Sunday of the 3rd Week of Advent
Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday
1st Reading IS 61:1-2A, 10-11
Psalm LK 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54. My soul rejoices in my God.
2nd Reading 1 THES 5:16-24
Gospel JN 1:6-8, 19-28
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thess. 5:16
There is a change in the air today. Can you feel it?
Today is Gaudete Sunday – Rejoice Sunday. The name is taken from the introit (traditional opening chant) for today’s liturgy: “Rejoice in the Lord always”, or “Gaudete in Domino semper.”
Today we light the pink candle and the priest (and altar) likewise wears pink (or rose or whatever they want to call it!).
It is still Advent. It is still a thoughtful season where we focus on righting our relationship with God. It is still a time of preparation, but you can feel the excitement creeping in. Christmas is coming soon!
The psalm today is actually NOT from the book of Psalms, but the Magnificat of Mary from the Gospel according to Luke: “My soul rejoices in my God.” The Magnificat is one of the prayers that should echo in our hearts at all times.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…holy is His name….”
Mary personified how to pray without ceasing. Her whole life was a prayer, lived out.
My youngest, age 12, and I were talking last week about what it actually means to “pray without ceasing”. And to understand that, you have to really think about what prayer is. Is prayer only a formal occasion? Only in a church? Only on your knees? I do not believe so. Prayer is so many things – yes, there are formal prayers, and we should be using those. But prayer is also talking to God as you would your BFF. Getting up to comfort your fussy baby for the 4th time in one night can be an act of prayer. Going to work every morning to provide for your family is prayer. Reaching out to a friend with a quick text – “Thinking of you today” ? Prayer. Smiling at the cashier at the store – prayer.
As St. Therese told us, all small things done with love are done for Him, and are the path to holiness. Prayer is keeping ourselves centered in God at all times. It can take active consciousness to achieve this when you first begin to “pray without ceasing”, but eventually, you learn to live in the habit of prayer.
Love. Give. Be thankful. Learn to hear the voice of God in the small moments as well as the large. Offer all things to Him.
In this you will imitate Mother Mary, the model for our faith. With her, let us sing, “My soul rejoices in my God.”
Music is how I pray most often. Find a sung version of this prayer that speaks to you, and learn to sing it. Make it your sung prayer this week.