The recent liturgical and pastoral experience of the church has brought about a heightened awareness that the paschal mystery is the very wellspring of the church year. Individuals and communities who engage themselves wholeheartedly in living the entire paschal cycle--Lent, Triduum and Easter's Fifty Days--discover, not that they have taken hold of the pasch, but that the pasch has seized them and changed them forever! This is especially so of the Triduum which, standing at the heart of the paschal cycle, is an intense immersion in the fundamental mystery of what it is to be Christian and to be church. Year after year, those who keep the Triduum hunger in fasting and rejoice in feasting, share in death and resurrected life, contemplate cross-unto-glory, tell and hear the great stories of salvation, emerge fresh- robed from the waters into light and fragrant anointing, sing songs of victory and taste of the wedding banquet of heaven and earth. In these most human and yet most divine actions, the old passes into the radically new.
The term "pasch" appears often in the following pages, both within the texts themselves and in the headings. This usage parallels the marked increase of paschal vocabulary since the Second Vatican Council and it reflects the renewed appreciation of the richness of this venerable terminology from our Jewish roots and Christian tradition.
Many council documents speak of the paschal mystery. In a well-known passage from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the entire redemptive work of Jesus is placed in the context of the pasch: Christ the Lord achieved his task of redeeming humanity and giving perfect glory to God, principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension, whereby "dying, he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life." (#5) The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, issued in 1969, emphasize the significance of the celebration of the Triduum:
Of course, an emphasis on the pasch of Christ and of the church is not an innovation of the twentieth century! From its beginning, the Christian community, influenced by Jewish customs and writings, developed its own language and symbolism for the paschal mystery. Both the Christian scriptures and the patristic writings reflect how the community has continued to treasure and savor the multivalent meanings of pasch. This anthology demonstrates the abundance of ways in which this appreciation of pasch has been expressed and embodied in ritual, word, song and gesture.
Many of the selections in this collection emphasize that the pasch of the Lord is one unified festival, and that the days and services of the liturgical pasch are as moments of time within this single mystery of faith. Images from each of the three days overlap and overtake each other, a fact which often prompted the compilers of this collection to question where, among several possibilities, a particular passage might most suitably be placed. The framework of the paschal Triduum as three days which are but one continuum in time provides the structure of this anthology. Within that framework, the texts and readings, prayers, hymns and commentaries gen- erally follow the customary order of the liturgical services.
The revised edition of A Triduum Sourcebook is new in several respects. One of these is in the names given to the individual days of the Triduum. Across the centuries and in different cultures, the days of the Triduum have acquired various designations. However, the unitive character of these three days is perhaps best captured in using the "pasch" terminology of the patristic era. This ancient term both discloses the fundamental meaning of the individual days while underscoring their essential and indissoluble oneness. Accordingly, the three main sections in this collection are: Friday of the Pasch, the Paschal Night and Sunday of the Pasch. Saturday's daytime hours-- venerated as the original Sabbath, especially in Eastern Christian tradition--comprise the blessed day of the Lord's rest. For this period, the ancient term "Blessed Sabbath" is used. Thursday is primarily the final day of Lent; only its last few hours belong to the Triduum according to our current calendar. The Christian pasch begins at sundown, much in the manner of Jewish festivals. The evening of Thursday is thus a kind of entrance into the three- day festival proper.
Readers may find the page headings helpful in grouping the texts. The headings on right-hand pages change often to signal a shift in focus. The first piece in each of these smaller units is marked with art in the margin of the page. The headings on the left-hand page identify central images. The table of contents provides an overview of these images.
The translation used for the scripture passages in A Triduum Sourcebook is primarily from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. The translations of the psalms and canticles are those of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). The language in many other texts has been rendered inclusively, although for a variety of reasons, including copyright requirements, non-inclusive language was often retained. Some prayers and texts that have been included here are draft versions of the new Roman Missal, which is being prepared by ICEL. In all three volumes, ellipses note when text has been omitted; however, not all omissions are identified for aesthetic reasons. At times a text appears more than once within these volumes. Such texts may be adaptations or re-translations of an original Latin text. Often one translation may appeal to a reader more than another, or a reader may "hear" the text in a new way because it is in a different setting.
A number of other features of interest characterize the present collection. Texts of chants, hymns and songs represent the multitude of settings in which the Christian community has sung of the paschal mystery through the ages. In recognition and affirmation of the domestic church where many hours of the Triduum are spent, there are table prayers and accounts of customs for the home. An expanded use of ecumenical resources also marks this edition. Several passages in "Sunday of the Pasch" focus on the presence of the women at the tomb of Jesus. These passages include a short medieval drama as well as historical reflections on the ways in which the church has pondered and celebrated the events of that morning in which women play so central a role. It is the nature of a revised edition to set aside some pre- viously used texts and to incorporate new ones. For the sake of manageability, this expanded edition comprises three vol- umes. However, these volumes are not intended to parallel the three days themselves. For that reason, the volumes flow into one another as though a seamless entity, mirroring the three-day pasch itself. How can the longest of the Sourcebooks be offered for the shortest of the seasons? There are two principal reasons. First, these days of the Triduum contain the motive of the whole year; it has thus generated an abundance of prayers, songs, poetry, gestures and images. Second, and above all, the church community is to be free in these three days: free of work, free of food, free of distractions, and thus free for the quiet and reflection and liturgy. In that freedom, these volumes can be of service.
The sheer number of selections included here-- nearly one thousand in all--invites the reader to an imaginative use of this collection beyond the three days. It might serve as a tool for preparing for the three days or as a treasury of texts focusing on the paschal mystery which is integral to our worship on every Sunday and to our lives every day. Because of the large number of texts, this Sourcebook also contains indices, both an index of authors and sources and an index of first lines. The indices, found in volume three, are pro- vided to aid readers who use this book as a resource in pas- toral, catechetical or educational contexts. It is the hope of all who have participated in the creation of the present sourcebook that these words will be true of this new edition, as indeed they were of the first. May those who keep the paschal Triduum know the fulfillment of the prayer of an early Greek hymn, "O pasch, sanctify all believers." - Joan Halmo (from the Introduction)
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