Two things resonated and keep floating back into my mind.
During Saturday morning's practice of RCIA candidates (and catechumen) and sponsors, our priest did a spectacular job of explaining why everything was happening. More than that, and this was what made it spectacular, he continually reminded us of how we should think about our place in salvation history. He continually reminded us that our internal disposition was what would make the difference between those who say about mass "it's just the same thing over and over" and those who continually come away with some new insight or encounter with the risen Christ. It amounted to a wonderfully deep overview of the mass and the difference it makes.
During this overview he said something like, "I say the prayers out loud up here because that's my job. But Christ is praying them for you while I am praying them aloud."
That jolted me. I knew that Christ prays for us but had forgotten it. Now, with it called to the front of my mind, I treasured that idea. Christ prays for us. We matter that much to him. What a gift.
The other thing that struck me came that evening, when the church was dark and the Easter candle was lit. We saw the Easter candle light the little candles of the first candidates and catechumens who stood in the center aisle of the church. They in turn passed the light down the aisle and stood serenely, waiting.
We waited for the next "Lumen Christi" so we could respond "Deo gratias."
("Light of Christ. Thanks be to God.")
It was pitch black except for those tiny candles and I was really struck by how much they illuminated. We could see each person's face and the gentle glow bathing their shoulders and a bit of the night around them. The absolute truth of the symbolism was unmistakable. The darkness of the world except where Christ's light shines. The darkness of our souls except where that light blazes in our hearts. The fact that light is a thing which is never lessened when divided. When we share Christ's light it multiplies. And illuminates. And pushes back the dark.
"Lumen Christi." "Deo gratias."
The light was passed from one to another. I, in my turn, passed it on.
Perhaps it seems a cliche when reading it here. But the reality of smelling the wax burning, the wisps of smoke rising, seeing the light spreading was vivid in a way that burned itself into my mind and soul. As Christ has.
Lumen Christi. Deo gratias.