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Our week begins with “Gaudete Sunday.” Gaudete means “rejoice” in Latin. It comes from the first word of the Entrance antiphon on Sunday. The spirit of joy that begins this week comes from the words of Paul, “The Lord is near.” This joyful spirit is marked by the third candle of our Advent wreath, which is rose coloured, and the rose coloured vestments often used at the Eucharist.
Preparing our Hearts and asking for Grace
We prepare this week by feeling the joy. We move through this week feeling a part of the waiting world that rejoices because our longing has prepared us to believe the reign of God is close at hand. And so we consciously ask:
Prepare our hearts and remove the sadness that hinders us from feeling the joy and hope which his presence will bestow.
Each morning this week, in that brief moment we are becoming accustomed to, we want to light a third inner candle. Three candles, going from expectation, to longing, to joy. They represent our inner preparation, or inner perspective. In this world of “conflict and division,” “greed and lust for power,” we begin each day this week with a sense of liberating joy. Perhaps we can pause, breathe deeply and say,
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.”
We may experience the Light shining into dark places of our lives and showing us patterns of sinfulness, and inviting us to experience God’s mercy and healing. Perhaps we wish to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week. We may want to make gestures of reconciliation with a loved one, relative, friend or associate. With more light and joy, it is easier to say, “I’m sorry; let’s begin again.”
Each night this week we want to pause in gratitude. Whatever the day has brought, no matter how busy it has been, we can stop, before we fall asleep, to give thanks for a little more light, a little more freedom to walk by that light, in joy.
Our celebration of the coming of our Saviour in history, is opening us up to experience his coming to us this year, and preparing us to await his coming in Glory.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come and visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.