Throwback Thursday: The Alleluia Which We Sing
May 19, 2022
Alleluia! We sing and shout this one-word hymn of praise throughout the Easter season. Augustine here writes of the Easter season itself as a foretaste of our heavenly bliss, and he urges us to praise the Lord as we sing our alleluias.
The subject of our meditation in this present life should be the praises of God; for the everlasting exaltation of our life hereafter will be the praise of God, and none can become fit for the life hereafter, who has not practised himself for it now. So then now we praise God, but we pray to Him too. Our praise is marked by joy, our prayer by groans….On account of these two seasons, one, that which now is in the temptations and tribulations of this life, the other, that which is to be hereafter in everlasting rest and exultation; we have established also the celebration of two seasons, that before Easter and that after Easter. That which is before Easter signifies tribulation, in which we now are; that which we are now keeping after Easter, signifies the bliss in which we shall hereafter be. The celebration then which we keep before Easter is what we do now: by that which we keep after Easter we signify what as yet we have not. Therefore we employ that time in fastings and prayer, this present time we spend in praises, and relax our fast. This is the Alleluia which we sing, which, as you know, means (in Latin), Praise ye the Lord. Therefore that period is before the Lord’s Resurrection, this, after His Resurrection: by which time is signified the future hope which as yet we have not: for what we represent after the Lord’s Resurrection, we shall have after our own.
—Exposition on Psalm 148 by Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Photo: Holy Communion at Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, by Scott Gunn