December 15, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

As we continue our journey through the Season of Advent, we now come to the half-way point. This Sun-day is known as Gaudété Sunday, and you will notice that we have a rose candle (NOT PINK! ). The term “Gaudété” (pronounced Gow-DAY-tay) comes from the Roman Missal as the opening Antiphon:

Gaudété in Domino semper: iterum dico, Gaudéte ….

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

In our Spiritual journey we now start to celebrate that the Lord is near to us in the Feast of Christmas. Most people during the month of December rejoice in the season by going to Christmas parties, going shopping, decorating, and the like. It is a bubbly time of preparation.

However, as a Spiritual journey, the Coming of the Lord is much different. Joy is different from happiness. Pope Francis recently said: “To be happy is good, yet joy is something more. It’s another thing, something which does not depend on external motivations, or on passing issues: it is more profound. It is a gift.” Happiness depends on external stimuli; Joy comes from God. Joy is the response of the soul to a great and wonderful discovery, such as truth or communion with God.

If we look at our preparedness for the secular side of Christmas, what would happen if those things that make us happy are taken away? We become sad. But with joy is contentment, even in the midst of difficulties.

Think of How the Grinch stole Christmas. Even when the Grinch took everything from Whoville, they gathered in the town square and sang. They didn’t allow the loss of physical things to detract them from the true meaning of the season.

When we welcome Christ into our lives, beginning with His birth, we are starting a life that will always keep us fulfilled and joyful, even in the midst of trials and tribulations. If Jesus is the “reason for the season,” our hearts will always celebrate; our bodies will always be happy.

Happiness can fail. Joy can be forever.

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