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Preface I of Easter
This preface is used starting on the Easter Vigil and throughout the Octave of Easter. It has variations to reflect the time of day in which it is prayed, because the while Octave is like just one bright day, evoking that day in the future when all darkness and shadow gives way to the light of eternal life.
The Paschal Mystery
When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt the Paschal Lamb was slain and prepared for the Passover meal, at the Lord’s instruction, and thanks to its blood on the door posts and lintel outside the angel of death passed the household by and the plague of death was only carried out on the Egyptians (see Exodus 12:1-13). Through that plague the Pharaoh finally relented and let the Israelites leave Egypt, freeing them (Exodus 12:29–32). Christ chose to become our Paschal Lamb (see 1 Corinthians 5:7). Through his blood the angel of death ultimately passes us by as well, freeing us from slavery to sin.
“For he is the true Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world; by dying he has destroyed our death, and by rising, restored our life.”
Our Paschal Lamb did not just let the angel of death pass us by. One day we will die, but, if we persevere in the grace and mercy of God, we will die in Christ, only to then live in him. Death through Christ becomes a path to eternal life. Physical death in Christ no longer leads to the “second death” of separation from God forever (see Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8).
After sin came into the world, death was not far behind, as the sad story of Cain and Abel reminds us. Due to the Fall humanity was enslaved by sin and doomed to die. Our Lord assumed human nature, lived life to its ultimate consequences in a Fallen world, but then restored it again to the glory to which we are called.
The real mystery is how the Lord could love us so much by going through all this in order to destroy our death and restore our life. The Easter season is not only a joyful season, but a grateful one.