For the last couple of weeks or so the first reading (in the Office of the Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours) have been an intense tour through Revelations.
What an awesome treat.
With that as a background, yesterday’s second reading is known as The Easter Alleluia, and it is from a discourse on the psalms by St. Augustine of Hippo. I think I’ll just share it in its entirety, & let St. Augustine speak directly to your heart.
The Easter Alleluia
Our thoughts in this present life should turn on the praise of God, because it is in praising God that we shall rejoice for ever in the life to come; and no one can be ready for the next life unless he trains himself for it now. So we praise God during our earthly life, and at the same time we make our petitions to him. Our praise is expressed with joy, our petitions with yearning. We have been promised something we do not yet possess, and because the promise was made by one who keeps his word, we trust him and are glad; but insofar as possession is delayed, we can only long and yearn for it. It is good for us to persevere in longing until we receive what was promised, and yearning is over; then praise alone will remain.
Because there are these two periods of time–the one that now is, beset with the trials and troubles of this life, and the other yet to come, a life of everlasting serenity and joy–we are given two liturgical seasons, one before Easter and the other after.The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future. What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess. This is why we keep the first season with fasting and prayer; but now the fast is over and we devote the present season to praise. Such is the meaning of the Alleluia we sing.
Both these periods are represented and demonstrated for us in Christ our head. The Lord’s passion depicts for us our present life of trial–shows how we must suffer and be afflicted and finally die. The Lord’s resurrection and glorification show us the life that will be given to us in the future.
Now therefore, brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say Alleluia. You say to your neighbor, “Praise the Lord!” and he says the same to you. We are all urging one another to praise the Lord, and all thereby doing what eac h of us urges the others to do. But see that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your actions.
We are praise God now, assembled as we are in church; but when we go our various ways again, it seems as if we cease to praise God. But provided we do not cease to live a good life, we shall always be praising God. You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive yoru intentions; for as our ears hear each other’s voies, so do God’s ears hear our thoughts.
Btw, in thanksgiving for spring I’ve posted a new blog header, a recent photo of flowers blooming in our yard.