downloadable PDF file: Women of Faith Resources December 2018
December Quotes by Sister Joan Chittister, OSB
“Our role in life is to bring the light of our own souls to the dim places around us.”
“I began to trust the questions themselves to lead me beyond answers to understanding, beyond practice to faith”
“As Albert Camus put it: “In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”
Featured Day: December 16, the Third Sunday of Advent
The third Sunday of Advent, traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, is a day of rejoicing as well as the continuing Advent themes of preparation and right-living. Gaudete is Latin for rejoice. Its name is taken from the entrance antiphon of the Mass, which is
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
Indeed, the Lord is near. (Philippians 4:4-5)
The theologian, Henri Nouwen, signaled out a difference between joy and happiness. While happiness is dependent on external conditions, joy is “the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing — sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death — can take that love away.” (Nouwen reference: The Heart of Henri Nouwen, His Words of Blessing). Thus joy can be present even in the midst of sadness.
In his 2014 Gaudete Sunday homily, Pope Francis said that Gaudete Sunday is known as the “Sunday of joy,” and that instead of fretting about “all they still haven’t” done to prepare for Christmas, people should “think of all the good things life has given you.”
On Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice in Christ’s birth and life; we rejoice that love can wipe away sadness and pain; we rejoice for all the good that life has given us. The Readings of this Sunday all focus on rejoicing in the Lord and also highlight the mission of St. John the Baptist to prepare the way for the coming of Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us, whose life brings assurance of peace, joy, and justice for all.
Lectio Divina: Scripture selections for meditation
- Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
- Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
- John 1:6-8, 19-28
Prayer for the Third Sunday of Advent
Audio Divina: Music accompanied by images
Enjoy the following musical selections from YouTube and let your heart and soul be touched by their messages. There are numerous renditions of the Scandinavian song: Gaudete, Rejoice, composed in the 16th century. Here are three for our prayer and enjoyment:
Medieval Carol Gaudete – The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
Gaudete is a medieval carol. It is given a spirited, choral rendition and is accompanied by a small cello ensemble, a descant recorder, and a medieval drum.
Here are the Latin lyrics with an interlinear English translation:
Gaudete! gaudete Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine: Gaudete!
(Rejoice, rejoice! Christ has born (Out) Of the Virgin Mary – rejoice!)
Tempus adest gratiae, Hoc quod optabamus; Carmina laeticiae Devote redamus. Gaudete!
(The time of grace has come— what we have wished for, songs of joy Let us give back faithfully.)
Deus homo factus est, Natura mirante; Mundus renovatus est, A Christo regnante.
(God has become man, (With) nature marvelling, The world has been renewed By Christ (who is) reigning.)
Ezechiellis porta Clausa pertransitur; Unde lux est orta, Salus invenitur.
(The closed gate of Ezekiel Is passed through, Whence the light is raised, Salvation is found.)
Ergo nostra concito Psallat iam in lustro; Benedicat Domino: Salus Regi nostro.
(Therefore, let our preaching Now sing in brightness Let it give praise to the Lord: Greeting to our King.)
Gaudete! – Anderson University Women’s Chorus & Dance Ensemble – “Gaudete!” Arranged by Michael Engelhardt and performed by the Anderson University Women’s Chorus & Dance Ensemble For the Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Taizé: Gaudete, Gaudete, Christus est natus! Gaudete is also sung in several languages by the monks of Taizé.
For Spiritual Reading
Spiritual Reading During Advent by Sister Lou Ella Hickman IWBS. Sister Hickman offers twelve book titles and suggestions on how to read spiritual books.
Why Do Christians Celebrate Advent: Prepare for the Coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas by Mary Fairchild. This article answers the questions: What is Advent? Who celebrates it? What are some symbols and customs of Advent?
Four Gifts for You This Advent from Finding God at the Loyola Press internet site. Read about your deepest longings, God’s words of comfort, God’s Love in your heart, and hope that lasts.
appleseeds.org. For a Compendium of Advent and Christmas inspiration, quotations, poems and illustrations, visit this website.
Visio Divina: Art for Prayer and Meditation
“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”
(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction. See also Abbey of the Arts.)
Gaze at this image. Let the movement and light speak to you on this Sunday of Joy.
Pray this prayer slowly. Let the words speak to you today. Say your own words, whatever you are living here and now and wish to say to Jesus, Messiah. Let the image speak to you, too.
As you ponder this Scripture, what does “good news of great joy” mean to you today? What are you feeling in your body as you hear these words being pronounced to you today?
Featured Websites for Advent
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers many resources for the Advent Season
Collaborative Ministry at Creighton University This site has wonderful ideas and resources for the Advent and Christmas seasons. There are clear guidelines for using the resources found there.
Ignatian Spirituality.com, sponsored by Loyola Press, offers multiple resources for Advent.
Have a blessed Advent and a wonder-filled Christmas!
Sr. Yvette and the Women of Faith SSA Leadership Team