Sunday, December 13, 2009
I have no trouble summoning joy on Gaudete Sunday. Many moons ago, on the Saturday before the Third Sunday of Advent, I got engaged. I remember perfectly the joy of the day- the proposal at the Grotto at Our Lady's University, the blessing of the engagement in the Law School chapel, sharing the news with friends, the drive home through the blizzard, and an engagement party that the priest and MC braved the elements to attend. The years of waiting, akin to the season of Advent were over.
Zenit has a beautiful reflection on the Third Sunday of Advent. Here's a snippet:
In today's second reading, St. Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord always [Philippians 4:4-7; see also Philippians 2:18; 3:1;4.4). The rejoicing to which St. Paul invites us, and which forms the heart of the Advent season. But we must ask ourselves, what did persecuted Christians have to rejoice about? The answer is their relationship with the Lord, which can even become stronger and more intimate in times of persecution. Their joy is not in their circumstance; indeed it is often in spite of their circumstance. Rather it is in the Lord. Sheer joy arises out of a deep and abiding relationship with God that carries the believer through all sorts of trials and tribulations. Rejoicing in the Lord is a sort of adoration, and adoration often takes the form of prayer. Rejoicing constantly leads to praying and praising repeatedly. Since Paul refers to giving thanks after he mentions prayer, it is probable that the term "praying" refers to petitioning God in some form, perhaps interceding for self and others in some manner.