Not Say Alleluia During Lent?

HeIsRisenAs a Catholic routine becomes, at times second nature.  Some of us maybe don’t even need the worship booklet because we know exactly what readings and songs come where.  But, during Lent you may want to grab a copy of the worship booklet because one of those songs changes, that being the alleluia.  The change in music is enough to ask, “Why Do Catholic not say Alleluia during Lent?”

The simple answer to this question is understood when looking at what each season represents.  All of the songs, readings, and even the environment help to convey the themes of the different seasons.  The traditional themes of Lent are: repentance, patience, anticipation, and even sorrow.  During Lent we reflect on our sins and failures and answer the call from Ash Wednesday, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” We wait patiently and anticipate Jesus being raised from the dead on Easter.  Finally we feel sorrow as we emphasize with Jesus’ death on the cross.

Alleluia comes from the Hebrew word meaning, “praise Yahweh,” and is traditionally sung to honor God in great joy.  With that being said, the word alleluia, given its positive context, opposes the themes of Lent.  Therefore by removing the song alleluia from Lent we are asked to “symbolically” enter into those Lenten themes of repentance, patience, anticipation, and sorrow.  In a kind of “reverse psychology” sort of way by not singing alleluia we greatly anticipate the next opportunity to sing alleluia, which is Easter Sunday.  Of course, it is on Easter Sunday or rather at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night that our anticipation is over and we can rejoice in “praising” God with the alleluia.