Our Easter season is more than half past but it is still the season of that somewhat strange word “alleluia” in the liturgy – both of the Mass and the Divine Office. It is almost certainly a word that has it origins in the middle eastern roots of Christianity – one which is still used in its oldest form anywhere native women of that area raise a joyful “shout.” Given what all is going on in that part of the world, one supposes than the “lu, lu, lu” in not heard often. Sad to say.
Why do we sing this word? Once again, sharing from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
“Singing indicates that the person is passing beyond the boundaries of the merely rational and falling into a kind of ecstasy; the merely rational he can express in ordinary language (that is why overly rational people are seldom tempted to sing). ….Now singing finds its climactic form in the Alleluia, the song in which the very essence of all song achieves its purest embodiment….In fact we are dealing here with something that cannot be translated. The joy that requires no words because it transcends all words. In this it resembles certain kinds of exultation and jubilation that are to be found among all peoples …. What does it mean to sing with “jubilation”? It means: to be unable to express in words, or to verbalize, the song that sings to you in your heart. … A jubilus is a shout that shows the heart is trying to express what it cannot possibly say. And to whom is such a jubilus more fittingly directed than to him who is himself ineffable? …The Alleluia is like a first revelation of what can and shall someday take place in us: our entire being shall turn into a single immense joy.”