Easter’s beautiful emotions have already vanished. The cruelty and triviality of life are back, perhaps even stronger. From this point of view, it is worth asking: what was the point of it? But we dare not ask this question. Maybe we feel shame. Maybe we feel guilty for not having been able to preserve and protect the most important content of this Feast, the most important one of the year.
Luckily there is liturgy, with its Gregorian chants, which protects us from our imperfections and even from our emotions. The constant rhythm of the liturgy is the guarantee not only our hope, but also of the “good use” of the grace of the Feasts, of the immeasurable treasure of Easter. The basic fabric is made up of words and ancient melodies, which have been tried and tested over the centuries: simple and strong, always fresh and wonderful.
From Easter vespers in the Church echoes the beautiful hymn “For coenam Agni providi“. Its strength and poetics seem to be an irreplaceable vehicle for message of Easter. It transmits it through melodic waves that are lyrical, yet powerful, on the paths of brave and noble intervals, on the trails of reasons that are so close, but matchless.
We cannot know whether it was a sad or cheerful melody, a nostalgic or lively one: it compresses everything in itself. The pain and the hope of humanity. This hymn seems to outline the powerful and merciful gesture of the Lord’s hand. It is more than just a melody: it is a heart stroke, a touch of grace.
What about the words? They are intertwined with the melody and show a strong perspective. They undertake all the theology of Easter with an incredible genius, so convincing that it can dispel all our existential questions in the blink of an eye. Simplicity and clarity, rhythm and colors, shapes and thought: these are the tangible fruits of Easter to collect every time we sing (or listen to) this hymn. His viewpoint allows us to recover and preserve the deepest meaning of Easter and bring it into the world, which from will not be able to scare us from now on.
Bernard Sawicki osb
The Lamb’s high banquet we await,
In snow-white robes of royal state;
And now, the Red Sea’s channel past,
To Christ our Prince we sing at last.
Upon the altar of the Cross
His body hath redeemed our loss;
And tasting of his scarlet blood,
Our life is hid with him in God.
Now Christ our paschal Lamb is slain,
The Lamb of God that knows no stain,
The true oblation offered here,
Our own unleavened bread sincere.
O thou, from whom hell’s monarch flies,
O great, O very Sacrifice,
Thy captive people are set free,
And endless life restored in thee.
To thee who, dead, again dost live,
All glory, Lord, thy people give:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.