Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaudete Sunday

Today, which marks the Third Sunday of Advent, is Gaudete Sunday. The word gaudete is Latin for rejoice and is taken from the introit for today's Mass, which, in turn, is taken from Philippians 4:4-5: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice! The Lord is near."

This year, Gaudete Sunday falls on St. Lucy's day, which, along with St. Nicholas' day, is a big deal in our house. I always find it delightful when a the feast of a great saint falls on Sunday because it reminds us that it is all about Jesus, our Lord, to whom Santa Lucia gave witness through her matryrdom.

I especially like the alternative prayer for this Sunday, which can be used as the Opening Prayer for Mass and the final prayer for Lauds and Vespers:

"Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
ever faithful to your promises
and ever close to your Church:
the earth rejoices in hope of the Savior's coming
and looks forward with longing
to his return at the end of time.

"Prepare our hearts and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope
which his presence will bestow,
for he is Lord for ever and ever"

I am slowly learning that life in Christ just has to be lived, through living comes joy. There are so many silly things that can distract me. Preaching spontaneously at a baptism a few months ago, I said something like "The Gospel is simple: love God with all you heart, might, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself. What clouds this simplicity is sin. First, my own sinfulness, then that of others. Even so, the simplicity remains and in order to be holy I have to live this simplicity, which is difficult, but with God nothing is impossible."

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