Each year we purchase a plain Easter Candle. Sr Mary Leonora then lovingly creates a unique and exquisite image on the candle. On the left is a closeup of the candle for this year.
The theme for this year’s candle is The Victory of the Lamb as portrayed in the book of Revelation. The symbol of the Lamb takes us from Genesis (the sacrifice asked of Abraham), through the Exodus Passover and the suffering servant prophecies of Isaiah, to the proclamation of John the Baptist (Behold, the Lamb of God!), the passion and death of Christ and the final chapters of Revelation. It’s a symbol that encompasses all of Salvation History and is a wonderful reminder that God is the Victor and grace will triumph.
Christ our paschal Lamb has been sacrificed! (1 Cor 5:7)
The Cross signifies both Christ and every follower of Christ. The wood of the Cross is a combination of crimson red and brown, representing the blood that Jesus shed on that Cross for our sake. It is both the altar of sacrifice and the throne of the Lamb. That victory is reflected in the gold mosaic-like stones embedded within.
The Lamb depicted here is not the lamb of Isaiah, silent before his shearers, but the victorious Lamb of the Heavenly Jerusalem, who stands tall, triumphing over the enemies of sin and death. Granted, the Lamb is one and the same in whom we have redemption and life. Those who follow the Lamb will, like Him, carry the banner of victory.
The Blood that pours forth from the wound where the Lamb was slain is a reminder of the great price paid for our redemption. Christ laid down His life for us, shed His blood for us. The Cup collects that sacred blood so that it may be poured out on us anew at every paschal sacrifice of the Mass. Daily we are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
The Book with the Seven Seals is another apocalyptic reference. In his vision, John the Apostle sees a scroll or book with seven seals. When an angel asks who is worthy to open the book, he receives the answer that only the Lamb who was slain has the right to do so. The book contains the details of God’s plan for humanity – a panorama of salvation history (content of the first six seals), which is fully revealed only in Christ (content of the seventh seal), who is the fullness of God’s revelation to the world. The Book and the Cross together are the judgment seat of the Lamb.
The Heavenly Jerusalem winds around the candle at its base, shining with gold and gemstones, a symbol of the new heaven and the new earth. The entire city is the dwelling place of God, hence there is no Temple or Holy of Holies. God himself is the Light. The New Jerusalem is a place of splendor and perfection where all who dwell there will see God face to face in the Beatific Vision.
The Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, are a metaphor for God’s eternity.
The candle invites us to lift up our hearts in praise and gratitude for all that Christ has done for us, to rejoice in the promise of the Resurrection. Jesus’ death on the Cross was a Passover from death to life not only for himself, but also for us. His sacrifice has opened the gates to that New Jerusalem, where we will follow the Lamb wherever He goes, always in His company.
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing,
Praise to our victorious King,
Who has washed us in the tide
Flowing from his pierced side;
Praise we Him, whose love divine
Gives His sacred blood for wine,
Gives His body for the feast,
Christ the Victim, Christ the Priest.
Where the Paschal blood is poured,
Death’s dark angel sheathes his sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
Paschal Victim, Paschal Bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.