Rejoice in the Lord!
“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 85:1
The Introit of today’s Mass invites us to Rejoice in the Lord.
Thanks. What’s an introit?
It’s pronounced //IN*troit// like Detroit, except the emphasis is on the first syllable, and the word starts with an In instead of a De, and it is a traditional entrance hymn for the Holy Mass. Today’s introit begins, “Rejoice in the Lord,” in Latin, Gaudete in Domino — from which we get the name Gaudete Sunday.
Here is what today’s introit, Gaudete in Domino, sounds like in Gregorian Chant…
(Sit back, close your eyes, and let the sweet melody elevate your soul to Rejoice in the Lord)
This is what rejoicing in the Lord sounds like?
YES! Doesn’t it make you want to just… Rejoice! — I mean — in the Lord?
Couldn’t they have come up with something more… festive?
Festive? Of course it’s festive.
Every Sunday should be festive, but today is different. Today is not your ordinary Sunday.
Today’s rejoicing is not over something like your team’s winning the Super Bowl, or having just won the lottery. There is a time and place for that (even in the liturgical calendar), but that’s not the type of rejoicing we are called to today. Today we rejoice in a special way.
We are invited to partake in sweet rejoicing today (and as the introit suggests, we should try to do this always).
In Dolci Iubilo…
What is sweet rejoicing?
The first video I shared is an Advent hymn which shows us exactly what sweet rejoicing is. Here it is again, sung by the same choir, on a different occasion. Sit back and listen to the King’s Choir sing “In dolci iubilo” (In sweet rejoicing) and you will hear what sweet rejoicing sounds like.
This is the mood for the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday — Sweet Rejoicing! — very Adventy, almost Christmassy, joyful, sweet, and refreshing to the soul.
How can I achieve this kind of spiritual joy, which I’m supposed to experience today?
Besides listening to this spiritually uplifting music, of course…
Yesterday, I invited you to have a cookie or a cupcake. If you have not done that yet, then stop what you are doing right now and eat something sweet.
I’ll still be here when you get back.
Hey, I wasn’t joking. This really is important. I explained why it was important in yesterday’s post.
Alright. If you don’t have your cookie or cupcake handy, that’s okay, but at some point today, have yourself a treat — this is about sweetness. Sweetness is mandatory today.
Now take a bite (or imagine you are biting into that cupcake). Taste the sweetness? Do you feel it? Good. Now — gently — relish it, savor it. Most importantly, Thank God for it!
This is not about indulgence or sensual pleasure. It is all about loving God in and through what HE has given you, using the good things he gives you to lift up your soul to him, and…
Looking forward to Eternal Sweetness.
If you successfully completed this exercise, you should be eager for more, but — this is important — remember what the introit says:
“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.”
When you’ve had that experience of sweetness today, then ask where else can you apply it today. Ask God for it.
Today is a very special day. He wants you to ask for it and he wants you to have it.
This is why you should try to do something special today. Doing something you really appreciate and experiencing deep joy from that appreciation, you can ask the Lord to elevate your joy toward something more sublime: sweet rejoicing. Rejoicing in the Lord!
This is a gift. So celebrate!
How do I celebrate on this special occasion?
Here is a suggestion. When is the last time you did something special with your family? For instance, when was the last time you enjoyed something like this with your family? Take a moment to recall childhood memories as you listen and enjoy just a segment of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suit…
Something like that — not necessarily the Nutcracker Suite, but something that really fits the occasion, which you can really enjoy with your family, something you have not done in a while. That’s the type of thing to do today.
Whatever you do today, remember to rejoice in the Lord (always!), and don’t forget the gingerbread cookie!