Gaudete Sunday means “Rejoice”!
In the first reading, Zephaniah reminds us to “shout for joy!” “Be glad and exult with all your heart”; “The Lord, your God is in your midst”. The Second Reading from Philippians resounds the message with the words “Rejoice in the Lord always”; “The Lord is near!” The peace of God does surpass all understanding and will guard our hearts and minds. John the Baptist ,in the Gospel , tells the crowd: “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.”
As Advent advances to Gaudete Sunday, we are urged on by the nearness of the Birth of Jesus, in Bethlehem. As our busy activities prepare us for Christmas, we focus on two important communities close to our heart; the community of our family and friends as well as the community of the Poor we serve. With the message of ‘rejoice’, our preparations of hospitality and ‘taking the extra step’ in giving, become especially important.
“Bethlehem” is a word that means “House of Bread”. The town of Bethlehem is where Jesus was born. ‘The ‘House of Bread’ has great significance in St. Louise de Marillac’s Writings. St. Louise knew the importance of doing things well in service and hospitality. The bread was important to welcome the Sisters and for the Poor. Take for example, her writings about the ‘Office of the Baker’ in the community:
“She shall greatly esteem her duty since bread is the greatest necessity for life. She shall always try to do her best, without, nonetheless, blending her flour any differently than normal. She shall make sure that her oven is neither too hot nor too cold.. She shall also make sure that none of the Sisters come to take away bread or to break the loaves..The baker shall spare neither herself nor her sweat for she shall knead the dough much more than is actually necessary. Once in a while, she may rest before she finishes.”
-Office of the Baker (Spiritual Writings of St. Louise de Marillac, p.764
TRY THIS TODAY:
As the town of Bethlehem, ‘House of Bread, awaited the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus, how can we ‘take the extra step’ to prepare with joy, something special and well done to express our hospitality to our loved ones and the Poor? In the words of St. Louise de Marillac, how can we express, this Advent, to ‘always try to do our best’?
Sister Fran Ryan, D.C
Ladies of Charity Sister Moderator