Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gaudete in Domino semper...

Today in both forms of the Roman Rite is the Third Sunday of Advent, usually referred to Gaudete Sunday. This comes from the Introit of today's Mass:
 Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum. -- V. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: acertisti captivitatem Iacob. : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorium. Amen. Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum.
 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. -- (Ps. 84. 2). Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. V.: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing by prayer let your petitions be made known to God.
In many places rose vestments are worn. Not pink, but rose! At least that's what the rubrics say...We also see these vestments on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday. Why? Well, we are almost there, in this case to Christmas, anticipating the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and the joyful expectation of the Second Coming at the end of time. It is in the midst of an otherwise penitential season, and so this brief interruption of the use of violet on Sundays marks a joyful character appropriate to the season. We still do not sing the Gloria in excelsis, but in Advent we have still been singing the Alleluia verse, whereas we lose it in Lent. The custom of rose derives from the celebration of Laetare Sunday. From Fr. Z, from the same post as the picture of his roseacea vestments:
The tradition of rosacea vestments grows from the history of the Roman Stations.  The Station church today is the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, where the Emperor Constantine’s mother St. Helena placed relics of Cross and Passion brought back to Rome from Jerusalem.  At this basilica on this day, Popes blessed roses made of gold to be sent to Catholic monarchs and distinguished sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church.  Therefore Laetare was also nicknamed Dominica de rosa…. Sunday of the Rose.  This is how rose-colored vestments developed for that church on this Sunday.  The color spread to the rest of Rome, and then spilled over to the corresponding Sunday in Advent, Gaudete.  Rosacea was diffused to the whole world with the promulgation of the Missale Romanum by St. Pope Pius V in 1570. 
This relates nicely to the theological virtues.  An oft-raised criticism of the pre-Conciliar liturgy is that it too often emphasizes the harsh judgment of God, although I don't think that argument holds much water. Instead, this Sunday suggests that we must look forward and can rightfully build up in joy to what is yet to come without losing sight of our sinfulness. In fact, it is this awareness of our sins that wants us Our Lord to come at the end of time, for if we repent and believe in the Gospel, participating as fully as we can in the sacramental life of the Church and trying to spread the Gospel, there should be a desire to be with Him as quickly as possible, as quickly as He will allow.

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