Happy Gaudete Sunday, everyone!
OK, I bet half of you are looking at that going, "uh, Emily, it's the third Sunday of Advent. What the heck are you talking about?"
It is the Third Sunday of Advent. But it is also Gaudete Sunday. Ever wonder why the priest wears rose garments today? Why we have a pink candle admidst all the purple in the wreath? Well I am about to you my Catholic Education and tell you. :)
"Gaudete" Sunday is a derivitative of "Rejoice!", which comes from today's second reading (one of my favorites, by the way):
Brothers and sisters: rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The LORD is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
As my seventh-grade teacher told us, if Paul is telling us to "rejoice!" twice, he means it! We are almost done with Advent, the peninential season is almost over! Christ is about to be born! We should be happy about this! That's why we see the pink candle..the somber purple shades are warming into the sunshine of our redemption. We should "have no anxiety at all" (clearly, Paul didn't have to Christmas shop!). And we celebrate that by changing the colors. Coincidentially, the Fourth Sunday of Lent (called Laertae Sunday) is the same principle.
On a somewhat non-related note: purple candles are to be used in advent wreaths because of their penitential connotation. So many churches (including, sadly, Catholic ones) are going to blue because it's less penitential. Um, that's the whole point of the season--to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. That's why we have penance services, why the readings tend to be so dour and focuses on preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ. We can't forget the real meaning of Advent--it's not just the countdown to Christmas. There is some preparation that (should) go into it.
Housekeeping: be sure to check out Amy Welborn's blog today--a great Gaudete Sunday Angelus meditation from BXVI. Today is also the day we start the "O Antiphons" and she's got a link to that, too! So check it out.