“Joy will shine in your eyes and in your look, in your conversation and in your countenance. You will not be able to hide it because joy overflows.”
~ St. Teresa of Calcutta
Beginning with the Third Sunday of Advent, we light the rose candle as well as the first two purple candles. The rose candle marks the half-way point for us in the season. It symbolizes joy. Today is also called Gaudete Sunday. It is called that because the Third Sunday of Advent’s introit to Mass began with the Latin phrase, “Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.” (Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.) We focus on the theme of joy throughout this week as we become closer to the celebration of Christmas.
This is the time of year when some people become overwhelmed by Christmas preparations. Will the shopping get done in time? Will the baking be finished? Will the gifts be purchased or the relatives be visited? We keep such a hectic schedule that some people become frazzled. Yet, in the midst of the stress, there is a joy deep within that begins to bubble to the surface. All the preparations will not prevent us from contemplating the true meaning of Christmas. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ even as we await His return.
That is the joy that Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke about when she addressed others. Joy is deeply rooted in God and is a part of our relationship with God. The joy of intimacy with God compels us to reach out to others. That kind of joy cannot be contained. If we attempted to do so, we would feel as if we were going to burst at the seams. That kind of joy must be shared.
How we share that joy takes many forms. Some share the joy of a relationship with God by directly serving God’s people, going out to the poor and the needy, volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Others share the joy of a relationship with God by developing an even deeper prayer life. Their prayer is directed outward to others. Instead of serving people physically, they serve others by praying for them. This, in many ways, describes the contemplative way of life.
How we share that joy takes many different forms. What is the same is that we must share that joy. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!
FAITH ACTION: Whether they are from scripture or from your life, attempt to share some stories of peace, hope, and joy with members of your family or friends today.