What Should We Do?

gaudeteThe Church’s Advent prayer pauses on this mid-season Sunday to rejoice: to anticipate the joy of Christmas and, as St. Paul reminds, to “rejoice always” and to “give thanks to God in all circumstances.” That’s scriptural language for having an “attitude of gratitude.” It’s important for us, especially in our troubles, to remember the good days and to treasure memories of past joy and peace even if those gifts seem not at hand today.
“Brothers and sisters: rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again, rejoice,” St. Paul commands in the Second Reading. The word for rejoice in Latin is gaudete, so quite naturally this Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday.
Why all this exultation? Are we finally getting a break from the somberness of Advent?
Yes, but there is more to it than that. Remember that Advent is like a retreat that the worldwide Church is making. In this upcoming third week we will consider our lives in the context of the great beauty God has put in us and around us. Can you think this way?
One line in the First Reading puts it in dramatic terms. Zephaniah says that the Lord “will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.”
Because of you! Have you ever in your life thought that God’s might be singing because of you? Have you ever let your image of God expand that far? Have you ever let him, in the most profound sense of the word, be one who sings you into existence?
God’s gladness sings out joyfully at every instant, and his song is the earth, the galaxies, the people and plants and chemicals and soaring hawks and encircling planets, droplets of dew and heavy black holes, youthful beauties, ancient wisdoms, and everything else that exists.
We are God’s song!