A to Z: Alleluia!

In search for inspiration for this blog, I ran across one or two writers using the alphabet as a blogging theme; in particular, Cara Strickland, a new discovery for me, has some beautiful posts on her site.  At the moment, my brain is split between trying to keep this blog functioning, and planning and writing posts for the new website that is under construction.  (Spoiler alert: Isaiah 58:11)  In the hopes of managing both creative challenges, this alphabet bandwagon sounds like a good writing goal.

Happily, it is also the Easter season, and Carolyn Astfalk is hosting a joyful "Bonnets, Baskets and Bunnies" linkup over at My Scribbler's Heart.

Therefore, and because the last forty-ish days have been dreadfully lacking in the A-word, I want to shout it out loud:


Can I say it a few more times for good measure?  Honestly, it's just such an happy word!  Those four syllables (or five if you're particularly enunciating the penultimate vowel in singing) form the keystone of this liturgical season.  Because alleluia = praise the Lord = joy! We have been focused on penance and sorrow for our sins, but now Christ our God has broken the bonds of death.  Beyond this world of suffering lies the glory of the Heavenly Father.

The Holy Triduum is my favorite time of year.  My family manages behind-the-scenes for the Extraordinary Form liturgies at our parish, and it is such fun - although exhausting - being able to serve in that way.  (In fact, I kind of had a lightbulb moment and realized that acts of service are actually one of my love languages.)  Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday involved random activities such as ironing the floor (to remove wax), de-stamen-ing lilies, and sticking pins in the Easter candle after heating the ends in a blowtorch.  Don't ask.  The rest of the time was spent moving flowers, ironing linens, running errands for various people with more seniority than me, folding purple cloths, helping my dad set out all the requisite sacristy items, and generally being useful.  I also helped prepare a couple of flower arrangements, at which point it was reinforced that I am not a visual artist in any way, shape, or form.

Despite not being able to sing in the choir, or perhaps because of that, I think this was actually the best Holy Week yet.  I was able to enter into the rhythm of the days, and understand better the Why behind the What we were doing.  The still-fresh sorrow of my grandmother's passing helped me to understand the emptiness, loneliness, shock, and disbelief the apostles must have felt after the Crucifixion.  How could this happen?  How could this dear friend suddenly not be there?  Venerating the Cross felt like passing by Granny's open casket.

That heart-wrenching sorrow was balanced by Holy Saturday's preparations for the Vigil.  The knowledge that Easter is coming - we just have to hold on a few more hours - keeps us soberly joyful.  Perhaps this is the way that Mary would have felt, in her knowledge and trust in her Son despite the apostles' near-despair.

And finally, when the bells ring, the lights brighten, the organ plays, and the statues are unveiled, I felt a taste of the overwhelming joy of Mary Magdalene in the garden in her single gasp of Rabboni.  My God and my friend, you live!  Those days of agony and darkness are replaced with unspeakable hope and happiness.  Alleluia!  Praise the Lord!  
And now, it's time to pull out all the chocolate and sing Alleluia at the top of your voice!  Celebrate!  Christus surrexit hodie sicut dixit, alleluia!


  1. Thanks for linking up, Rebecca! Sorry to hear of your grandmother's death.

    There's nothing quite like the Alleluia after its long absence!

    And, if you have any tips from removing wax from leather shoes, I'm all ears. My altar server son experienced some candle drippage on Good Friday.

    1. If it's 100% beeswax and real leather, you can probably just buff the wax into the leather - although you may end up with one shoe shinier than the other. :) The other option, which is what we did on the floor, is to put a couple layers of paper towel over the wax, heat an iron (only to about medium, no steam) and put the iron over the wax. A hair dryer can work too, and the paper towel absorbs the wax as soon as it softens. It works for fabric and it's what we did for the floor, and I'm pretty sure if you're careful not to get the leather too hot, it would probably work on shoes. Another method is to use an ice pack to freeze the wax so that it will break off easily. Hopefully one of these ideas helps!


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