The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Liturgical recycling

Canisius | 27 May, 2007 22:05

Dom Gueranger comments (IX,273) that the Easter candle used to be lit again at the vigil Mass of Pentecost, because this Mass was a kind of second Easter vigil when it came to administering the sacraments of initiation.

So they used to keep the Easter candle burning during the time when Jesus is with us (liturgically speaking), then putting it out on Ascension Thursday when Jesus leaves us, and then relight it when the Paraclete came, the Spirit of Jesus who accompanied the apostles. With the coming of the Paraclete, the desciples were no longer left alone, but the presence of Jesus was with them in his power, the Spirit.

This symbolism seems to me beautiful, but the Church has decided not to use it. Now she burns the candle at every Mass from Easter vigil through Pentecost without exception. It was a great thing, but the Church has seen fit to throw it out, so to speak.

That being the case, why not indulge in a bit of liturgical dumpster diving? We can recycle the old symbols by using them in the home! In particular, I am thinking that we could light a candle for our family altars on Easter, burn the candle during daily prayers all the way until Ascension, have a family ritual in which we extinguish the candle on that day, and then relight it once more for Pentecost.

The only objection I can see to this proposal is that the Church may have detected some kind of theological danger in the ritual suppressed. In this case, however, I don't see any problem in that regard.


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