“Gaudete in Domino semper” -“Rejoice in the Lord always”- (Philippians 4:4,5)
This is the midpoint of Advent. The lighting of the pink candle. It is a day of rejoicing.
The third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, brings us into rejoicing with God’s philosophy of light! Is our shining strong enough to bring light to the ever growing darkness of the world?
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, and nothing hidden that will not be made known. What you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops. I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.…(Luke 12:3,4)
Rejoicing naturally makes a person want to share his joy! If it is something particularly relieving or saving as the reason for the joy, the more the person wants to tell everyone. Is that how you and I feel about the Good News? Do each of us feel it bursting to get out from inside us every time we see an opportunity to tell it? Does it alter how we act about everything in life? Are we, as Shakespeare wrote shining like “good deeds” to others in an evil world?
“ How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (1600)
Chesterton placed a great deal of emphasis on the meaning of light. In fact, his last words were about it being the central subject and determining future of our lives.
“The issue is now clear. It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.”-G. K. Chesterton, on his deathbed
Yet Chesterton also recognized that even with such a vital and critical subject, agreement would not be easily won. People, distracted by the cares of this world and their own lusts, would argue the point even to the aim of extinguishing all mention of light. Indeed, they would be satisfied, nay, love and choose the darkness instead! This is why God casts his language so starkly as He does in the book of John about this life or death dilemma about which philosophy of Light we choose.
And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. 21 But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed [a]as having been performed in God.”John 3:19-21
“Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good—” At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.”
-G. K. Chesterton, Introductory Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy, Heretics, 1905
“Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
This may be translated as: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1 “
Our Advent Prayer
“Creator Of All Things, True Source Of Light And Wisdom, Origin Of All Being, Graciously Let A Ray Of Your Light Penetrate The Darkness Of My Understanding. Take From Me The Double Darkness In Which I Have Been Born, An Obscurity Of Sin And Ignorance.Give Me A Keen Understanding, A Retentive Memory, And The Ability To Grasp Things Correctly And Fundamentally.Grant Me The Talent Of Being Exact In My Explanations And The Ability To Express Myself With Thoroughness And Charm.Point Out The Beginning, Direct The Progress, And Help In The Completion.I Ask This Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.” St Thomas Aquinas Ora Pro Nobis
Beloved, the above prayer was written by St. Thomas Aquinas. Let us pray it along with asking that our rejoicing never be diminished in Him.