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Michael Novak of AEI vs. Saint Ambrose of Milan Cage Match on the Meaning of Easter

Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute on the meaning of Easter:

The Corner on National Review Online: In the longest and most beautiful of the liturgies of the Catholic Church, the Easter Vigil in the early hours of darkness last night brought an estimated 200,000 converts into communion with the Catholic Church.... If one assumes that an average of about ten persons entered the church in each of this nation's 19,000 parishes, the total number just in this country alone is 190,000.

It is a blessed night. The liturgy at St Mathew's was one of the most beautiful I have ever participated in.... Kierkegaard once noted, of course, that just when the music is celestial, the sermon moving (and not too long), and the dignity of the proceedings is picture-perfect -- that is exactly when paganism begins, and true faith flies away. It is not the human performance, in other words, that ought to hold our attention, but the real abandonment and cruel suffering of Christ on the Cross, in a demonstration of how much the Lord loves us, despite our faults and our miseries and our own emptiness...

Saint Ambrose certainly doesn't think that on Easter Sunday "our attention" ought to be held by "the real abandonment and cruel suffering of Christ on the Cross..." Saint Ambrose's attention is elsewhere.

Saint Ambrose of Milan:

Dear friends in Christ, on this most holy night, when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church invites her children throughout the world to come together in vigil and prayer.

This is the Passover of the Lord: if we honor the memory of his death and resurrection by hearing his word and celebrating his mysteries, then we may be confident that we shall share his victory over death and live with him for ever in God.

Father, we share in the light of your glory through your Son, the light of the world. Make this new fire holy, and inflame us with new hope. Purify our minds by this Easter celebration and bring us one day to the feast of eternal light. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray:

Christ yesterday and today.
The beginning and the end,
Alpha, and Omega;
All time belongs to him
And all the ages:
To him be glory and power
Through every age for ever. Amen

By his holy and glorious wounds may Christ our Lord guard us and keep us. Amen.

May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

Christ___ our____ light_____. Thanks__ be to God________

Christ___ our____ light_____. Thanks__ be to God________

Christ___ our____ light_____. Thanks__ be to God________

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!...