed with the lightning of his glory,

let this holy building shake with joy,

filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.


(Therefore, dearest friends,

standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,

invoke with me, I ask you,

the mercy of God almighty,

that he, who has been pleased to number me,

though unworthy, among the Levites,

may pour into me his light unshadowed,

that I may sing this candle's perfect praises).


(Deacon: The Lord be with you.

People: And with your spirit.)

Deacon: Lift up your hearts.

People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People: It is right and just.


It is truly right and just,

with ardent love of mind and heart

and with devoted service of our voice,

to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,

and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.


Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,

and, pouring out his own dear Blood,

wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.


These, then, are the feasts of Passover,

in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,

whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.


This is the night,

when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,

from slavery in Egypt

and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.


This is the night

that with a pillar of fire

banished the darkness of sin.


This is the night

that even now throughout the world,

sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices

and from the gloom of sin,

leading them to grace

and joining them to his holy ones.


This is the night

when Christ broke the prison-bars of death

and rose victorious from the underworld.


Our birth would have been no gain,

had we not been redeemed.

O wonder of your humble care for us!

O love, O charity beyond all telling,

to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!


O truly necessary sin of Adam,

destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!


O happy fault

that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!


O truly blessed night,

worthy alone to know the time and hour

when Christ rose from the underworld!


This is the night

of which it is written:

The night shall be as bright as day,

dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.


The sanctifying power of this night

dispels wickedness, washes faults away,

restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,

drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.


On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,

accept this candle, a solemn offering,

the work of bees and of your servants' hands,

an evening sacrifice of praise,

this gift from your most holy Church.


But now we know the praises of this pillar,

which glowing fire ignites for God's honour,

a fire into many flames divided,

yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,

for it is fed by melting wax,

drawn out by mother bees

to build a torch so precious.


O truly blessed night,

when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,

and divine to the human.


Therefore, O Lord,

we pray you that this candle,

hallowed to the honour of your name,

may persevere undimmed,

to overcome the darkness of this night.

Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,

and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.

May this flame be found still burning

by the Morning Star:

the one Morning Star who never sets,

Christ your Son,

who, coming back from death's domain,

has shed his peaceful light on humanity,

and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Amen.


Pre-1955 Concluding Prayer of the Exsultet for the Holy Roman Emperor


Respice etiam ad devotissimum imperatorem nostrum [Nomen] cujus tu, Deus, desiderii vota praenoscens, ineffabili pietatis et misericordiae tuae munere, tranquillum perpetuae pacis accommoda, et coelestem victoriam cum omni populo suo.


Look also upon our most devout Emperor [Name], the desires of whose longing you, O God, know beforehand, and by the inexpressible grace of your kindness and mercy grant him the tranquillity of lasting peace and heavenly victory with all his people.




In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.

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