Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

The Exultet (Praeconium)


This beautiful Paschal Proclamation is sung (ordinarily by a deacon) during the liturgy of Holy Saturday. Note the repeated motif consisting of the words "This is the night..." Note, too, the lovely praise of bees, and the use of the phrase "Felix culpa," which means "happy fault." This last refers to the sin of Adam, without which we would not have been sent the Redeemer.


After a reverence has been made toward the altar, the thurifer stands near the credence; and the subdeacon with the processional cross stands on the Gospel side in front of the lectern, facing it for the singing of the Paschal proclamation. The priest goes to his place in the sanctuary, on the epistle side; and the clerics take their places on benches or stools. The deacon places the Paschal candle in a small supporting base in the middle of the choir, and, after the priest has placed incense in the thurible, receives the book and asks for the blessing, saying:

Iube, domne, benedicere.

Sir, give the blessing.

The priest answers:

Dominus sit in corde tuo, et in labiis tuis, ut digne et competenter annunties suum paschale praeconium: In nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti. R. Amen.

May the Lord be on thy heart and on thy lips, that thou mayest worthily and fittingly proclaim His Paschal praise. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Ghost. R. Amen.

If there is no deacon, the following simple rite may be used: the thurifer stands next to the credence in the sanctuary, the crucifer stands on the Gospel side in front of the lectern, facing it. The priest places the Paschal candle in its supporting base in the middle of the sanctuary and goes to the sedilia; the other servers go to their usual places. After placing incense into the thurible, the celebrant receives the book from the master of ceremonies. The priest genuflects on the bottom step of the footpace, on the epistle side, and says in a low voice:

[quietly] Iube, Domine, benedicere.

[quietly] O Lord, give me Thy blessing.

[quietly] Dominus sit in corde meo, et in labiis meis, ut digne et competenter annuntiem suum paschale praeconium. Amen.

[quietly] May the Lord be on my heart and on my lips, that I mayest worthily and fittingly proclaim His Paschal praise.

After this, the deacon [or priest] goes to the lectern, which is completely covered with a white drape. He places the book on the lecturn and incenses it; then he circles the Paschal candle, incensing it. Then all rise and remain standing while the deacon sings [or the priest sings] the Paschal proclamation, having before him the Paschal candle and the processional cross, toward the north side of the church. All hold lit candles in their hands until the end of the Paschal proclamation.

Exsultet iam Angelica turba caelorum: exsultent divina mysteria: et pro tanti Regis victoria, tuba insonet salutaris.


Let the angelic choirs of Heaven now rejoice; let the divine Mysteries rejoice; and let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King.

Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus: et aeterni Regis splendore illustrata, totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem.

Let the earth also rejoice, made radiant by such splendor; and, enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it know that the darkness of the whole world is scattered.

Laetetur et mater Ecclesia, tanti luminis adornata fulgoribus: et magnis populorum vocibus haec aula resultet.

Let our mother the Church also rejoice, adorned with the brightness of so great a light; and let this temple resound with the loud acclamations of the people.

Quapropter astantes vos, fratres carissimi, ad tam miram huius sancti luminis claritatem, una mecum, quaeso, Dei omnipotentis misericordiam invocate. Ut qui me non meis meritis intra Levitarum numerum dignatus est aggregare: luminis sui claritatem infundens, Cerei huius laudem implere perficiat.

Wherefore I beseech you, most beloved brethren, who are here present in the wondrous brightness of this holy light, to invoke wtih me the mercy of almighty God. That He who has vouchsafed to admit me among the Levites, without any merits of mine, would pour forth the brightness of His light upon me, and enable me to perfect the praise of this wax candle.

Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium suum: qui cum eo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ His Son, Who with Him and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever.

R. Amen.
R. Amen.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Sursum corda.
V. Lift up thy hearts.

V. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God..

R. Dignum et iustum est.
R. It is meet and just.

Vere dignum et iustum est, invisibilem Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Filiumque eius unigenium, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, toto cordis ac mentis affectu, et vocis ministerio personare. Qui pro nobis aeterno Patri, Adae debitum solvit: et veteris piaculi cautionem pio cruore detersit.

It is truly meet and right to proclaim with all our heart and all the affection of our mind, and with the ministry of our voices, the invisible God, the Father almighty, and His only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who repaid for us to His eternal Father the debt of Adam, and by the merciful shedding of His Blood, cancelled the debt incurred by original sin.

Haec sunt enim festa paschalia, in quibus verus ille Agnus occiditur, cuius sanguine postes fidelium consecrantur.

For this is the Paschal Festival; in which that true Lamb is slain, with Whose Blood the doorposts of the faithful are consecrated.

Haec nox est, in qua primum patres nostros filios Israel eductos de Aegypto, mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti.

