"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 prayer let our petitions be made known to God."
This is the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday from the first words of the Introit: Gaudete in Domino semper; iterum dico, gaudete – “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice”. And the Church rejoices. The third candle is lit; for today alone, the penitential purple/violet gives way to rose/rosacea; joy permeates the songs, the prayers, the readings.
In the words of Dom Prosper Guéranger:
“Today, again, the Church is full of joy, and the joy is greater than it was. It is true that her Lord is not come; but she feels that He is nearer than before, and therefore she thinks it just to lessen somewhat the austerity of this penitential season by the innocent cheerfulness of her sacred rites.”
“Let us enter into her spirit, and be glad on this third Sunday of her Advent, because our Lord is now so near unto us. Tomorrow we will resume our attitude of servants mourning for the absence of their Lord and waiting for Him; for every delay, however short, is painful and makes love sad.”
“Do we not feel that He is coming to us, in spite of all obstacles? He will let nothing be a barrier between Himself and us, neither His own infinite high majesty, nor our exceeding lowliness, nor our many sins. Yet a little while, and He will be with us.”
Come, Lord Jesus!
Bend Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to our prayers; and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, O God, world without end. Amen.