A Feast for the Senses

On this first week of Easter, I taught and subbed several yoga classes, and I told my students that this past week, which was Holy Week to Christians, and Passover to Jewish brethren, was really about making connections through shared meals and rituals. And what else is there - really?

Whenever two or three - or hundreds gather - there is an overwhelming sense of oneness... 

Easter Sunday was also the first time in a long time - that Christians everywhere - Catholic, Protestant, non-denominational, mainline - and the Orthodox - celebrated at the same time as well. Because Western and Eastern Christians operate on different calendars, the celebration of this day most often happens on different weeks...

I attended the Easter Vigil which is really a feast for the senses. It is the most beautiful liturgy of the year - unique and ancient - and yes, very LONG!

It begins in darkness and then a fire is lit. The Easter Candle is prepared and candles of all those attending are lit from this one. The Exultet, an ancient chant is intoned in candlelit churches... It is always the most moving experience for me, knowing that it has been chanted for centuries, since the dawn of the Church.

There are seven readings and responses - all of Salvation history is compressed into those seven readings. There is lots incense, choirs, trumpets, the indescribable sounds of a pipe organ filling every crevice of sacred space - and the reception of catechumens who have assiduously prepared for their baptisms, confirmations, and First Eucharist... Thus, this liturgy satisfies all - those who are kinesthetic, those who favor hearing - those who prefer smelling - and those in need of feeding... It is truly a mystic's delight in every sense of the word!

I never tire of this liturgy - remembering one while I was in graduate school at St. Louis University in the late seventies, where I witnessed an atheist experience a true conversion of the heart, life, and spirit...

Since then, I have attended as often as I can...

Yes, this past week and season is a feast for the senses - a walk through darkness and fire and light - meals lovingly prepared and shared - and blossoms springing and bursting with life everywhere - as far as the eye can see...

Passover, Easter, and the spring time, remind us that we can always begin again. It also reminds us that we are never alone. But in the end, it is just a feast for the senses. A  mystical, gastronomical and sensual journey through faith!

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