Sunday, January 31, 2010

No Alleluias

The Sundays of Epiphany (Little Christmas) are now over. Sunday past, on the old calendar, was Septuagesima Sunday, seventy days prior to Resurrection Sunday, approximo. Centuries ago, it was common to bury the Alleluia on the day before.* The choir would sing Alleluia, dulce carmen and the Depositio would occur, a banner or tablet, or plaque reading 'Alleluia' would be placed in a coffin (box) and buried (deposited) somewhere in the church.

The beauty of allegory in the church was deep and bountiful, it is a tragedy so much has been abandoned. The post-Christmas season was followed by a pre-lenten season. People can stretch Christmas to Mardi Gras, the day prior to first day of Lent (Ash Wednesday). The pre-lenten season was begun with Septuagesima. Lent parallels the forty days in the wilderness, and the forty years in the desert. Septuagesima parallels the seventy years in exile in Babylon.

And the psalm (136) of the exile is Super flumina Babylonis. A marvelous lyric that is known well in jamaican reggae and folk music as The Rivers of Babylon. And in Babylon we can not sing the songs of Sion. No Alleluia's for a while, and here in Lennongrad, we understand.
*On the new calendar the pre-Lent is replaced by Ordinary Time, and the Alleluia burial can be done on the last Sunday before Lent. It was simply a cloth with the word, Alleluia, on it, at St. Lawrence in Cleveland. It was on the altar of sacrifice during the Mass, and removed at the end of Mass. It is very few churches that do even that much now. Considering the current situation in the diocese, it is sort of a permanent depositio.

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