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Exsultet

Exsultet

The Exsultet (Exultet) can be a good source of reflection during the Easter Season. The Exsultet originates from some time between the fifth and seventh centuries and is the traditional Western Rite hymn of praise intoned by the deacon during the Easter Vigil after the procession with the Paschal Candle.

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,

that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
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 to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

(For it is fed by the melting wax,
which the mother bee brought forth
to make this precious candle.)

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Amen.

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.]

[Vers. Dóminus vobíscum.
Resp. Et cum spíritu tuo.]
Vers. Sursum corda.
Resp. Habémus ad Dóminum.
Vers. Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.
Resp. 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.

O vere beáta nox,
in qua terrénis cæléstia, humánis divína iungúntur!¹

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.²

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.

Amen.

From Celebrating Eucharist

Rejoice, all creation!
Let the heavenly chorus sing!
Jesus Christ, our light, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour, the light of Christ will warm our autumn night. Christ has conquered!
Glory fills you! Darkness will vanish for ever!
Rejoice, O church of God! Exult in glory! The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy. Echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

The Lord is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to God.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise you the eternal God, and your First-born, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
For Christ is the true passover lamb who at this feast has set your faithful people free.
This is the night when you saved the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt and led them through the Red Sea on dry land.
This is the night, when the pillar of fire brought light to your wandering people.
This is the night when all who believe in Christ are delivered from gloom, and are restored to grace, and grow together in fullness of life.
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and we are reconciled with God!
Therefore, Holy God, in the joy of this night, accept our evening sacrifice of praise, your church’s solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to your honour, O God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue burning to lighten the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star find this flame still burning among us. Christ is that Morning Star, who rises to shed your peaceful light on all creation.
Christ is now alive and glorified with you for ever and ever. Amen.


BCP (TEC)

Either The minister sings the Introduction

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
O Universe, dance around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the victorious trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in glory, revealing the splendour of your creation,
radiant in the brightness of your triumphant King!
Christ has conquered! Now his life and glory fill you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice,O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour, our Lord of life, shines upon you!
Let all God’s people sing and shout for joy.

Or Alternatively, the Introduction could be sung by the whole congregation to a tune of the metre 10.10.10.10 using the following form. Note: not all tunes of 10.10.10.10 metre are suitable.

All Sing, choirs of heaven! Let saints and angels sing!
Around God’s throne exult in harmony!
Now Jesus Christ is risen from the grave!
Salute your King in glorious symphony!
Sing, choirs of earth! Behold, your light has come!
The glory of the Lord shines radiantly!
Lift up your hearts, for Christ has conquered death!
The night is past, the day of life is here!
Sing, Church of God! Exult with joy outpoured!
The gospel trumpets tell of victory won!
Your Saviour lives; he’s with you evermore!
Let all God’s people sound the long Amen!

The minister continues

The Lord be with you
All and also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
All We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right and good that with hearts and minds and voices
we should praise you, Father almighty, the unseen God,
through your only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who has saved us by his death,
paid the price of Adam’s sin,
and reconciled us once again to you.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
For this is the Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb of God, is slain
whose blood consecrates the homes of all the faithful.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
This is the night when you first saved our ancestors,
freeing Israel from her slavery
and leading her safely through the sea.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
This is the night when Jesus Christ vanquished hell,
broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
This is the night when all who believe in him are freed from sin,
restored to grace and holiness,
and share the victory of Christ.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
This is the night that gave us back what we had lost;
beyond our deepest dreams
you made even our sin a happy fault.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
Most blessed of all nights!
Evil and hatred are put to flight and sin is washed away,
lost innocence regained, and mourning turned to joy.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
Night truly blessed, when hatred is cast out,
peace and justice find a home, and heaven is joined to earth
and all creation reconciled to you.
All [Glory to you for ever.]
Therefore, heavenly Father, in this our Easter joy
accept our sacrifice of praise, your Church’s solemn offering.
Grant that this Easter Candle may make our darkness light.
For Christ the morning star has risen in glory;
Christ is risen from the dead and his flame of love still burns within us!
Christ sheds his peaceful light on all the world!
Christ lives and reigns for ever and ever!
All Amen.

From The Easter Liturgy material – Times and Seasons Common Worship (PDF Download)

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2 Responses to Exsultet

  1. The Exsultet is not at all a hymn, but the consecration of the Easter candle by the deacon. Besides the Eucharistic anaphora, there are several prayers of thanksgiving and consecration over other elements than the bread and wine, such as: the blessing of the water during the Easter vigil, the blessing of the palms. In each such thing (and this is the same in all the authentic rites), there is a “collect”, a “secret/super oblata”, a dialogue, than the thanksgiving prayer, inclusing the verba, epiclesis, and intercessions. Such is the Exsultet. Why is it sung by the deacon, and not by the priest? Because the fabrication thereof was of the duties and tasks of the diaconal work of the diocese.

    • Thanks, George. There might be a language difference here. Here, one could not say that a sung prayer of thanksgiving is not at all a hymn. Your stressing that we consecrate by thanksgiving is a point I make regularly. Easter Season Blessings.

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