Daily Meditations on the Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 15

To be read: February 18, June 19, October 21

From the holy feast of Easter until Pentecost “Alleluia” is to always be said both with the psalms and responsories.  2From Pentecost until the beginning of Lent it is only said during Vigils with the last six psalms.  3However, on all Sundays outside of Lent, all of the canticles and services of Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, and None are said with Alleluia.  At Vespers, however, the antiphon is used.  4Alleluia is never said with the responsories except from Easter to Pentecost. 

When is it appropriate to say “Alleluia”?  It seems an odd question.  How is ever NOT appropriate to say, “Praise the Lord”?  According to Benedict, and the common practice of the liturgical Church in general, Alleluia is not to be said during Lent.  My wife would argue that if Sunday is ALWAYS a feast day of our Lord’s resurrection, then why can we not say Alleluia on Sundays in Lent.  And, if the argument is that this exhortation to praise is not used in penitential circumstances, then why in chapter 12 of the Rule does Benedict prescribe Alleluia to be said in the context of reciting Psalm 51?

Alleluia is an appropriate response to God’s grace regardless of the time of year.  However, the liturgy should reflect the focus and purpose of the seasonal observance.  Is it wrong to be penitential during the Easter Season?  No, but that should not be the main focus of the seasonal observance.  So, neither is it wrong to sing Alleluia to God during Lent, however, it would not profit the faithful to make praise the focus during this season of cleansing and purifying by means of penitence.  It is important to have these liturgical reminders of our need for repentance.

At all other times, “on all Sundays outside of Lent” the offices are to be said with Alleluia, as is appropriate for those of us who have received His gift of redemption.


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