Last night was the Easter Vigil, where we welcomed 25 new Catholics into our parish and into the Roman Catholic Church. 19 were Baptized and all 25 received the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist. There is something wonderful about the Easter Vigil. From the singing, to the entrance into the church in darkness, to the lighting of the candles that give light to the church, to the singing of the Exsultet (which I did this year!), to the readings in darkness, the lights of the church coming on at the Gloria! The incense, the people, the blessed water ready for baptism and the oil for anointing. I also was a sponsor to one of the 6 that came into full communion from another Christian Tradition. Amy was full of joy when she finally partook of the Eucharist, and I was near to tears when I presented the cup to her and pronounced, "The Blood of Christ". Welcome home Amy, and welcome home to all the others who were received last night.
I love the smell of the incense that we use in Mass, I wish we would use it more often. I also love to participate in baptisms, because of the oil of Chrism that is used, the perfumed oil blessed by the Bishop during Holy Week. It is the oil that is also used at the ordination of Deacons, Priests and Bishops, but when it is used at baptisms, it is anointing those being baptized as Prophet, Priest and King into the family of God. It is giving us a position to live up to, but also the promise of God's Spirit to guide us and to help us keep those promises and maintain that position.
I love the Oil of Chrism because it is an odor that stays with the person for quite some time, and when I anoint those at baptism (the infant baptisms that I have done), the sweet smell stays on my hands the whole day, reminding me of my own ordination to the diaconate and also serves as a reminder of my responsibility to my God, and His people. It reminds me that I am called to a life of service, a life of charity, and a life of chastity, which is really what we are all called to, a life of holiness. May all of you have a blessed Easter Season, filled with the love of the Risen Lord and the promise of the resurrected life. We are a resurrection people and Alleluia is our song!