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Holy Week Liturgy

The Lamentations of Jeremiah
Lamentationes Ieremiae

The five chapters in Scriptures known as Lamentationes record the lamentings of the Prophet Jeremiah, crushed and desolate, mourning over the city of Jerusalem and the Lord's Temple after they were destroyed by the troops of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and the people had been taken away into captivity.

The Lamentations are sung in the Liturgy of the Church in the Office of the Passion during Holy Week. Since Christ himself designated His death as the destruction of the Temple (John 2:19-21), the Church pours out her grief over His death caused by the perfidy of the Jews and the sins of mankind in these poignant Lamentations of Jeremiah.

The laments are particularly moving in the present day period of History, when faithful Catholics mourn the self-destruction of the Church made by Progressivism and await her restoration.
In the first chapters of the Lamentations, each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet following in order (Aleph, Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Heth, etc.). The chant setting of the Lamentations uses extended melismas, that is, long groups of notes on the same vowel. This tradition is as old as Gregorian Chant itself.

In chapter 1 the Prophet dwells on the manifold miseries of the city that sits like a solitary widow weeping sorely.

In chapter 2 these miseries are described in connection with the national sins that caused them.

In chapter 3 Jeremiah speaks of hope for the people of God. The chastisement would only be for their good; a better day would dawn for them.

Listen to the Lamentations 1:1-5

The setting starts with the words Incipit lamentatio Ieremiae Prophetae:

1.1 ALEPH. Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! Facta est quasi vidua domina gentium; princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.

1.2 BETH. Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lacrimae eius in maxillis eius; non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus caris eius: omnes amici eius spreverunt eam et facti sunt ei inimici.

1.3 GHIMEL. Migravit Iudas propter afflictione et multitudine servitutis; habitavit inter gentes nec invenit requiem: omnes persecutores eius apprehenderunt eam inter angustias.

1.4 DALETH. Viae Sion lugent, eo quod non sint qui veniant ad solemnitatem; omnes portae eius destructae, sacerdotes eius gementes, virgines eius squalidae, et ipsa oppressa amaritudine.

1.5 HE. Facti sunt hostes eius in capite, inimici eius locupletati sunt, quia Dominus locutus est super eam propter multitudinem iniquitatum eius; parvuli eius ducti sunt captivitatem ante faciem tribulantis.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum (Hosea 14:1)

1.1. ALEPH. How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is the mistress of the peoples become as a widow: the Princes of provinces made tributary!

1.2. BETH. Weeping she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her: all her friends have despised her, and are become her enemies.

1.3. GHIMEL. Judah hath removed her dwelling place because of her affliction, and the greatness of her bondage: she hath dwelt among the nations, and she hath found no rest: all her persecutors have taken her in the midst of straits.

1.4. DALETH. The ways of Sion mourn, because there are none that come to the solemn feast: all her gates are broken down: her priests sigh: her virgins are in affliction, and she is oppressed with bitterness.

1.5. HE. Her adversaries are become her lords, her enemies are enriched: because the Lord hath spoken against her for the multitude of her iniquities: her children are led into captivity: before the face of the oppressor.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

Listen to the Lamentations 1:6-9

1.6 VAU. Et egressus est a filia Sion omnis decor ejus: facti sunt principes ejus velut arietes non invenientes pascus, et abierunt absque fortitudine, ante faciem subsequentis.

1.7 ZAIN. Recordata est Jerusalem dierum afflictionis suae, et praevaricationis omnium desiderabilium suorum, quae habuerat a diebus antiquis, cum caderet populus ejus in manu hostili, et non esset auxiliator. Viderunt eam hostes, et deriserunt sabbata ejus.

1.8 HETH. Peccatum peccavit Jerusalem; propterea instabilis facta est. Omnes qui glorificabant eam, spreverunt illam: quia viderunt ignominiam ejus. Ipsa autem gemens conversa est retrorsum.

1.9 TETH. Sordes ejus in pedibus ejus, nec recordata est finis sui. Deposita est vehementer, non habens consolatorem. Vide, Domine, afflictionem meam: quoniam erectus est inimicus.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum
1.6 VAU. And from the daughter of Sion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like rams that find no pastures: and they are gone away without strength before the face of the pursuer.

1.7 ZAIN. Jerusalem hath remembered the days of affliction, and prevarication of all her desirable things, which she had from the days of old, when her people fell in the enemy's hand, and there was no helper: the enemies have seen her, and have mocked her sabbaths.

1.8 HETH. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore has she become unstable: all that honored her have despised her, because they have seen her shame: but she sighed and turned backward..

1.9 TETH. Her filthiness is on her feet, and she hath not remembered her end: she is wonderfully cast down, not having a comforter: behold, O Lord, my affliction, because the enemy is lifted up.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

Listen to the Lamentations 1:10-14

1.10 JOD. Manum suam misit hostis ad omnia desiderabilia ejus: quia vidit gentes ingressas sanctuarium suum, de quibus praeceperas ne intrarent in ecclesiam tuam.

1.11 CAPH. Omnis populus ejus gemens, et quaerens panem, dederunt pretiosa quaeque pro cibo ad refocillandam animam. Vide, Domine, et considera, quoniam facta sum vilis.

