Be Alleluia People

The Hebrew word Alleluia/Halleluya as an expression of praise to God was preserved, untranslated, by the early Christians as a superlative expression of thanksgiving, triumph, and praise. It was used in many ways in early liturgies, especially favored in Paschal Time, the time between Easter and Pentecost, perhaps because of the association of the Hallel (Alleluia Psalms) chanted at Passover.

Chapter 15 of the Rule of Benedict, The Times for Saying Alleluia, is a short chapter and can be easily missed or thought of as unimportant. There seems to be nothing in the chapter except a list of times when Alleluia should be said or sung at the Liturgy of the Hours. However, the inclusion of this chapter indicates that praying with the word Alleluia throughout the year, except for Lent, must have been important for Benedict.

Psalms that make up much of the Liturgy of the Hours take us through the pain and hardships of this world. Benedict would have us answer this pain with the hope of Christ’s Resurrection. Alleluia used in Revelation 19 “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power to our God …” and in the Liturgy of the Hours reminds us that our prayer together on earth is meant to be an anticipation of our prayer together in Heaven. We are to be Alleluia people!

In Chapter 49: The Observance of Lent, Benedict is insistent that those who follow in his footsteps should expect life to be “a continuous Lent.” Quickly he lightens these words by reminding us to look forward to Easter “with joy and spiritual longing.”

So our lives should be a continuous Lent and also a continuous Easter. Interesting challenge for one and all don’t you think?