Sister Mary Lou Robino, OSB
St. Gertrude Monastery, Ridgely, MD
Luke 1:46-50, 53-54
Advent elicits in me memories of my childhood. At age 10, I joined the girls’ choir and sang at the Sunday Masses. When Advent arrived, I remember feeling a bit sad because the church was draped in purple. However when the third Sunday arrived (Gaudete Sunday) and the priest donned pink vestments, a spirit of joy encompassed me because I knew Christmas would soon arrive. I so looked forward with child-like anticipation to the beautiful flowers, the manger scene, the uplifting music, the gifts, but especially my first solo on Christmas eve—the beginning of many.
Now however that I am old, my reflections are certainly much different. Gaudete Sunday still fills me with rejoicing, as I reflect on the scriptures. Joy and rejoicing continue to be the theme of the third Sunday of Advent to this very day.
In the Old Testament, Isaiah rejoices greatly in the Lord for God is the joy of his soul.
He feels like a bride and bridegroom “dressed to the nines” filled with anticipation,
expectation and excitement. Isaiah’s heart is filled with great joy because the Lord has blessed him abundantly.
We also have Mary as an example of someone who rejoices always. Her visit to Elizabeth causes her to break forth in a song of praise (the Magnificat) because of her delight in being the bearer of God’s son. Her joy is all encompassing as she waits in joyful hope for the expected one, the prince of peace, and the savior of the world.
In the New Testament reading to the Thessalonians, Paul calls us to rejoice always, to pray
constantly, and to offer thanks to God for all of our gifts. Peace must be a goal in life and our nearness to God and our awareness of God’s presence throughout the day will bring about that peace and joy.
John the Baptist, in the Gospel reading shouts out his joy because he has been sent by God to give testimony to the coming of the Messiah—the light of the world. John, whose mission will soon come to an end, is the voice calling all of us to rejoice and be glad for Emmanuel (God with us) will be among us.
As I reflect on these readings I am still beamed back to my childhood and the many graces I received then. I am so grateful for God’s goodness to me throughout my many years and
I am thankful for the joy that still remains in my heart.
1. What thoughts does Advent elicit in you?
2. Think of the many ways in your life that you have experienced joy.
3. Find time in the course of the day to reflect on God’s goodness to you and
thank God for your many blessings