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Advent Reflection: Rejoice in the Lord always!

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The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday because, when the Mass was in Latin, the congregation would hear an “Introit” (an entrance chant) which began “Gaudete in Domino semper…,” meaning “Rejoice in the Lord always…” In the dark season of Advent, this is welcome news!

This scripture is part of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.” Because the Lord is near, we can find peace and we can let go of fear. This is a message of hope that resounds as much today as it did when it was written.

If we take the rest of St. Paul’s words to heart, we can stop or at least pause the cycle of anxiety and bad news that can darken our holidays and our lives:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things… Then the God of peace will be with you.”

by Sister Joan Marie Stelman, OSB, senior vice president, Mission Integration