1.12 LAMED. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus: quoniam vindemiavit me, ut locutus est Dominus in die irae furoris sui.

1.13 MEM. De excelso misit ignem in ossibus meis, et erudivit me: expandit retepedibus meis, convertit me retrorsum: posuit me desolatam, tota die moerore confectam.

1.14 NUN. Vigilavit jugum iniquitatum mearum: in manu ejus convolutae sunt, et impositae collo meo: infirmata est virtus mea: dedit me Dominus in manu, de qua non potero surgere.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum
1.10 Jod. The enemy hath put out his hand to all her desirable things: For she hath seen the Gentiles enter into her sanctuary, of whom thou gavest commandment that they should not enter into thy church.

1.11 CAPH. All her people sigh, they seek bread: they have given all their precious things for food to relieve the soul. See, O Lord, and consider, for I am become vile.

1.12 LAMED. O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow: for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the day of His fierce anger.

1.13 MEM. From above He hath sent fire into my bones, and hath chastised me: He hath spread a net for my feet, He hath turned me back; He hath made me desolate, wasted with sorrow all the day long.

1.14 NUN. The yoke of my iniquities hath watched for me: They are folded together in his hand, and put upon my neck: My strength is weakened: The Lord hath delivered me into a hand, out of which I am not able to rise.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God

Listen to the Lamentations 2:1-4

The setting starts with the words De lamentatione Ieremiae Prophetae:

2.1 HETH. Cogitavit Dominus dissipare murum filiae Sion; tetendit funiculum suum, non avertit manum suam a perditione; luxique antemurale et murus pariter dissipartus est.

2.2 TETH. Defixae sunt in terra portae eius; perdidit et contrivit vectes eius. Regem eius et principes eius in gentibus; non est lex, et prophetae eius non invenerunt visionem a Domino.

2.3 JOD. Sederunt in terra, conticuerunt senes filiae Sion, consperserunt cinere capita sua, accincti sunt ciliciis; abiecerunt in terram capita sua virgines Ierusalem.

2.4 CAPH. Defecerunt prae lacrimis oculi mei, conturbata sunt viscera mea; effusum est in terra iecur meum super contritione filiae populi mei, cum deficeret parvulus et lactens in plateis oppidi.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum

2.1 HETH. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Sion: He hath stretched out his line, and hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: And the bulwark hath mourned, and the wall hath been destroyed together.

2.2 TETH. Her gates are sunk into the ground: He hath destroyed, and broken her bars: Her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: The law is no more, and her prophets have found no vision from the Lord.

2.3 JOD. The ancients of the daughter of Sion sit upon the ground, They have held their peace: They have sprinkled their heads with dust, they are girded with haircloth, the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.

2.4 CAPH. My eyes have failed with weeping, my bowels are troubled: My liver is poured out upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, when the children, and the sucklings, fainted away in the streets of the city.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

Listen to the Lamentations 2:5-8

2.5 LAMED. Matriubs suis dixerunt: Ubi est triticum et vinum? Cum deficerent quasi vulnerati in plateis civitatis, cum exhalarent animas suas in sinu matrum suarum.

2.6 MEM. Cui comparabo te, vel cui assimilabo te filia Jerusalem? Cui exaequabo te, et consolabor te, virgo filia Sion? Magna est enim velut mare contritio tua: quis medebitur tui?

2.7 NUN. Prophetae tui viderunt tibi falsa et stulta: nec aperiebant iniquitatem tuam, ut te ad poenitentiam provocarent. Viderunt autem tibi assumptiones falsas, et ejectiones.

2.8 SAMECH. Plauserunt super te manibus omnes transeuntes per viam: sibilaverunt, et moverunt caput suum super filiam Jerusalem: Haeccine, est urbs, dicentes, perfecti decoris, gaudium universae terrae?

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum
2.5 LAMED. They said to their mothers: Where is corn and wine? When they fainted away as the wounded in the streets of the city; when they breathed out their souls in the bosoms of their mothers.

2.6 MEM. To what shall I compare thee, or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy destruction: who shall heal thee?

2.7 NUN. Thy propets have seen false and foolish things for thee; And they have not laid open thy iniquity, to excite thee to penance, but they have seen for thee false revelations and banishments.

2.8 SAMECH. All they that passed by the way have clapped their hands at thee: they have hissed and wagged their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying: Is this the city of perfect beauty, the joy of all the earth?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

Listen to the Lamentations 2:9-17

2.9 ALEPH. Ego vir videns paupertatem meam, in virga indignationis ejus.

2.10 ALEPH. Me minavit et adduxit in tenebras, et non in lucem.

2.11 ALEPH. Tantum in me vertit, et convertit manum suam tota die.

2.12 BETH. Vetustam fecit pellem meam et carnem meam: contrivit ossa mea.

2.13 BETH. Aedificavit in gyro meo, et circumdedit me felle et labore.

2.14 BETH. In tenebrosis collocavit me, quasi mortuos sempiternos.

2.15 GHIMEL. Circumaedificavit adversum me, ut non egrediar: aggravavit compendem meum.

2.16 GHIMEL. Sed et cum clamavero et rogavero, exclusit orationem meam.

2.17 GHIMEL. Conclusit vias meas lapidibus quadris, semitas meas subvertit.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum
2.9 ALEPH. I am a man that hath seen my poverty by the rod of His [God's] indignation.