This is the night in which Thou didst formerly cause our forefathers, the children of Israel, when brought out of Egypt, to pass through the Red Sea with dry foot.

Haec igitur nox est, quae peccatorum tenebras, columnae illuminatione purgavit.

This, therefore, is the night which dissipated the darkness of sinners by the light of the pillar.

Haec nox est, quae hodie per universum mundum, in Christo credentes, a vitiis saeculi, et caligine peccatorum segregatos, reddit gratiae, sociat sanctitati.

This is the night which at this time throughout the world restores to grace and unites in sanctity those that believe in Christ, and are separated from the vices of the world and the darkness of sinners.

Haec nox est, in qua destructus vinculis mortis, Christus ab inferis victor ascendit. Nihil enim nobis nasci profuit, nisi redimi profuisset.

This is the night in which, destroying the chains of death, Christ arose victorious from the grave. For it would have profited us nothing to have been born, unless redemption had also been bestowed upon us.

O mira circa nos tuae pietatis dignatio!

O wondrous condescension of Thy mercy towards us!

O inaestimabilis dilectio caritatis: ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti!

O inestimable affection of love: that Thou mightest redeem a slave, Thou didst deliver up Thy Son!

O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est!

O truly needful sin of Adam, which was blotted out by the death of Christ!

O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!

O happy fault, that merited to possess such and so great a Redeemer!

O vere beata nox, quae sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit! Haec nox est, de qua scriptum est: Et nox sicut dies illuminabitur: et nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis.

O truly blessed night, which alone deserved to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from hell! This is the night of which it is written: And the night shall be as clear as the day; and the night is my light in my delights.

Huius igitur sanctificatio noctis fugat scelera, culpas lavat: et reddit innocentiam lapsis, et moestis laetitiam. Fugat odia, concordiam parat, et curvat imperia.

Therefore the hallowing of this night puts to flight all wickedness, cleanses sins, and restores innocence to the fallen, and gladness to the sorrowful. It drives forth hatreds, it prepares concord, and brings down haughtiness.

In huius igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, incensi huius sacrificium vespertinum: quod tibi in hac Cerei oblatione solemni, per ministrorum manus de operibus apum, sacrosancta reddit Ecclesia.

Wherefore, in this sacred night, receive, O holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this incense, which holy Church renders to Thee by the hands of Thy ministers in the solemn offering of this wax candle, made out the work of bees.

Sed iam columnae huius praeconia novimus, quam in honorem Dei rutilans ignis accendit. Qui licet sit divisus in partes, mutuati tamen luminis detrimenta non novit. Alitur enim liquantibus ceris, quas in substantiam pretiosae huius lampadis, apis mater eduxit.

Now also we know the praises of this pillar, which the shining fire enkindles to the honor of God. Which fire, although divided into parts, suffers no loss from its light being borrowed. For it is nourished by the melting wax, which the mother bee produced for the substance of this precious light.

O vere beata nox, quae exspoiliavit Aegyptos, ditavit Hebraeos! Nox, in qua terrenis caelestia, humanis divina iunguntur.

O truly blessed night, which plundered the Egyptians and enriched the Hebrews! A night in which heavenly things are united to those of earth, and things divine to those which are of man.

Oramus ergo te, Domine: ut Cereus iste in honorem tui nominis consecratus, ad noctis huius caliginem destruendam, indeficiens perseveret. Et in odorem suavitatis acceptus, supernis luminaribus misceatur. Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat. Ille, qui regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit.

We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this wax candle hallowed in honor of Thy Name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may be united with the heavenly lights. Let the morning star find its flame alight. That star, I mean, which knows no setting. He Who returning from hell, serenely shone forth upon mankind.

Precamur ergo te, Domine: ut nos famulos tuos, omnemque clerum, et devotissimum populum: una cum beatissimo Papa nostro N. et Antistite nostro N. quiete temporum concessa, in his paschalibus gaudiis, assidua protectione regere, gubernare, et conservare digneris.

We beseech Thee therefore, O Lord, that Thou wouldst grant peaceful times during this Paschal Festival, and vouchsafe to rule, govern, and keep with Thy constant protection us Thy servants, and all the clergy, and the devout people, together with our most holy Father, Pope N...., and our Bishop N....

Respice etiam ad eos, qui nos in potestate regunt, et, ineffabili pietatis et misericordiae tuae munere, dirige cogitationes eorum ad iustitiam et pacem, ut de terrena operositate ad caelestem patriam perveniant cum omni populo tuo.

Have regard, also, for those who reign over us, and, grant them Thine ineffable kindness and mercy, direct their thoughts in justice and peace, that from their earthy toil, they may come to their heavenly reward with all Thy people.

Per Christum Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus:

Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God:

Per omnia saecula saeculorum.

World without end.

R. Amen.

R. Amen.

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