The Divine Hours of Lent

There is no end to all the preconceptions and popular notions about what one should or must do during Lent. Undoubtedly, the most popular of them is that of “giving up something for Lent.” For centuries, the ‘something’ involved food. Nowadays, however, the something increasingly is a habit or an enjoyable activity other than that of eating or drinking. The wonderful thing about this shift is that it is quite in line with what the Church herself does. That is, while the Church mentions (but no longer universally urges) fasting from various foods and nourishments, it always denies itself during Lent the use of one of the sweetest gifts of all.
During Lent, the age-old cry of “Alleluia!” is silenced. From Ash Wednesday until Easter morning, the word lies, silent as the tomb, unspoken even in private devotion. For many Christian bodies, the whole of the Gloria–Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be. Alleluia. Amen.–is also silenced.
I am never so aware of Lent and its somber disciplines and restrictions and losses as I am when I stumble over the “Alleluia” that my lips and heart are used to offering and that is denied them for a time. To lose the Gloria is to lose the grandest, albeit simplest, cry of faith; and I can not set it aside, even for Lent. But I do keep the fast of omitting the Alleluia. I will feel that sacrifice keenly this morning when I go into my own church and worship with my own particular tribe of fellow-Christians.
But oh! Come Easter morning! Come the first moments of Eastertide, how we shall rejoice! How we shall cry out over and over again, like the famished we are, ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! Blessed be the name of God. ALLELUIA! That thought alone is my consolation this morning as I set out into another Sabbath bereft of its victory cry.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus