S e n t i r e C u m E c c l e s i a

"To keep ourselves right in all things, we ought to hold fast to this principle: What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it. For we believe that between Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and the Church, His Spouse, there is the one same Spirit who governs and guides us for the salvation of our souls..." - Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius [365]

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Third Sunday of Advent -- Rejoice Sunday

Today, we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, with only one more Sunday to go before Christmas Day. Traditionally, the Third Sunday of Advent is called "Gaudete Sunday" (Rejoice Sunday). If we notice, we will light the third and only pink candle in our advent wreath, and the vestments to be used at Mass is also colored pink. The color pink denotes joy, stresses joyful celebration.

And it is rightfully so. The readings give much importance to the the joy that we must foster during this season. The prophet Isaiah in the First Reading speaks of joy for God's indwelling Spirit that prods to proclaim the year of favor from the Lord. St. Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians exhorts his converts to rejoice always and to give thanks for this is God's Holy Will. Added to that, we borrow the words of Our Lady for the psalm, singing "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior." This Sunday, we are reminded, and we are exhorted by the Church to rejoice, to exult, for Christ's coming is at hand, for our salvation has finally come!

Let us pray then, with the Church, that we may celebrate most worthily and with utmost joy Gaudete Sunday, in glad anticipation for the Lord's coming:

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
which his presence will bestow,
for he is Lord for ever and ever. AMEN.


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