The Tract is the chanted proper which replaces the Alleluia in Lent. This coming Sunday’s Tract is the entire 16 verses of Psalm 90(91). The word tract comes from the Latin verb trahō , meaning drag, so the Lenten tracts are drawn-out or prolonged meditations. There are various explanations for why the Psalm is chanted in its entirety. One very convincing reason was given by the Modern Medievalism blog who cites his pastor’s sermon on the subject.

The Gospel for this Sunday relates how Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert. Taking Jesus to the parapet of the Temple, Satan urges Jesus to throw Himself down and let His Angels save Him, quoting Psalm 90: “He hath given His Angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

The blogger’s pastor explains how Satan takes the verse from Psalm 90 out of context, which is why the Church gives the entire Psalm as the Tract sung before the Gospel:

“The devil tricks us, my pastor said, by quoting Scripture out of context. To counter this deceit, the Church presents the entire psalm in the liturgy so that we can hear and understand what Satan tried to bend to his own ends in its full form.”

Learn Verses 5 and 6 of this sublime psalm in Latin:

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