Monday, April 1, 2013

EASTER OCTAVE AND PASCHALTIDE


Easter isn’t over starting the day after. As a matter of fact, the Church celebrates Easter all the way to Pentecost. That’s fifty days!
 
This period is called....

PASCHAL TIME

The fifty days from Easter Sunday till Pentecost Sunday are called Paschal Time, or Paschaltide. Paschal, as explained earlier, means Easter.

During Paschaltide, the Regina Caeli replaces the Angelus.

The Vidi Aquam replaces the Asperges Me.
 
The Paschal Candle burns in the sanctuary at Masses till Ascension Thursday.

At Benediction, an Alleluia is added to the versicle “Panem de caelo praestitisti eis” and response.

At Sunday Mass, instead of a Gradual and an Alleluia, there are two Alleluias and no Gradual.
 
EASTER OCTAVE
 
But there’s a second way the Church celebrates Easter and that is the eight day period beginning with Easter Sunday. That period is called the Octave, from the Latin word for “eight.”

The Octave is truly an extension of Easter Sunday. During those eight days, we are, in a sense, still in Easter Sunday, though it be a Tuesday or a Friday or what have you.

To express this liturgical and spiritual reality, no other feast or commemoration is allowed during the Octave.

The Gloria and the Easter Sequence before the Gospel (Victimae Paschali Laudes) are said every day of the Octave, just as on Easter Sunday.
 
In the Masses of the Octave, there is a generous addition of Alleluias in the orations; at the Introit, two or three Alleluias; in the offertory verse and communion verse, one or two.

At the dismissal, a double Alleluia is added to "Ite, missa est" till the next Sunday exclusive.
 
WHY EIGHT?
 
We remember that the work of the Old Creation, the one damaged by Original Sin, took six days of activity followed by a day of rest - seven days total.
 
So the number eight represents something new.  Something beyond the seven days.
 
This New Creation is the work of Christ.  He not only repaired the damage done to the Old Creation by Original Sin; He even elevated the Old Creation to something better. 
 
In other words, when Christ saved us by dying and rising, He didn't bring us back to the way things were before Adam and Eve sinned; He brought us to something even better which Adam and Eve didn't have before they sinned.  Eternal Life!
 
It's like the story of the Prodigal Son.  His life was better after he repented and came back to his father.  Before he sinned, he was a son, which was pretty good in itself.  After his return, the father clothed him in finer clothes and put on a great banquet for him.  Even better.
 
So the eighth day represents for us "going beyond the seven," "going beyond the natural creation" and putting our first foot into the New Creation, the new order that opens up into eternity.
 
That is why we can never get enough of Alleluia.  And why Easter doesn't end the Monday after.
 
In fact, the mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus happens every day.  Until all will come to perfect completion at the end of this old world and the dawn of eternity.

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