A blessed Easter to you all, on this great Festival of the Risen Light! The story of Christ’s incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection is also the story of our own soul’s descent into the limitations and darkness of the physical world, and the hope of our eventual return to the Fullness of God. Most of us who come from liturgical traditions are familiar with the Paschal candle, which is lit by the deacon on Holy Saturday, and remains lit throughout Eastertide to remind us of the Divine Light of Christ, and our own indwelling spark of that same light. In the great mystery drama of Holy Week, we recall the obscuration of the Divine Light in its descent into matter, and on Easter, we celebrate its Resurrection and triumphant return. Just as we keep a Paschal candle lit at church, it is also an old custom to keep a Paschal candle at home, which we can light on each of the 40 days of Easter, beginning today. To do this, we take a large candle, surrounded by flowers, and carve into it a cross similar to the design we see at church, along with Alpha and Omega, and the current year. You may also insert grains of incense at the five points of the Cross.
The following prayers are recited at each carving:
While cutting the vertical line of the cross, say: Christ yesterday and today.
While cutting the horizontal line, say: the Beginning and the End,
While carving the Greek letters, say: Alpha and Omega
While carving the millennial figure in the upper left quadrant of the cross: His are the times
While carving the second figure in the upper right quadrant: and aeons.
While carving the decade figure (1) in the lower left quadrant: To Him be glory and dominion
While carving the last figure of the year (4) in the lower right quadrant: unto the aeons of aeons. Amen.
While inserting a grain of incense at the top point of the cross: By His holy
While inserting a grain of incense at the center of the cross: and glorious sacrifice
While inserting a grain of incense at the bottom point of the cross: may He guard
While inserting a grain of incense at the left point of the cross: and preserve us,
While inserting a grain of incense at the right point of the cross: Christus Dóminus. Amen.
As you light the candle, whether it be before a meal, or during your devotions, say: May the light of Christ in glory rising again dispel the darkness of heart and mind.