To our dear friends,
Alas … the beginning of Lent. Blessed Ash Wednesday to you, and Happy Valentine's Day to our true Love, Jesus, the Bridegroom of the Church!
We hope you are keeping well and surviving the flu season. Our sisters finally succumbed to the bug and are now trying to recover with the help of medicine, rest, chicken soup and fluids. One of the intercessions in today’s Morning Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday helps put our little sufferings in the perspective of our Faith:
May we bear the wounds of your Son in our bodies;
--for through his body he gave us life.
To start this solemn season we would like to share with you another custom of our Carmel called “Goodbye to Alleluia”. We hope you enjoy it. We have simply copied the ceremony below as we use it each year.
Our sincere hope and prayer is that we all have the grace to fully enter in to the desert with Jesus this Lent in the particular way our Lord desires for each one of us, and know that our prayers are with you!
Shrove Tuesday “Goodbye, Farewell, to Alleluia”
I. Opening Reading:
The calendar of the Liturgical Year will, in less than seven weeks, bring us to the great solemnities of the commemoration of the Passion and Resurrection of Our Redeemer. It is time for us Christians to prepare our souls. Holy Mother Church wants to rouse our hearts and to infuse her spirit into our minds.
On this eve of Ash Wednesday, she takes the song of heaven away from us—the “Alleluia”—which gives us a fellowship with the choirs of angels. How have we mortals, poor sinners become so familiar with it? To sing it worthily, we must have our hearts set on the heaven from which it came It is not a mere word, nor a profane unmeaning melody. It is the song that recalls for us the land we are banished from. For us, it is the sweet sigh of the soul longing to be at home.
The word “Alleluia” signifies “Praise God” but it says much more and it says it as no other word could. Its mysterious beauty is a s though a drop of heaven’s overflowing joy had fallen on our earth. It signifies the eternal feast of the beauty of God’s Face.
Holy Mother Church will not interrupt her praise to God but she will replace the heaven-lent word with our language of earth: “Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.” By this taking away of our Alleluia, she is telling us that our lips must be cleansed before they are again permitted to utter this word of angels and saints and our hearts purified by repentance and love. Let us with humble hearts confess we are sinners.
Farewell to Alleluia in the Middle Ages varied. Sometimes an antiphon of affectionate enthusiasm for the beauty of the word; sometimes heart-felt regret at its departure as companion of our prayers, or sometimes hope of its return when Jesus’ Resurrection brightens the Church.
II. SELECTION OF ANCIENT ANTIPHONS READ BY INDIVIDUAL SISTERS:
May the good angel of the Lord accompany thee, Alleluia, and give thee a good journey, that thou mayst come back to us in joy, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Alleluia, abide with us today; and tomorrow thou shalt set forth, Alleluia; and when the day shall have risen, thou shalt proceed on thy way, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
To thee, Jesus almighty! our voices give glory: to thee we say: Eternal Alleluia! Eternal Alleluia! Amen.
Be glad on the day of its happy return; and return to your Lord with your melody of glory, the eternal Alleluia.
III. PROCESSION TO CHOIR SINGING VARIETY OF ALLELUIAS INTONED BY EACH SISTER:
IV. CHOIR IS DARK. WE ENTER IN PROCESSION GENUFLECTING TWO BY TWO AND GOING TO OUR PLACES HOLDING THE CANDLES.
PRIORESS: May Alleluia, that sacred and joyful word resound to God’s praise from the lips of all people.
PRIORESS: May this word, which expresses glory as chanted by the choirs of angels, be sweet as sung by the voices of believers.
ALL: May the Lord’s good angel go with thee, Alleluia, and prepare all good things for thy journey. And again come back to us with joy, Alleluia.
V. WHOLE CHOIR SINGS FINAL FAREWELL ALLELUIA.
VII. PRIORESS COVERS ALLELUIA BANNER AT THE ALTAR. ALL BLOW OUT THEIR CANDLES.