The book Of The Bible Lamentations
Tradition assigns authorship of Lamentations to Jeremiah, as the writing ex presses profound grief over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. The book is carefully constructed as a five-part poem. The first four poems (chapters) are acrostics, like some of the Psalms (25; 34; 37; 119), i.e., each verse starting with a letter of the Hebrew Alpha bet taken in order. The poetry wails against the disgrace and calamity that befell Jerusalem and assigns responsibility to the sinfulness and infidelity of the nation.
The misery and sorrow expressed in the book are also tempered by the enduring hope that the present chastisement will yield to God’s steadfast love and never-ending mercy (3.22-33). The same passage from Lamentations is offered as a choice for the first reading at Masses for the Dead, for the Burial of Children, and at Masses for Any Need (3.17-26). This passage focuses on the expression of hope in the midst of sorrow, a key message at the heart of the book.