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The Times for Saying Alleluia

Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Chapter 15

From the holy feast of Easter until Pentecost, "Alleluia" is always said with both the psalms and the responsories. Every night from Pentecost until the beginning of Lent, it is said only with the last six psalms of Vigils. Vigils, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext and None are said with "alleluia" every Sunday except in Lent; at Vespers, however, a refrain is used. "Alleluia" is never said with responsories except from Easter to Pentecost.

The Navahos wrote,"We felt like talking to the ground, we loved it so." Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "The earth laughs in flowers." Benedict of Nursia wrote, say "alleluia" always, no matter the time of day, no matter the season of life.

The use of the alleluia dates back to the earliest of liturgical formularies, both Jewish and Christian, as an endless, chant of joy. In the Christian community it was an expression of praise and a foretaste of eternal gladness. "We are an Easter people," Augustine wrote, "and Alleluia is our cry."

Benedict of Nursia did not originate the use of the alleluia but one thing he did do was to extend its use to every day of the year except Lent.

The prescription is a telling one. To the Benedictine mind, life in all its long nights and weary days is something to be praised, death is the rivet of joy, there is no end to the positive. Even life in hot fields and drab offices and small houses is somehow one long happy thought when God is its center, and blessings, however rare, however scant, are blessed.