2.10 ALEPH. He hath threatened me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.

2.11 ALEPH. Only against me he hath turned, and turned again his hand all the day.

2.12 BETH. My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones.

2.13 BETH. He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall and labor.

2.14 BETH. He hath set me in dark places as those that are dead forever.

2.15 GHIMEL. He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out: He hath made my fetters heavy.

2.16 GHIMEL. Yea, and when I cry and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer.

2.17 GHIMEL. He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

   Listen to the Lamentations 3:1-9

The setting starts with the words De lamentatione Ieremiae Prophetae:

3.1 HETH. Misericordiae Domini, quia non sumus consumpti, quia non defecerunt miserationes eius.

3.2 HETH. Novi diluculo, multa est fides tua.

3.3 HETH. Pars mea Dominus, dixit anima mea; propterea exspectabo eum.

3.4 TETH. Bonus est Dominus sperantibus in eum, animae quaerenti illum.

3.5 TETH. Bonum est praestolari cum silentio salutare Dei.

3.6 TETH. Bonum est viro, cum portaverit iugum ab adolescentia sua.

3.7 IOD. Sedebit solitarius et tacebit, quia levavit super se.

3.8 IOD. Ponet in pulvere os suum, si forte sit spes.

3.9 IOD. Dabit percutienti se maxillam, saturabitur opprobriis.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum

3.1 Heth. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed, because his commiserations have not failed.

3.2 Heth. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.

3.3 Heth. The Lord is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I wait for him.

3.4 Teth. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.

3.5 Teth. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.

3.6 Teth. It is good for a man, when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.

3.7 Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he hath taken it up upon himself.

3.8 Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.

3.9 Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

   Listen to the Lamentations 3:10-15

3.10 ALEPH. Quomodo obscuratum est aurum, mutatus est color optimus, dispersi sunt lapides sanctuarii in capite omnium platearum?

3.11 BETH. Filii Sion inclyti, et amicti auro primo: quomodo reputati sunt in vasa testea, opus manuum figuli?

3.12 GHIMEL. Sed et lamiæ nudaverunt mammam, lactaverunt catulos suos: filia populi mei crudelis, quasi struthio in deserto.

3.13 DALETH. Adhæsit lingua lactentis ad palatum ejus in siti: parvuli petierunt panem, et non erat qui frangeret eis.

3.14 HE. Qui vescebantur voluptuose interierunt in viis; qui nutriebantur in croceis, amplexati sunt stercora.

3.15 VAU. Et major effecta est iniquitas filiae populi mei peccato Sodomorum: quae subversa est in momento, et non cœperunt in ea manus.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum

3.10 ALEPH. How is that the gold become dim, the finest color is changed, the stones of the sanctuary are scattered in the top of every street?

3.11 BETH. The noble sons of Sion, and they that were clothed with the best gold: How are they esteemed as earthen vessels, the work of the potter's hands?

3.12 GHIMEL. Even the sea-monsters have drawn out the breast, they have given suck to their young: The daughter of my people is cruel, like the ostrich in the desert.

3.13 DALETH. The tongue of the sucking child hath stuck to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them.

3.14 HE. They who were fed delicately have died in the streets: They who were brought up in scarlet, have embraced the dung.

3.15 VAU. And the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and hands took nothing in her.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord your God

   Listen to the Prayer of Jeremiah

The setting starts with the words Incipit Oratio Ieremiae Prophetae:

Recordare, Domine, quid acciderit nobis: intuere, et respice opprobrium nostrum. Haereditas nostra versa est ad alienos, domus nostrae ad extraneos. Pupilli facti sumus absque patre: matres nostrae quasi viduae. Aquam nostram pecunia bibimus; ligna nostra pretio comparavimus. Cervicibus nostris minabamur: lassis non dabatur requies. Aegypto dedimus manum, et Assyriis, ut saturaremur pane. Patres nostri peccaverunt, et non sunt: et nos iniquitates eorum portavimus. Servi dominati sunt nostri: non fuit qui redimeret de manu eorum. In animabus nostris afferebamus panem nobis, a facie gladii in deserto. Pellis nostra quasi clibanus exusta est, a facie tempestatum famis. Mulieres in Sion humiliaverunt, et virginies in civitatibus Juda.

Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.

Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us: Consider and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to aliens, our houses to strangers. We are become orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows. We have drunk our water for money: We have bought our wood. We were dragged by the necks, we were weary and no rest was given us. We have given our hand to Egypt, and to the Assyrians, that we might be satisfied with bread. Our fathers have sinned, and are not, and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: There was none to redeem us out of their hand. We fetched our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword in the desert. Our skin was burnt as an oven, by reason of the violence of the famine. They oppressed the women in Sion, and the virgins in the cities of Juda.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God

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The Prophet Jerimiah mourning over Jerusalem

Jeremiah mourning over Jerusalem

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