Saturday, December 15, 2018


This third week of Advent is filled with choice morsels giving us much food for thought in the Liturgy as we await the coming of our Savior.

First of all this Sunday is called GAUDETE SUNDAY, because of the first word in Latin of the antiphon that begins, Gaudete (Rejoice).  The presence of the Lord is acknowledged to be here, right now, in our midst. Catholics should be a people full of joy today and everyday of our lives, as this Jesus who is to come, has given us the lasting gift of Himself in the Eucharist.

 The Epistle again incites us to rejoicing, and bids us prepare to meet the coming Savior with prayers and supplication and thanksgiving, whilst the Gospel, the words of St. John Baptist, warns us that the Lamb of God is even now in our midst, though we appear to know Him not. The spirit of the Office and Liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the Christmas feast as well as for the second coming of Christ, and the penitential exercises suitable to that spirit are thus on Gaudete Sunday suspended in order to symbolize that joy and gladness in the Promised Redemption which should never be absent from the heart of  all God's people..

In his 2014 Gaudete Sunday homily, Pope Francis said that instead of fretting about "all they still haven't" done to prepare for Christmas, people should "think of all the good things life has given you."

Then the next day begins what we monastics call the GREAT Os. Each O Antiphon gives to Jesus a title which comes from the prophecies of Isaiah, which anticipate the coming of the Messiah.

Each of the "O Antiphons" carries Old Testament biblical figures. At the same time each one carries an element of the New Covenant . These two characteristics are juxtaposed and a third dimension emerges which serves as a point of meditation when considering the Incarnate Word, the Son of God made flesh.

These antiphons are sung at the Magnificat, to show us that the Savior whom we expect is to come to us by Mary. 

On Monday, December 17,  we pray “O SapiĆ©ntia”.  O Wisdom Who camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.

Wisdom is something which we deeply desire. It is also a human attribute, not just a divine attribute, though authentic human wisdom is never separated from a relationship with God. We understand (if we are wise) that wisdom is more than mere knowledge. It is something more than love.  Rooted as it is in fear of the Lord, true human wisdom is both love and that knowledge of God that seeks to understand, the knowledge that is completed by faith. 

Jesus is coming, both at Christmas as the Christ Child and  at the end of the world as the Judge and King. This is a cause to rejoice.  But it is also cause to prepare prudently and well the way of the Lord and make straight His paths before He comes, as we heard  on  "Gaudete" ("Rejoice!)  Sunday.

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