The Glenstal Companion to the Easter Vigil is divided into two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the different elements of the vigil: The Solemn Beginning of the Vigil with the ceremony of light Lucernarium; the Liturgy of the Word; the Baptismal Liturgy; and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It addresses such questions as: How did the Vigil originate? Why are grains of incense inserted into the Paschal Candle? What has the Vigil to do with Baptism?
The second part – arising from a series of Sunday afternoon talks at Glenstal Abbey in Lent 2018 – contains a commentary for each of the readings of the Vigil: the seven Old Testament readings, the Epistle, and the Gospels for ears A, B and C. Many of these readings, such as the stories of the sacrifice of Isaac or the crossing of the Red Sea, are difficult for modern readers. A panel of contributors – Scripture scholars, liturgists, and theologians – explore the dynamic of the Vigil readings. The varied backgrounds of the contributors are a strength of this volume, ensuring that each chapter has a distinctive approach and style. Each contributor examines a single Vigil reading, in its liturgical context, so as to provide a full and nourishing commentary in an attractive and accessible way.
In these pages, the reader will come to appreciate how the extended reading of passages from the Old Testament, in the light of the Paschal Candle, creates a sense of expectancy. The Easter Vigil readings were all chosen specifically because of the light they shed on the central reality of the Christian faith – what the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ mean for the salvation of all peoples. Spending some time and effort on deepening the encounter with God’s Word in these texts will surely enrich the reader’s experience of the Vigil.
Luke Macnamara OSB, a monk of Glenstal Abbey, lectures in Scripture at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth.
Martin Browne OSB, a monk of Glenstal and former headmaster of the Abbey school, is the Abbey bursar and liturgical master of ceremonies.