Understanding the Components of the Great Vigil of Easter

Lighting the New Fire We gather in the darkness to confront our sin, our fears, our weakness, our needs as human beings. The darkness is pierced with the energy of creation and of the new creation in the new fire of Easter.
The Paschal Candle The darkness is further pierced when the Paschal candle is lit from this fire, Christ our light who leads us as the children of Israel were led by a pillar of fire by night, from the darkness of sin and death to the promised land flowing with milk and honey. We too follow the pillar of fire, not through the Red Sea, but through the waters of baptism which lead us to eternal life.
Exultet The Exultet is the poem proclaimed at the Easter vigil in praise of God for the light of the Paschal candle - for the coming glory of the Resurrection.
The Light of Christ!  
The Readings In the Scripture readings this night, we call to mind God's saving love through human history which is symbolized with the water of baptism and food in the Eucharist. These stories remind us, and tell the new Christians what it MEANS to be God's people.
Initiation We respond to God's gift of eternal life by bringing new members to God and we baptize them. On this night, the faithful also renew their own baptismal vows and refresh ourselves with the water of life.